Monday, December 13, 2010

Democratic Party

Friday, June 4, 2010

What About Reforming New York's Democratic Party?

Breaking News
Judge Rules MTA Cannot Layoff Subway Booth Workers

New Democratic Party Spin

What About Reforming New York's Democratic Party? In the past 60 years, only two people have truly dared to reform New York City politics. In both instances, their motivations were not so much altruistic, as they were fueled by personal ambition and attempts to gain greater power over their party.

As the Democrats fight the mayor on non partisan elections it is an idea time to look at the sorry state of the city's Democratic Party elected officials have taken over the party positions with the sole purpose of centralizing power and using it resources to help in their reelection campaigns. The party has no agenda or issue it pushes beside fighting the mayor's non partisan voting proposal. Most of the people in party positions have never been challenged. It function more like the old soviet union then a democratic institution. It is even allow according to the U.S. Supreme Court to use politics to pick judges. Lopez Torres v. NYS Bd of Elections.

It has been 50 years since anyone has tried to reform New York's Democratic Party. In the mid 60's Robert Kennedy who defeated the democratic machine to become senator set his sights on cleaning up the state's Democratic Party.
Kennedy tried to clean up Manhattan’s Surrogate Court, which to this day remains a piggy bank for party patronage, calling the Court "a political toll booth exacting tribute from widows and orphans." He took aim at cronyism in Albany and fought to strengthen home rule of New York City. He also proposed nonpartisan redistricting, a move aimed at eliminating one of the main tools party leaders use to keep their incumbents in office for decades. Fiercely battled by a faction of the Democratic machine, Kennedy’s attempts to take over Albany were ultimately repulsed with the help of the Republicans, who were as deeply invested in maintaining the status quo as the old-line Democrats.

The first wave of reform came under Carmine De Sapio, the last head of Tammany Hall. In 1954, DeSapio campaigned against Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., the late President’s son, eventually persuading Roosevelt to abandon his run for Governor. Eleanor Roosevelt, the former first lady and Franklin’s mother, blamed De Sapio for derailing her son’s political ambitions and vowed revenge. Using her enormous political influence, over the next seven years Eleanor Roosevelt battled to oust De Sapio from his post as Manhattan’s Democratic county leader. He ended up serving 2 years in jail.

What is truly interesting, though, is that in the course of his battle with Roosevelt it was actually De Sapiowho became the reformer. De Sapio calculated that his best chance to stay in control of his party was to recast himself as the real reformer and open up the Democratic Party to as many people as possible. It was De Sapio who first welcomed women, African-Americans, and Latinos into New York City’s Democratic Party. He named the first Puerto Rican district leader in Manhattan, Anthony Mendez, and pushed Hulan Jack as New York City’s first African-American borough president.

De Sapio also fought for rent control and lowering the voting age to 18. He even changed the Democratic Party’s rules to allow for the direct elections of district leaders. Prior to De Sapio’s reform, district leaders were selected by the county committee and the county leader in the same kind of shady backroom deals in which the county leaders are still chosen today. * A Brooklyn Democratic district leader was busted for practicing law without a license.

Tripping: Jay Jacobs lost the Nassau for the Democratic Party

State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs on the difference between the Independent Democratic Conference and the "amigos" of yesteryear: "I would simply answer that I think the circumstances were different in terms of what the motivations were. I don't think you could put the motivations of this group beside the motivations of Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate." (NYO)

No comments:

Post a Comment