Politicians elected under a party banner should not be allowed to caucus with the opposing party for their own interests.
On Nov. 6, 2012 many New York State Democratic Party voters went to polling stations to vote for their party to take over the New York State Senate. After weeks of vote counting, the Democratic Party won 33 seats and the Republican Party 30 in the 63rd State Legislature.
The Democrats were happy and they were looking forward to control the Senate for the next few years. Unknown to the voters, six of their senators who were elected, namely: Jeffrey D. Klein, Malcolm A. Smith, Simcha Felder, David Valesky, David Carlucci and Diane Savino, made deals with Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos so that they can retain their positions and get committee chairmanships and perks for themselves.
Under the current constitution and election laws of New York State, there is nothing to stop these politicians from going ahead with their plans. However, if this is allowed to continue, voters will get to believe that there are no fundamental differences between the Republican, Democratic, Independent and other parties in the 50 states throughout the country.
This arrangement will make Sen. Jeffery Klein a co-Senate Majority Leader with Senator Skelos and they will agree on all matters to be brought before the Senate for debate and vote. Under the constitution, the Senate majority leader becomes the third in line to assume the governorship of New York State in the event something was to happen to the governor and the lieutenant governor.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has a good working relationship with Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and is not commenting on the behind-the-scenes deal. Democratic State co-Chairwoman Mayor Stephanie A. Miner is optimistic, and describes the move as “a pathway out of dysfunction.” Well, if she honestly believes that, other Democrats like me may see it as an acceptance of more political miscarriage of justice against the citizens who voted.
I have been a Democrat for many years and I am angry over this political hijacking by these elected officials. I am writing about this so that other Democrats who feel the same way as I, can write to the governor, as the head of the Democratic Party in the State of New York, to call on legislators to put an end to incidents like these occurring in the future. Now is the time for the Democrats who are made of metal to stand up for principle and justice.
There is no political party in the United States that goes by the name of ‘Democratic Republican’ any more. The Republican and Democratic parties have different political ideologies. The Democratic Party is inclusive and tolerant while the Republican Party is exclusive and intolerant. People with all types of ideologies are more in the Democratic Party. Gov. Cuomo needs to step up and stop playing games with the Republicans, because when it is time for him to run for re-election all the Republicans will be working together to make sure he loses.
The way it looks, he might be getting a challenge from Mayor Mike Bloomberg who is completing his last term. Since Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, both of them are on a separate campaigns seeking their own funds in Washington, D.C. There should be a law that if an elected politician is elected under a political party’s banner and wants to caucus with another political party, he or she should change his or her party affiliation and a bye-election must be held within 90 days for that seat. This will prevent future politicians from caucusing with other political parties just to satisfy their own political interests over that of the people who voted for them.