Op-Ed | New York must root out the extremists in our politics

Empty poll kiosks await voters, as NY works to figure out the congressional maps.
Empty poll kiosks await voters.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File

For the last several years, a vocal minority of elected officials have monopolized the discourse and dictated a significant portion of the agenda. Congressman-elect George Latimer’s victory, along with that of Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Assemblywoman Stefani Zinerman, and Assemblyman-elect Jordan Wright showed New Yorkers are standing up to this extremism with force.

Let’s set the narrative straight: money did not win these races, the will of New Yorkers did.

We are home to iconic political figures who have shaped the face of New York City, Albany, the country, and the world. Teddy Roosevelt was the New York City Police Commissioner and as President, was a leader in the conservation movement. John Jay – born in New York City – was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Letitia James became the first Black woman to be Attorney General of the State of New York. Franklin Roosevelt was Governor and then as President, helped save the world from fascism. 

We take pride in our leaders being historic and important. However, today, even after a handful suffered defeat, many of our most notable leaders are still those most out of step. Their negligence is costing New Yorkers jobs and necessary funding to improve our communities. Extremists are increasingly entering all levels of elected office. Rather than focusing on solutions to problems, the Democratic Socialists of America (“DSA”) — and their allies — would rather gain clout online than lower costs, improve public safety, and fix our infrastructure. 

Here in New York, a small group of DSA elected officials have attempted to hijack the discourse. They have upended the government with a platform that is so far out of the mainstream, promoting an extremist agenda that wants to abolish the police, free even our most violent criminal offenders from incarceration, and put an end to capitalism in the financial services capital of the world. Democrats locally and nationally have suffered for it.

But these DSA members are not Democrats. And they are actively rooting against America.

With liberal values under attack by the Chinese Communist Party, Ayatollah Khamenei, and Vladimir Putin, the DSA has called for the US to withdraw from NATO “immediately.” They have called NATO a “war-mongering Cold War holdover” and an “imperialist mechanism.” They have also called NATO “a tool for imperialist expansion and plundering, serving primarily in defense of capitalism and Atlanticist international dominance.” They willfully neglect that NATO is a pact between countries that share “common values of individual liberty, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law” and was established to ensure a lasting global peace in the face of violent fascist and communist regimes.

The DSA bafflingly also has positive words to say about North Korea, speaking out against sanctioning the rogue communist state, saying:  “even though the fighting had ended 70 years ago, the US has continued to escalate its attacks by imposing ever harsher and more devastating sanctions and other punitive measures against the North.” The DSA has more in common with Vladimir Putin than they do with real Democrats. 

The time is now for Democrats to move on from the DSA’s hateful, lawless, and anti-America extremism once and for all. And as history has shown us, New Yorkers must lead the way.