It’s time to stop playing the blame game. Time for the battle of egos to come to an end. Time to call off the flacks, end their embarrassing exchanges on social media. Kill the absurd press conferences staged to shift blame from one side to another. The time has come for Senate Democrats and the Independent Democratic Conference to honor the will of the people who elected them and work together as a conference.
Sen. Jeff Klein has argued for years now that voters should judge the IDC by the results. The results are this: Democratic voters across the state are being marginalized, minorities are being disenfranchised. A state that should by all rights be controlled by Democrats is churning out policy whittled down and muted by a Republican Senate. A group of Republicans who are not focused on representing their constituents, but instead on doing whatever it is they have to do to stay in power.
Yes, the IDC championed paid family leave and helped pass a minimum wage increase–but both policies were significantly less impactful than they could have been had Democrats controlled both houses of the legislature. Now, as President Donald Trump has sent ICE agents storming through neighborhoods, is looking to undo Roe v. Wade and end the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans will be the arbiters of any laws New York tries to pass to protect its citizens.
It is important to note that this goes on because mainline Senate Democrats have had varying strategies in dealing with the IDC–one minute vilifying them when it helped politically and then courting them when that looked better. Rank-and-file Democrats have dogs in the race to be sure but perhaps it’s time for both conferences to find new leadership. Leadership that is willing to work together based on shared interests and put past feuds and egos behind them. It really doesn’t matter how they do it at this point. But unification must happen.
Why? Because voters are waking up. They’re realizing they’re future’s are in the hands of a group of vain, plotting, feuding and petty politicians more interested in self advancement than the fate of the state.
Young voters don’t care if you claim to be a Democrat. They want to know you are capable of working for them and it’s clear the IDC isn’t working for voters–they are working in advancement of their own cause while empowering a group of Republicans who are hostile to immigrants, LGBT causes, transparency, campaign finance reform and voter access.
Senate Democrats aren’t working for voters–they’re treading water, spending time deciding how best to position themselves for the next election, hoping that their horse will finally come in.
So here’s a thought: if you’re a Democrat fed up with how Democrats are behaving in the Senate, don’t vote for them–even better find someone to run against them and start supporting them now.
Neither the IDC or Senate Democrats should be allowed to waste another session squabbling with one another. We need a unified Democratic Senate to stand up to Trump. It’s time to increase the pressure. Time to make them own the shame they’ve brought on New York. Leadership in both sides have proven they are incapable of putting aside self interest to work for New Yorkers. And make no mistake Gov. Andrew Cuomo is culpable in all of this too.
The Governor gets what he wants. If he wanted a Democratic Senate he could have one. He’s made the motions before to encourage unity, only to back away. He’s barely ever campaigned for Senate Democrats since becoming Governor–something he’s allegedly joked about with Republicans. If Cuomo wants to continue selling his shtick of a “One New York” he needs to help create one Democratic Conference.
It’s time for our representatives to stop playing games with each other. Time for them to stop gaming New Yorkers. If they don’t unify and deliver real results in the face of Trump’s grave threat to Democratic values, then 2018’s midterms should not only be an election that sweeps Republicans out of Congress but that also ushers in a host of New Democratic State Senators who will work with one another and for the will of the majority of New York voters.