I am still not sure if it was a good idea or not, but the U.S. Embassy decided to show the Georgian people what a hotly contested municipal race in the U.S. looked like. How? By showing Street Fight, of course! If you haven't seen it - you should (see clip below).
Street Fight is a great story of the underdog going up against the political giant. And showed the good and the (alleged) bad of New Jersey politics. It features cameos of former Governor Jim McGreevey and current Governor Chris Christie, then a U.S. Attorney. It is a great tale of dirty politics, rummors of voter intimidation, threats to candidates and shakedown of local businesses. Sound familiar?
What did the Georgians think of Street Fight? They all said those dirty tricks would never happen in Georgia. Not in a former Soviet Republic. They were upset that Booker lost, and glad to hear that he came back to become Mayor. No one said it, but I think deep down they were glad to see their elections were not so different from a country that has been practicing democracy for over 200 years.
I see some parallels between Mayor Booker and Georgia. Corey Booker did not quit - obviously. He came back and won. He is now Mayor of Newark and prolific tweeter. The Georgia opposition party did not quit either. The opposition party (with some great work from k-global) formed the Georgia Dream Coalition and gained a majority in the Georgian Parliament. Let's just hope that Bidzina Ivanishvili does not announce a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 as well.