A Red Alert Message to My Like Minded Friends: New York City Democrats, Wake Up

A view of Manhattan from Brooklyn

Last week, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine posted a message on Twitter urging New York City Democrats who’ve been volunteering on political campaigns in swing state districts to focus more energy here at home in New York. Statewide races are extremely close and we need to push hard on Democratic turnout here in New York on the home stretch, he said.

The borough president couldn’t be more spot on. The time has come to sound a red alert alarm to Democratic voters in New York City. New York democrats, this is a wake-up call.

New Polls show Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, the conspiracy theory embracing, anti-choice Donald Trump loyalist, closing in fast on Democrat Kathy Hochul. An October 18 Quinnipiac poll put Gov. Hochul’s lead in the low-single digits, with the state’s rising crime rate being the over-arching issue of concern among voters. There are other races that have gotten uncomfortably close across the state.

State Democratic leadership, most especially in the governor’s office, would provide the first line of defense should we, God forbid, end up with a Republican House, Senate and even more terrifying, a White House inhabited by Donald Trump and his lawless minions who are hell bent on destroying Democracy itself.

If progressive, liberal and moderate New Yorkers think for one second they’re somehow safe in their avocado toast bubbles from a martial law imposing, abortion banning, marriage equality obliterating autocracy that a solid Republican Washington could usher into this already fragile and troubled Democracy, they are dangerously mistaken.

Lee Zeldin is selling himself as a moderate and reasonably minded guy. But he’s not. Zeldin worked with Trump White House officials to promote baseless conspiracy theories as part of greater efforts overturn the will of the people and up end the 2020 presidential election. If elected, he would be a power wielding soldier in the radical GOP’s greater mission to impose its warped, Taliban-like edicts upon the rest of us.

But far too many city Democrats refuse to accept the fact a Trumpian Republican such as Zeldin could ascend to the governor’s office in a state that his home to one of the most progressive places in the United States, New York City.

“We really do live in an insulated bubble,” said a friend during lunch as we munched on our salads one sunny afternoon in Tribeca this past week. “And so many people I know, have complained about Kathy Hochul not being progressive enough.”

Like me, she worries that far too many city residents, in particular younger voters, aren’t paying attention to the state races, including the governor’s race.

“For them, the New York governor’s race just doesn’t have the same sense of urgency the 2020 presidential election did,” she said.

Some of the blame for the lack of enthusiasm may lie with Democrats and their basically lame messaging. For example, President Biden, who on paper has been doing a really great job policy wise, hasn’t exactly done the best job keeping rhetoric laser-focused and simple. He often seems defensive and some say he hasn’t expressed enough empathy for Americans experiencing the pain of skyrocketing inflation or acknowledged the fact a lot of people perceive crime to be out of control.

Meanwhile, Republicans, including those in New York, have been unrelenting, marching in lock step, blasting Democrats with sharp and narrow attacks that paint themselves as not only tough on crime, but also economic wizards. Lee Zeldin has been following that simple-minded playbook to a tee, blasting shrill scary headlines and despite his apparent disdain for Democracy, far too many New York voters across the state are buying his snake oil.

If there were ever a time to reach out to friends and neighbors who live in the city’s five boroughs or like-minded family members, current and former work or classmates upstate and beyond, it’s now. The November tea-leaves don’t read so well for Democrats on a national level, but with high voter turnout in the city, we can at least preserve a semblance of Democracy here in New York.



New York City cyclist, writer, instagram junkie, news junkie. I wish I traveled more. lyoncody@gmail.com

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Cody Lyon

New York City cyclist, writer, instagram junkie, news junkie. I wish I traveled more. lyoncody@gmail.com