If Not Now, When? New Yorkers Have a Chance To Vote on Tuesday for Common Sense

The political chatter might focus on Biden and Trump, but local contests in New York could make a difference in the future of their city.

AP/Hans Pennink
Governor Hochul presents her executive state budget at the state Capitol February 1, 2023. AP/Hans Pennink

New Yorkers have a lot of complaints. We vent about rampant shoplifting, out-of-control electric bikes, dirty streets, jammed-up traffic, and the soaring prices of everything. Migrants are taking over our hotels, the stink of weed is everywhere, and scaffolding darkens even the loveliest city blocks.

For all these indignities, we tend to blame Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams. There are, though, other guilty parties as well: district attorneys who refuse to prosecute crimes, radical city council members who recently passed a bill allowing illegal aliens to vote, oblivious judges, and state legislators who refuse to rescind bail laws that keep criminals out of jail. 

Yet, if one asked New Yorkers who represents them in the city council or in the New York state assembly, most would have no clue. As riled as Manhattanites are about soaring taxes and crime, the majority does not bother to vote. In last year’s elections, turnout in New York was 38.3 percent. That is an improvement over the 14.5 percent who bothered to vote in the June primaries.

Many consider the Democrat machine in New York so all-powerful that a trip to the ballot box is fruitless. That is not always true. Sometimes, turnout is so puny that even a modicum of organizing effort or fundraising could tip the balance. Consider a special election in heavily Democratic East Harlem last January to replace a former assemblyman.

That contest drew only 1.8 percent of registered voters; the Republican candidate garnered 133 votes, while her Democrat opponent won with 1,076 votes. Would a full-court press to turn out sympathetic voters have changed the outcome? We’ll never know. This year, outrage over the state of our city could yield some wins for common sense reforms.

When polling shows only 34 percent of voters approve of Mr. Adams’s job performance, Ms. Hochul wins 40 percent approval and state legislators only 27 percent, voters appear ready for a change. Tuesday is Election Day. Thanks to redistricting, every city council seat is up for grabs. Of the 51 races, 14 are uncontested.

That doesn’t mean those candidates are exceptional. It does mean that the GOP in New York is running low on energy and can only focus its efforts on winnable districts; most are not. Democrats outnumber Republicans on the council 45 to six, but, believe it or not, that’s a better ratio than in recent years. In several contests Republicans have a shot of winning or holding seats, especially in southern Brooklyn and in Eastern Bronx and Queens. 

In District 47 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, redistricting is pitting incumbent John Brannan, a Democrat, and Ari Kagan, a newly minted Republican who switched parties last year and who is also an incumbent. Mr. Brannan is the machine candidate, backed by Big Labor and Mr. Adams. Mr. Brannan is pro-migrant and anti-police; he also, like all good lefties, favors higher taxes.

Mr. Kagan is campaigning on helping small businesses and supporting law enforcement. This is a winnable contest for the GOP. The newly created District 43, which includes parts of Brooklyn and boasts a large Asian-American voter group, also features a Republican (Ying Tan) and a Democrat (Susan Zhuang). The GOP is optimistic that crime and schools might sway voters.

In Brooklyn District 48, the GOP mayoral candidate, Curtis Sliwa, resoundingly defeated Mr. Adams in last year’s mayoral race, despite registered Democrats handily outnumbering Republicans. The incumbent Republican, Inna Vernikov, should be able to maintain her seat. These are just a couple of the races that are contested. Voters will also elect three district attorneys, deciding two ballot measures, and choosing several judges.

While all the political chatter focuses on Presidents Biden and Trump meeting up yet again next year in the presidential election, New Yorkers can make a difference in the future of their city this week. They have a chance to push back against Democrat policies on immigration and crime that are destroying our city by voting Republican. If not now, when?

The New York Sun

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