Across the country, voters are preparing to take part in (or already taking part in) a national referendum on such monumental issues as “Smart Diplomacy versus Aggressive Isolationism“, “16 More Months (‘God Willing’) versus 100 More Years (‘Make My Day’)”, “Sensible Regulation versus Adam Smith on Acid and Steroids” and “Guaranteed Health Care versus the Freedom to Die Free From Government Interference in Excruciating Pain” .
And yet, in over 10% of New York’s City’s Congressional Districts, seriously delusioned voters will be unable to cast a vote for a Republican candidate for Congress (although in one of the offending districts, they will have the option of voting for a Conservative).
No, competition would not change the results (Thank God), but it used to be that parties rewarded those who stood tall and accepted the party’s nod in districts where victory was unlikely. Now, for the most part, such candidates are treated as pariahs, and often actively discouraged. Imagine if Democrats in Michelle Bachmann’s district had written off her seat the way Republican’s had in Anthony Weiner’s (a place which elects Republicans to both the City Council and State Senate)---such thinking would have deprived liberal Democrats of a chance to participate in a moral crusade to send nearly a half million dollars in 24 hours to a candidate who wants to outlaw abortions and constitutionally ban gay marriage.
And yes, such kismetic opportunities are few and far between, but surely even minority constituencies have some right to express their beliefs at the ballot box, if only their own parties would let them. .
And Congress is not the worst of it. There are only 45 Republican candidates for State Assembly in the City’s 65 ADs, a deficiency of 31%, a number made even worse when one considers that three of these Republican candidates are the incumbent Democrats. All told, if we include Democrats who lost their primaries but still hold minor party lines and other minor party candidates, voters will have an actual general election choice in 48 of the City’s 65 Assembly seats (under 74%). In Queens’ 38th Assembly District, voters looking to express their outrage at indicted DINO (actually, more like HIPPO) Tony Seminerio will have four choices on the ballot--they can vote for Seminerio as a Democrat, Republican, Conservative or Independence candidate. In fairness to the Republicans, this may actually be an improvement, since in the 90s they tended to run neo-Nazi skinheads (a description, not a value judgment).
In the State Senate, there are no Republicans in six of the City’s 26 districts. Further, in one of the races where there is a Republican, he is the incumbent Democrat. As such, in a year when New Yorker’s have the opportunity to send a message concerning whether they want to finally explode the pernicious Albany Bi-Partisan Iron Triangle, in over a quarter of City’s Districts, the message sent by the Republican Party is “you can’t fire us, we quit!”
In fairness, the Republicans have their reasons; the one Democrat they’ve given their nomination to, Ruben Diaz, Sr., and two of the six they’ve failed to oppose (Pedro Espada and Carl Kruger) are the three Senate Democrats who’ve refused to pledge to vote with the Democrats to organize the Senate, thereby leaving open the possibility Democrats could take the Majority and still be unable to actually change the status quo.
As such, perhaps it is the Democrats we should take to task in these districts for failing to run a candidate (although, in fairness, a Democrat did run against Espada in his primary--the local party just failed to support him in anything but name).
Luckily, voters in these districts do have an option; unfortunately the option is that they can vote for the candidate of the Conservative Party, the sole virtue of which is that they get truth in labeling.
But at least in those Senate districts, the Democrats managed to nominate someone. In Brooklyn’s 22nd SD, a voter’s sole choice is whether they want to re-elect Marty “Where the Fuck’s My Gun” Golden as a Republican, Conservative or Independence candidate, leaving Golden free to send his entire payroll (including a member of Brooklyn’s lowlife Garson Crime Family) off to aid in the re-election efforts of Serf Maltese and Frank Padavan.
Those who want to bash Brooklyn Democrats for failure to work with “Progressives” and other party insurgents should hang their heads for making such accusations. In that race, or rather, lack thereof, as well as in the similar race two years before, the County Leadership worked in lockstep with supporters of “Progressive” Steve Harrison to ensure that Golden had no opposition--a fact verified in the columns of Harrison supporter Mole333. (In fairness, I should note that State Senator Diane Savino did attempt to recruit Harrison to run for the Golden seat, and quite possibly could have brought the County Organization into the fold, but having lost a congressional race by 14 points during what was otherwise a Democratic tsunami, Harrison’s inflated sense of self-importance would not allow him to consider running a race for a lesser office he might actually have had a shot at winning).
The idea of such abstention may be to make a sacrifice bunt. The theory is that the Congressional race might be winnable, so why wake a sleeping dog who might work harder if he’s opposed and risk hurting the entire ticket. This might be credible if it didn’t appear that so many Brooklyn Dems didn’t have such cozy working relationships with Golden. Luckily, if the Democrats do take the Senate, Golden will likely find such friendships the products of fair weather, and, deprived of his member items and other manifestations of clout, will find some cloudy days ahead.
The sacrifice bunt may well also account for the especially lame job in putting up candidates done by the Queens Republican. Queens is the sole or predominate county in both districts where Republicans have failed to put up a Congressional candidate, and Queens also accounts for a whopping 14 of the 23 ADs where Republicans have failed to run their own candidate for Assembly. That's no Republican in 14 out of the 18 Assembly seats in the County!
Perhaps not coincidentally, Queens also accounts for 2 of the City’s three Republican Senators, both of whom face stiff challenges; there is also a Republican (Peter Koo) challenging a Democratic incumbent (Toby Stavisky) who is making more than a token effort. Perhaps this massive abstention is, in part, an effort to not stir up too much action among the local Democrats in those Senate races.
And yet, that’s probably giving the Queens Republicans too much credit. Even if we don’t consider Koo’s race the delusional fantasy that it is (and, since I think all incumbents should have opposition from the other party, I offer Mr. Koo my heartiest thank for his efforts in to facilitate the furtherance of democracy, even as I offer Senator Stavisky my heartiest support), several of the unchallenged Assembly members do not have a single ED in any of the affected Senate Districts. More to the point, the Republicans have failed to run candidates in three of the County’s seven Senate Districts, which, by definition, have no overlap with the three Senate Districts they are taking at least quasi-seriously. And, while I really have no interest in aiding Republican efforts at party building, one wonders why so many of these races have not even a token challenge when communities in many of these uncontested districts (like the Guyanese) are potentially so ripe for some partisan picking.
Frankly, I don’t want a one-party City. I want a Democratic city, where at least once every two years I get the opportunity to engage in a spirited clash of ideas before I get to kick some Republican ass.
Urban Elephants, WTF are you? Your City needs you.
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