How a Political Machine Works: Candidates Running For 21 Seats, All Unaware

In the New York Times, Any Newman and Tyler Pager report on the Queens Democratic County Committee: “(c)ounty committee members are the very blades of grass of grass-roots politics in New York, the worker ants of participatory democracy. There are more than 1,100 Democratic committee members in Queens alone, most representing only a few blocks, all of them unpaid. Collectively, though, they have the power — at least in theory — to choose candidates for higher office and even determine party policy.

There is just one problem: Ms. Gambichler, a 72-year-old retired court clerk, did not know she was running for anything. Nor does she wish to run. “I have no idea what that’s about,” she said.”

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