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Anti-progressives in today’s NY primaries

August 23, 2022 pm31 1:57 pm

The New York Times. Centrists. Mainstream Democrats. Moderates. Those with their hands out for big real estate donations, and with their back pockets stuffed by insurance companies. The Anti-Progressives.

They took it on the chin in 2018 – with a wave of progressives winning office. In the NY State Senate the “IDC” – Democrats who kept the Republicans in control – were mostly swept away. In the Bronx, Jeff Klein. In Manhattan, Marisol Alcantara. Tony Avella in Queens. Jesse Hamilton and Jose Peralta in Brooklyn. The newcomers – Alessandra Biaggi, Robert Jackson, John Liu, Zelnor Myrie, and Jessica Ramos – made a dramatic change in how the State Senate did business. In congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won, followed two years later by Jamaal Bowman.

Of course the biggest kick in the teeth came when they lost their governor. Andrew Cuomo had worked diligently to stop progressive legislation for years, making sleazy deals with the republicans and their IDC allies. He got away with killing old people during the pandemic, and stealing from the taxpayers to write his book – book when sexual harassment and assault charges came out, he was through.

The New York Times, Big Real Estate and the Centrists – the Anti-Progressives – were not happy. And today they are trying to take back some ground. They have poured money and endorsements into several races, to stop progressive candidates from being on November’s ballot. Here are four races I am watching, four progressives the swamp is trying to bring down:

Robert Jackson

Jackson has been one of the fiercest advocates for public education in New York City since his famed 150 mile walk on Albany in 2003 for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. He has remained an amazing advocate, and marched on Albany a second time. A Lion for Education – I think I called him that, and I meant it. His commitment never wavered, even when the UFT screwed him over, screwed all NYers over, by supporting the IDC against him.

This election the IDC, risen from the grave, is supporting Angel Vasquez, a former aide to an IDC State Senator. Vasquez’s endorsements come along two vectors 1) identity politics (he’s Dominican) and 2) IDC supporters, such as Jeffrey Dinowitz’s son.

Jackson has support of progressive organizations, including the Working Families Party and some politicians. Importantly, the unions, including the UFT, stayed with him. He is the favorite – but this is a low turnout election – please go out and cast your vote for Robert Jackson!

Gustavo Rivera

Gustavo was already a state senator when the IDC got smashed up – but he was on the right side. He is the sponsor of single payer health care in New York State. There is no doubt that he counts as “progressive.” With late redistricting came some surprises – the biggest was that most of Gustavo’s current district was being connected to the Riverdale district (that was Guy Vellela’s, then Jeff Klein’s, now Alessandra Biaggi’s). And Gustavo’s house falls a couple blocks from the border. With Biaggi off running for congress, Gustavo decided to run to continue to represent most of his constituents. But the Bronx machine, including former supporters of Klein and the IDC, saw an opportunity. They put up one of their own, Miguelina Camilo, to oppose Rivera.

The endorsements are split. Dark money is heading to Camilo. The UFT is sticking with Gustavo. In a regular election I’d make him the favorite. But in a low turnout election, where will the vote turn out? The Dinowitzes think they can turn out Riverdale against Gustavo. Can they? It will be close, Gustavo’s internals have him with better than a 10 point lead, but the real numbers are probably much closer, and it could come down to a very tight margin.

Please go out and cast your vote for Gustavo Rivera!

Alessandra Biaggi

Alessandra slew the disgusting dragon. She took Jeff Klein’s seat. And not only did she fight for and win legislation related to women’s issues, she became a true progressive champion, on health care, on taxes, on corruption, on fairness. And then she led the charge against a bigger, even more corrupt sleaze: Andrew Cuomo.

And with original redistricting she was drawn out of her State Senate District, and into a weird 3rd CD North Shore of Long Island + City Island and a few Westchester Shore Towns congressional district, which the incumbent, Tom Suozzi, was vacating, and she decided to go for it. And then when there was re-redistricting, and CD3 no longer had any Westchester, and she looked north.

Now, this part is not IDC. There are two districts, side by side, running north of the city. Mondaire Jones, progressive, has one, and Sean Maloney, anti-progressive, has the other. 17 and 18. And with redistricting, 17 was going to be safe, and 18 was going to be a fight. And Maloney put himself ahead of party, and with strong anti-progressive backing, decided to run in 17, where Jones was living and serving. Wonder why the NY Times didn’t question Maloney essentially handing over the 18th? Yeah, we don’t ask that question. Maloney is powerful within the House leadership, and Jones, quite cowardly, backed down in the face of the bully.

Biaggi saw her spot. She has already slain a disgusting dragon. She led the charge against a second. She is not a coward. She is challenging Maloney. This one is a longer shot. But she needs your support.

Yuh-Line Niou

In a crowded field, the clear progressive. And so dark money and mainstream anti-progressives have been claiming that all of the candidates are the same. And they have been openly backing the most centrist, gazillionaire Dan Goldman. Goldman happens to be friends with the family of the publishers of the NY Times.

And they have been quietly propping up the mainstream/liberals to better divide the vote. They are hoping a three-way divide of the progressive vote will allow Goldman to “win” with under 30%.

There is no question that Yuh-Line is the clear progressive, a clear leader, the clear choice. She has a strong record as a city council person. She has the WFP endorsement. She has been a clear voice for immigrants. And I’ve seen her up here in the Bronx.

In the 10th congressional district primary, every vote will count. Please cast your vote for Yuh-Line Niou.

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