Suozzi’s Victory: For Whom the Bellwether Tolls

The Democrats might not have much to celebrate in the Third District of New York, but the Republicans have even less.

AP/Mary Altaffer
Congressman Tom Suozzi speaks on February 11, 2024 at Plainview, New York. AP/Mary Altaffer

Speaker Johnson is eager to put the gloss on the GOP’s defeat in the election to replace George Santos as “in no way a bellwether” for November’s election. Wishful thinking, we say. Better that Mr. Johnson & Co. take the victory of a fairly moderate Democrat, Thomas Suozzi, as an alarm bell. The House GOP, which in 2023 acceded to power with high hopes for substantive reform, has degenerated into dysfunction, and voters are noticing.

“The result last night is not something, in my view, that Democrats should celebrate too much,” Mr. Johnson said this morning. He blamed Mr. Suozzi’s high name recognition, the inexperience of the GOP candidate, Mazi Pilip, and even the snowy weather. The speaker overlooks the fact that Mr. Suozzi managed, as our Matt Rice reports, to flip the script on Republicans on immigration, capitalizing on the GOP’s bait-and-switch on a border deal.

Congressional Republicans had initially framed military aid to Ukraine as a cudgel to force Democrats and the Biden White House to make concessions on control of the southern border. Yet when those negotiations resulted in a bipartisan pact, Republicans, at the behest of President Trump, lost interest. While there may have been legitimate doubts about the efficacy of the border deal, the Republican back-and-forth was no act of leadership.

The volte-face, too, undermines GOP credibility on an issue that should be a winner for them, making it look as if they were mostly eager to hand Mr. Trump a campaign issue. Mr. Suozzi, to be sure, made hay of the border reform bill. “If I was in Congress, I would absolutely support it,” the Democrat said, contending that “people deserve action on this crisis, at this time.” Ms. Pilip aligned herself with Mr. Johnson and vowed to reject the bill. 

Plus, too, our Russell Payne reported, the two candidates differed on the question of aiding Ukraine in its war against Russia. There was no polling on the question in the Third District. Mr. Suozzi, though, is a vocal proponent of military aid for Kyiv. Ms. Pilip kept silent on the matter, suggesting that she sides with Mr. Johnson and the GOP’s far right on denying aid to Ukraine. This tack will do Republicans no favors in November.

Inflation and monetary reform are two more areas in which the House GOP has failed to make progress that would be rewarded by the voters. When the 118th Congress opened, these columns urged Republicans to use debt ceiling negotiations as a chance to open up a debate over the performance of our central bank since 1913, the inflationary crisis induced by our national experiment with fiat money, and the need for a strategy to return to sound money. 

Despite the introduction by Senator Paul and Congressman French Hill of two measures that would, as our Alex Pollock observes, foster greater accountability for the Federal Reserve, congressional leaders have failed to lead on this issue. Meantime, the debt crisis — intertwined with the crisis of fiat money — rages unabated, inflation seems stuck at more than 50 percent above the Fed’s target, and the gold-value of the dollar flirts with an all-time low.

House Republicans, for their part, seem intent instead on pursuing the president and his family in Javert-like investigations that show every sign of traversing the constitutional ban on bills of attainder. They are dedicating to an impeachment that will fail in the Senate time that could be spent on serious legislative matters. They threw the chamber into chaos by ousting their own leader, Kevin McCarthy, over a fit of pique.

We have no regrets in respect of our endorsement of Mazi Pilip. She’s a potential GOP star. Let the outcome in the Third District be a teachable moment for conservatives who look to House Republicans for leadership. There is still time to right the ship, but if Mr. Johnson and his caucus persist on their present course, they should brace for a return in 2025 to minority status, a setback that would be largely self-imposed.

The New York Sun

© 2024 The New York Sun Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material on this site is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used.

The New York Sun

Sign in or  create a free account

By continuing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use