Even though Republicans now control only a minority of seats in New York’s state Senate, they’ve long ruled the chamber and for ages, they’ve stymied countless progressive priorities, including a recent bill that would protect immigrants by turning New York into a “sanctuary state.” But how is this possible in such a blue state? Well, ever since 2011, the GOP has been propped up by an eight-member band of renegade Democrats called the Independent Democratic Conference, which has, in exchange for plum committee chairmanships, blithely handed power to Republicans and screwed over actual Democrats.
Finally, we say: No more. Anger at the IDC has been white-hot since Election Day, when newly engaged New Yorkers began looking for ways to oppose Donald Trump and found a bunch of Democrats willingly aiding and abetting the GOP right in their own backyard—as the Daily News helpfully summarized in the spread you see at the top of this post. These grassroots activists have been showing up in force at town halls to protest the IDC’s shameless thirst for power at any price and pointedly demand that these wayward Democrats return to the fold.
None have, but a new front has just opened in the war on these turncoats. On Tuesday, former New York City Councilman Robert Jackson launched a challenge to state Sen. Marisol Alcantara in next year’s Democratic primary, and his chances of victory are strong. Alcantara—she’s the one at the top left in the News’ Brady Bunch-style gallery of rogues—won an open-seat race for a dark blue district on Manhattan’s West Side last year thanks to heavy outside spending from the IDC. However, she only captured 33 percent of the vote against a pair of credible opponents, one of whom was Jackson, making her one of the most vulnerable members of the breakaway conference.
This time, the field is much less likely to be divided. Jackson, a mainstream Democrat and bona fide progressive, took 31 percent last year and narrowly finished third. The good news, though, is that the second-place finisher, Micah Lasher, a former chief of staff to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who won 32 percent of the vote, has already endorsed Jackson’s rematch.
This is where we come in. If a third candidate enters the primary again, then Alcantara could once more escape with a soft plurality of the vote. That’s why Jackson has announced so early—the primary isn’t until September of 2018—and why Daily Kos is endorsing him right away. We need to give him an immediate boost so that we can prevent another split field and ensure a one-on-one race. That’s the only way to oust an incumbent.
And by helping Jackson now, we can also encourage other potential challengers to other members of the IDC to join the fight as well. You saw how Daily Kos set the Georgia avalanche in motion with our early endorsement of Jon Ossoff. This community can do the same once again in New York and either pressure the IDC to rejoin the Democratic Party or beat them so hard that they become irrelevant.
Frankly, it’s ridiculous that we have to try to turn a blue state blue, but it’s long past time for “Trump’s N.Y. Dems” to go, and you can start giving them the boot today.