I rarely publish consecutive columns addressing the same topic. However, this election is so important that it warrants repetition. It is more important than the presidential election because it was clear that there was no way Trump was going to win New York. There are some readers who are registered as Democrats but may not be excited with any of the Democratic candidates. It would be a big mistake to sit this one out. Despite what some may believe, Curtis Sliwa (a Republican) is not going to become the next mayor no matter who the Democratic Party candidate is.
This election is greater than the office of the mayor; it is a referendum on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her rise has been sudden for a relatively new member of Congress. She defeated one of the highest-ranking members in the House of Representatives, Joe Crowley, and has not looked back. She has proven that it is good politics to be anti-Israel, which is a serious threat. She is much more dangerous that either Omar or Tlaib, since AOC is a skilled politician while Omar and Tlaib are obnoxious, arrogant, and divisive. It is better for Tlaib and Omar to be the face of the group of elected officials who are anti-Israel rather than AOC. The more Tlaib and Omar talk or tweet, the better it is for Israel, since their rhetoric turns off so many.
The problem is that other elected officials see AOC’s success and are emboldened. In the past, anyone with such positions - especially in a city such as New York - would have no future.
Even those who are strong supporters of Israel and were considered moderates have tried to pivot to the progressives. Comptroller and now-mayoral-candidate Scott Stringer tried that approach. It looks like it will not work. However, that is due to other issues and not because he is too progressive.
Now, AOC has set her sights on being the most influential elected official in New York City, if not the state. Late in the race, she endorsed Maya Wiley for mayor, who this week was the only major candidate who endorsed defunding (reducing) police funding. While the media has been attacking Eric Adams, Wiley is moving up in the polls and has been projected by some to win. The other two “moderate” candidates besides Adams who the polls list as having the best chance to win are Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia.
If Wiley wins, the perception will be that it was due to AOC’s endorsement. AOC also endorsed Brad Lander for comptroller. However, his victory is not as important as AOC’s candidate winning mayor, the highest City office.
AOC must be stopped. We may not be able to directly vote on her being a member of Congress; however, this is an indirect way to limit her power. If you vote against her choices and make sure that they do not win, it is a vote against her.
This is the time for those who love Israel to stand up and be counted. There are many Trumpians who love to attack AOC and others in the Democratic Party even though they are registered Democrats. Well, here is your chance to do something concrete. Go vote and make sure that Maya Wiley and Brad Lander go down in defeat. If you sit on your hands and do nothing but moan about the Democratic candidates and say that you are voting for Sliwa, then you are responsible if Wiley and Lander win. Writing letters to the editor, or articles and comments on Facebook or other social media, is not enough.
Right now, AOC has not moved from her position concerning Israel. It has worked for her. If her candidate loses and she is no longer seen as invincible, she may change. For her, I think that ambition is more important than ideology. Also, her loss will send a signal to others who are thinking about following her approach that it may not work.
Please go out and vote. This election is too important to ignore.