Reviews | It’s high time to change the leadership of the Democratic Party in New York and Long Island

As I reflect on the recent midterm elections, I both breathe a sigh of relief and shake my head in disbelief. While Democrats had a far more successful night than expected nationally, on Long Island and across New York State, fear, dishonesty and racism prevailed. We have a lot of work to do.

I am relieved that Governor Kathy Hochul defeated Congressman Lee Zeldin. Mr. Zeldin’s positions on issues such as fracking, reproductive rights and gun safety would be detrimental to this state. His vote to void the 2020 presidential election, hours after the violent insurgency on Capitol Hill, marks him as someone who disrespects free and fair elections.

The loss of state and congressional seats in New York, coupled with Governor Hochul’s narrow victory, should give the Democratic Party pause. The Hochul campaign seemed to cede Long Island to Mr. Zeldin and barely engaged the base here. It cost us Democratic ballot seats in Congress and at the state level.

Jay Jacobs is both State Party Chairman and Nassau Democratic Chairman. Rich Schaffer is the Democratic Chairman of Suffolk County. Under their leadership, Long Island lost seats through several election cycles, at the local, state, and federal levels. Democrats deserve better leadership. In any failing organization, leaders must be held accountable. It is high time for a change of direction within the Democratic Party.

When I think about what should come next for the Democratic Party, I believe it’s a long overdue moment of self-reflection. Women are vulnerable and their reproductive rights are threatened. Communities of color are disproportionately over-policed ​​and incarcerated. Young people struggle to live where they were raised. The income inequality and segregation on Long Island is staggering.

Despite this, too many Democrats aim to “work with the other side.” As a first Democratic voter, I’m not looking for a kumbaya moment with the insurgents and their sympathizers. I want my daughter’s reproductive rights to be protected. I don’t want my kids to live in a world of school shootings and lockdown drills. I want affordable housing for the next generation. I want to protect our climate. It’s time for Democrats to assert our values ​​and stop cowering and bending. This is how the Long Island Democrats can keep themselves from becoming a minority party.

Despite my disappointments, I remain hopeful. When I speak with young people, I see their passion for environmental, social, economic and racial justice. Generation Z turned out to vote in historic numbers this year and were key to Democratic success across the country. Our young people are the future, and they are built on hope and action, not bigotry and fear. And for that, I will continue to fight the good fight, alongside and in solidarity with the generation of my children, who deserve to inherit a better world.

Shoshana Hershkowitz is a Democratic activist, music teacher, musician and writer. She lives in South Setauket.


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