Let’s just stick to the facts here


To the editor:

In 2017, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, introduced the concept of “alternative facts” to rationalize a provable falsehood presented by President Donald Trump’s press secretary.

To say that Trump leaned in to the use of lies throughout his campaigns would be an understatement.

In 2020, a contributing writer to The New York Times characterized the implementation of Trump’s strategy: “His goal, even before he became president, was far more ambitious than to tell mere lies. It was to annihilate the distinction between truth and falsity, to make sure that we no longer share facts in common, to overwhelm people with misinformation and disinformation. It was to induce epistemological vertigo on a mass scale.”

On a vastly smaller scale, in a race for district leaders and state committee members, this Trumpian technique has made its way into the neighborhoods of the northwest Bronx.

It needs to quickly exit.

What happened at the strategic session with “The Dinowitz Democratic Team” and Red Horse Strategies, the consultancy group long used by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz for candidates endorsed by the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club — even, for some reason, for these down-ballot races for volunteer positions?

Who made a decision to inflame the electorate through campaign mailers with baseless charges against incumbent district leaders Abigail Martin and Ramdat Singh and state committee candidate Aaron Stayman?
Who — with offensive and disturbing irony — decided to accuse a slate containing a Jewish activist of “antisemitic tropes?”

In the same election, the Unity Democratic Club outlined a tax code violation made by the Dinowitz team. The Dinowitz team responded with great criticism, but has yet to dispute the facts published in a June 15 article in the Norwood News, namely:

• The Dinowitz team used a nonprofit business in the 81st Assembly District run by one of its candidates for campaign activity over several months in 2024.

• The law to prohibit political activity by 501(c)(3) organizations was enacted by Congress in 1954.

• The IRS administers the law. According to its website, “Each election cycle, the IRS reminds 501(c)(3) exempt organizations to be aware of the ban on political campaign activity.”

• The nonprofit has received $5,000 in public funds in each of the last three years from Assemblyman Dinowitz’ son, Councilman Eric Dinowitz.

The Unity Democratic Club was a necessary response to a long-standing political club perceived to have supported the lead-up to and implementation of a political dynasty — perceived to have a sustained focus intolerant to new voices and even of new memberships.

In creating the Unity Democratic Club, district leaders Abigail Martin and Ramdat Singh, state committee member Morgan Evers, and state committee candidate Aaron Stayman partnered with other community activists to broaden the voices at the table. The club’s meetings expose members to local issues, statewide needs, candidates, and democratic experts.

It welcomes members diverse in background and opinion.
The Unity Democratic Club and the Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club share DNA. They are bonded by democratic principles. They support the same national candidates. They should be united by a common decency. The June Dinowitz team mailers were not an example of that.

As we start a new election cycle, pursuing votes based on a cynical descent into inflammatory falsehoods should be off the table.

Jennifer Firestone

Jennifer Firestone