As the case of the Boston Olympics shows, polling is gaining more influence in public policy decision making. We should think more deeply about its characteristics and effects.
Boston 2024 is so 90210. Athletes and connected rich kids are at the cool table where decisions get made. The Andrea Zuckerman’s of the world, ie the rest of us, are not included. We’ll just have to look on as Kelly, Dylan, Brenda, and the gang decide what is best for West Beverly – er, Boston and a Boston Olympics.
That is unless anti-Olympic mobilization continues and further solidifies. As Political Scientist Jules Boykoff has shown in his comprehensive study or the Olympics and activism, protest and local discontent dissuades the risk-adverse International Olympic Committee (IOC). Activism and opposition works with the IOC and has repeatedly affected the IOC’s decisions.
So the task is simple: Rise up, Andrea’s!
Governor Baker would be wise to take note of the disconnect between key values he espoused on the campaign trail and what the 2024 Games would look like and do to the state’s finances.
If Boston gets to vote on the Olympic ballot issues Councilor Zakim proposes, the 2024 bid itself is in question. Power won’t be witnessed so much in the money spent to influence our vote on these ballot issues – it will be wielded in whether or not we get to vote at all.
Massachusetts residents love Beantown but understandably resent it when their own roads, infrastructure needs, and other projects run a perpetual, and distant, budgetary second place. A Boston Olympics will only exacerbate this trend.