Perhaps you think that New York is already about as far left as it is possible to go. Well, then you haven’t reviewed the results of the recent Democratic primaries, held on Thursday September 13. In the headline race, incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo beat far-left challenger Cynthia Nixon comfortably, 66% to 34%. But down the ticket something significant happened: a group of far left Democrats, including “Democratic Socialists,” took out most of the moderate Democrats in the State Senate who have been keeping the state legislature from going completely off the rails for the past several years.
At the New York Times, you can feel the excitement. Their lead editorial Friday has the headline “Change Comes to Albany, if Not the Governor’s Mansion.”
Most exciting, reformers across New York City ousted entrenched incumbents in races for Democratic State Senate nominations, all but eliminating a once-powerful group who had formed a rogue alliance that handed power to Republican senators . . . The sweetest victory was Alessandra Biaggi’s hard-fought defeat of the former I.D.C. kingmaker Jeffrey Klein in a district straddling the Bronx and Westchester.
The “I.D.C.” refers to something called the “Independent Democratic Caucus,” a group of about eight Democratic state senators who had been allying with the Republicans. Six of them lost their primaries. What will be the result? According to the Pravda editorial:
If Democrats can take control of the Senate in November, these reformists can help shape an agenda for Albany that would include legislation that many felt the I.D.C. allowed Republicans to block for years: college aid for immigrant “Dreamers,” the strengthening of reproductive rights for women and desperately needed protections for tenants in New York City.
Yes, if we get really lucky we can bring back the situation we had in the 1970s, where onerous rent controls on essentially all apartments cut off almost all new construction and made it such that those wanting to move to the City could not find an apartment, even as the population declined by over 10% in a decade.
The Official Manhattan Contrarian Foreign Correspondent writes from his perch in the East Bronx of the victory of Biaggi over Klein:
You will recall that when the Democrats momentarily gained control of the NYS Senate they immediately screwed it up by handing the leadership to actual criminals. Klein worked out a beautiful solution to this problem. He created the IDC with the approval of Gov Cuomo. This broke a potential log jam in the Senate and made him a key player in the State Legislature thereby gaining tremendous benefits for his district. His reward was to be labeled a Trumpite Republican and ushered out of office by naive but crazed voters, largely younger women. I am told by a campaign assistant that to even mention Kleins's name in Riverdale, a prosperous, predominantly Jewish area in the NW Bronx, invited screaming invective from the younger voters. Now Riverdale was always an area where Klein received strong support but now it turned into a hotbed of anti-Klein sentiment. Women largely outvoted the men and while the older women voters remained loyal to Klein the younger women voted in amazing numbers and identified him with the hated Trump and voted in near unanimity against him. Klein is a moderate liberal who no more resembles Trump than he does John Wayne.
And then there is the even more bizarre victory of a young woman named Julie Salazar over long-time State Senator Martin Dilan of North Brooklyn. Tablet Magazine did an in-depth report on Salazar’s rather flexible biography in late August, that you might think would have torpedoed pretty much any candidate. At least until that time, her story ran like this (from the Forward):
She was born in Colombia, and her father was Jewish, descended from the community expelled from medieval Spain. When her family immigrated to the United States, they had little contact with the American Jewish community, struggling to establish themselves financially.
Turns out more or less all of that was made up. Actually, she was a Christian from a prosperous family and born in the U.S. And until recently a conservative. From Tablet:
Social media postings, various articles, and the recollections of people who knew her at Columbia University show that in her early 20s Salazar was a right-wing pro-Israel Christian. In 2012 and into 2013, she was the president of Columbia Right to Life, the campus’s leading anti-abortion group.
But whatever. Now she’s a “Democratic Socialist” and running in a district with no Republican opponent. Her main campaign themes include “fighting evictions,” “ending gentrification,” “taxing the rich,” “making New York ICE-free,” and “universal healthcare NOW.” No problem! She won the primary comfortably, 59 - 41 percent.
The state legislature now will have a great opportunity to put a stop to New York City’s renaissance and send us back into stagnation and decline.
UPDATE, September 17: The New York Post reports this morning as to several items on the list of priorities of the new prospective state senators in the field of rent regulation:
Eliminate the automatic 20 percent increase or ‘bonus’ landlords can charge when a rent-regulated apartment becomes vacant
Repeal vacancy decontrol, which allows apartments to go to market rates.
Reregulate hundreds of thousands of apartments that were deregulated over the past 25 years.
(These bullet points appear in the print edition of the article, and do not seem to be available in the online edition at the link.) These youngsters have no recollection that the last time similar changes were enacted (in 1974), new construction quickly came to a near halt, and apartments became essentially unavailable to outsiders unless you had the right connections or were willing to bribe an insider. It’s perfect justice and fairness!