Since I joined MYD in 2009, we have always taken our committement to impartiality in Democtratic primaries very seriously. As an organization whose mission is, in part, to “promote the involvement of young people in the political process,” we believe that forcing our members to become mired in intra-organizational battles over candidates would actually discourage youth participation in politics.
But our mission is also “to advocate those policies and practices consistent with the highest principles in the Democratic Party, to support those candidates for office who articulate such principles and perpetuate the ideals of justice and social welfare…”
When those two key directives are in opposition, I believe our priority must be to advocate for the values and principles to which we subscribe, even if it means supporting a candidate in a Democratic primary. In 2010 we supported Gustavo Rivera in his bid to unseat Pedro Espada because we believed that Espada had violated his oath of office and betrayed the trust of his constituents.
In keeping with MYD’s tradition of placing Democratic principles above blind party loyalty, I believe we must combat obstructionism within our own ranks. Namely, I believe we must be allowed to support candidates who challenge the four members of the Independent Democratic Conference: David Carlucci, Jefferey D. Klein, Diane Savino and David Valesky.
Over the past two years, the members of the IDC have allowed the Senate Republicans to retain control of the State Senate, despite the fact that Democrats hold a majority of the seats. Last year the IDC forced the Senate to approve a watered down minimum wage bill that was so ill-conceived it actually incentivized employers to fire workers once they reach a certain age.
They have also stood in the way of meaningful campaign finance reform. I testified at an IDC hearing back in May of 2013 in support of the Fair Elections Act, and what became abundantly clear to me was that Senator Klein’s incalcitrance was not based on principled oppostition to the bill, but on a selfish desire to use the issue of campaign finance reform to benefit his own conference.
As if all of that weren’t bad enough, the IDC is now actively protecting members of the GOP conference by refusing the bring Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act to a vote. The last thing Senate Republicans want is to be forced to take a public vote on the issue of choice, since any such vote could be used against them in this year’s elections. By refusing to bring the WEA to the floor, the IDC has given the Senate Republicans exactly what they want. The IDC has helped to make the Republicans LESS vulnerable to potential Democratic challengers.
It is clear to me that the IDC is more concerned with retaining its power and protecting Republicans, than with upholding the principles of the Democratic Party. Its members are Democrats in name only and I believe as such, the Manhattan Young Democrats have a responsibility to withhold our support of these four Senators in 2014, and potentially support their primary challengers.