New York Democrats failed us


To the editor:

Now that the midterm elections have come, the results are better for Democrats than the polls and the pundits had predicted.

Many of us are enormously relieved that the giant “red wave” did not materialize. From Arizona to Kansas to Pennsylvania and beyond, voters seem to have largely rejected a MAGA cult of election deniers. Folks in our own community who wrote postcards and knocked on doors can be truly proud of the work that they did.

And yet, here in New York, the election results are far more sobering, if not outright shocking. Political observers and organizations across the state — including New York State Indivisible — are calling for a change in New York Democratic party leadership. Here in New York, we have lost congressional seats to Republicans. Kathy Hochul won, but by a ridiculously small margin against a MAGA candidate who opposes reproductive freedom.

It seems that the New York Dems are unable or unwilling to respond coherently enough to make voters understand what is at stake. Leadership under Jay Jacobs has seemed more intent on defeating progressives within our own party than on defeating Republicans. Last year, Jacobs railed against the young grassroots activist, India Walton, in Buffalo even though she had won the Democratic primary there.

Closer to home, our own state Sen. Gustavo Rivera was opposed by the Democratic establishment, but was able to keep his seat due to solid grassroots support.

More recently, we watched Mayor Eric Adams as he baselessly claimed that recent bail reform legislation had caused the spike in crime. It mattered little that no relationship has been demonstrated between these humane reforms and an increase in crime. His comments only served to reinforce Lee Zeldin’s Republican talking points and racist dog whistles.

Democrats need to do much better. A “moderate “ or “Republican lite” approach will not overcome voter apathy and inertia. We understand that MAGA Republicans have no real answers to the myriad challenges that threaten our children’s future. The MAGAs promise their base that they will take them back to some imagined golden era.

It never existed. They are just using the playbook of fascists the world over.

As Democrats, the task is to create real transformative change. Things are bad — and our young people know it. Our planet is threatened by climate disaster. We need a movement for real systemic change. We need a vision that promotes affordable housing, health care for all, bodily autonomy, quality public education, clean environment, food security, meaningful immigration reform, and an end to mass incarceration.

It’s only possible to overcome the very real threats to our democracy when we begin to articulate a real vision of what a vibrant democracy might look like.

Silvia Blumenfeld

SILVIA BLUMENFELD, Democrats, New York City, New York state