Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New York Primaries Prove Anything Is Possible

Generally elections are static events, especially in primary contests. Few people vote and for the most part, the incumbents are able to use their power to remain in office. While that happened in most cases yesterday, there were quite a few examples of where it didn't. Most impressively, the people of the 33rd Senate District did the decent thing and kicked Pedro Espada to the gutter, where he belongs. Gustavo Rivera trounced him, and my hat is off to the voters, Rivera's staff that made the message of change clear and for the other challengers that bowed out so that there was no vote splitting. Truly it was a great day in this district.

The same cannot be said in Harlem, where five challengers fell over each other to depose the corrupt Charlie Rangel. While Rangel has been an institution in Harlem for four decades, his unethical behavior should have brought his career to an end. Unfortunately the primary purpose was lost on the four whose name did not end in "Adam Clayton Powell." I know, I know, a political dynasty should not determine who makes the best candidate, but this is New York and sometimes if you want change, you have to humble yourself for least until the day comes when every single voter is well informed on the issues and truly wants to be robo-called at 9pm on Sunday so they can get one last appeal to sway their opinion.

Of course, I figured Charlie would triumph but seeing his 50.55% threadbare majority shows me that was some hope after all. Perhaps we can learn a less from the (gulp) Bronx.

So other than expunged heap of garbage that is commonly known as Pedro Espada, the only other game changer last night was the resounding victory Carl Paladino had over the Republican establishment's favorite Rick Lazio. While the Democrats made an internal party change for the better, Republicans decided to go with their basest instincts and nominate a raving bigot to be their standard bearer (who will fail miserably) against the Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo.

Paladino likens himself to the 'mad as hell' Howard Beale and he isn't going to take it anymore. I have to hand it to this racist and sexual deviant, he crushed Wall Street's Rick Lazio and was able to win what has been called an unlikely victory. However, this is just another example (among others from last night) that there is a wave of populist rage going through the Republican party and the 'folks' are sick of being played by politicians who claim one thing and do another. Unfortunately, the people on the right who are sticking their heads out of their windows and yelling are being guided by racism, bigotry and above all, fear of whatever is different from them. So instead of seeing the big picture, they tend to go for the candidate that unabashedly makes racist and derogatory remarks without any real ideas about how to govern a state or nation that is dealing with decades of public policy that favors the wealthy elite at the expense of the middle class.

At least for the moment though, New York for one will go with the saner Andrew Cuomo in November. Other states such as Delaware will follow as should New Hampshire (by electing Hodes to the Senate). However, populist rage can be infectious, so if our current leaders (and by that I mean Obama and others who have his general mindset about fairness, equality and respect for fellow mankind) want to improve the plight of America and help those that are struggling, they better get to it soon....or else things might really get out of control.