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The Next Week Could Change NY Politics

Hey everyone,

The national dialogue is, as ever, a roiling mess of uncertainty. But in New York State, critical decisions for the future of politics are poised to be made in the coming weeks.

And then there’s all the events at the bottom.


Trump Battles to Save Chinese Jobs

When Trump tweeted last weekend about the urgent need to save jobs at ZTE, a Chinese phone company, jaws surely dropped across the country. Trump's most consistent position throughout his campaign and Presidency has been on trade with China.

The reasons for the reversal are unclear and the story’s a little complicated: ZTE admitted to violating U.S. sanctions by selling to Iran and North Korea, and agreed to a plea deal with penalties in federal court last year. Months ago, the Department of Commerce determined that the terms of the plea deal were not being met, and barred U.S. companies from doing business with ZTE. Because they rely on parts made in the U.S., ZTE was about to cease operations, until the President swooped in on Twitter.

The reasons for the China-first curveball could involve trying to strike a trade deal with the country instead of heading into a threatened trade war ahead of the midterms. Or it could be sort of a last-minute realization that a less than a month from the historic North Korea summit is not the best time to anger a country that will play a key part in any kind of successful negotiations.

Or it could be that an Indonesian real estate project with several Trump properties attached received a 500 million dollar loan from the Chinese government. (The Trump Organization didn’t receive the loan directly, but is one of the key developers on the project, and will benefit from the other partners in the theme park and smart city receiving the funds to build their share).

US Embassy Opens in Jerusalem

On Monday, the Trump administration officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Ivanka Trump was present for Monday’s ribbon cutting of the new U.S. Embassy.

The move, although historic, came with a deadly toll. Large protests lead to the killing of 60 Palestinians by the Israeli Defense Force and many injured, making it the worst one-day total since the 2014 Gaza War. The Israeli military has stated that at least 8 of those killed were Hamas militants, dressed as civilians among the protesters, who attacked Israeli forces.

The move is so controversial because Jerusalem contains holy sites for both Muslims and Jews; as a result, both Palestinians and Israelis claim the city as their capital.  Making things more complicated, Jerusalem is segregated in two: the Israeli parliament and prime minister’s home located in West Jerusalem while Palestinians nominally claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. With all these considerations, the embassy move suggests an even more complicated path towards a two-state solution.

National Democrats Pulling to the Left

The biggest shocker came when Nebraska Democrats nominated Kara Eastman over incumbent Brad Ashford. Eastmen, labeled as the underdog, defeated Ashford 51% to 49%. Eastman’s ability to deliver a message that resonated with the resistance won over the electorate. Although Ashford maintained an impressive record in Congress, it hurt him with establishment Democrats and cost him the majority. This may hurt more than help Eastman in the general election however as Nebraska’s 2nd CD is largely a red district.

Idaho State Rep. Paulette Jordan cruised to the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination over the more well known and well funded, rival. Jordan would become the nation’s first Native American Governor if elected.

Pennsylvania Democrats also nominated two progressives for CDs 1 and 7 respectively. Scott Wallace, grandson of the Progressive’s Party of 1948 Presidential nominee won in the 1st. The 7th District saw a three way primary with two progressives and a moderate Democrat, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, who’s known to make friendly remarks towards Trump. Allentown City Solicitor Susan Wild won the nomination.

Both districts are swing districts with CD1 having a R+1, and CD7 having a D+0.04. Another takeaway from Tuesday is the fact that women dominated. 11 out 16 races were captured by women. Prior to Tuesday, Pennsylvania was the only state to not have women representatives, Democrats nominated three on Tuesday.

Idoho Republicans were also busy on Tuesday night, nominating establishment-backed candidate for Lt. Gov. Brad Little. Oregon Republicans nominated State Rep. Knute Beuhler over two conservatives.

Net Neutrality Sees A Second Chance

A long time ago we wrote about the Democratic plan to save Net Neutrality through a special process known as CRA. This process is special because allows a minority party to place a resolution on the Senate agenda, bypassing the majority, so long as it deals with a rule created by a Federal Agency. This is exactly what Democrats in the Senate did and, with three Republican votes, shot down the FCC’s plans for dismantling Net Neutrality.

The resolution must now be introduced in the House where a majority IS required for introduction. If it passes the House, it will then require the President’s approval.

The Government Is Killing Kittens (Really) (But Not Because of Trump)

Last week the White Coat Waste Project released a report on a USDA program which infects kittens with Toxoplasma parasite, experiments on them and then kills them. The toxoplasma parasite causes toxoplasmosis which can cause problems for pregnant women and those with suppressed immune systems. However, most of the kittens infected with the parasite are not symptomatic and even those who develop the disease can be treated with antibiotics.

According to the CDC and veterinarian associations, all the kittens are safe to be adopted. Unfortunately, USDA feels differently and has all the kittens killed. A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the house to end the program, which has been running since 1982 and costs taxpayers $650,000 annually.


The Democratic State Committee

Next week the Democratic State Committee will meet for it's Bi-annual Convention. Normally an unexciting, mundane body, State Committee (along with many other Party Committees) has been the source of intense activity and scrutiny since the 2016 Primary and the election of Donald Trump.

May 23-24, the State Committee will be weighing in on critical issues facing New York - including who will fill the vaccuum left by former AG Eric Schneiderman, what to about the millions of voters pushed out of primaries by NY's archaic voting laws and how the Party should reform itself in the time of Trump. 

Several every local story in the last week has touched on the upcoming activity of the State Committee. Here's how it's playing out.

NY Changes Policy Towards Marijuana, State May Follow

Two major changes to New York marijuana policy might be in the works. First, the New York State Democratic Party announced that it plans to introduce a resolution endorsing marijuana legalization at its party convention, which takes place next week. Reports state that Governor Cuomo won’t stand in the way of the party’s push despite prior opposition to legalization. It might be because he’s feeling pressure from Cynthia Nixon’s progressive campaign, which called for legalization a little over a month ago. She pointed out that marijuana is essentially already legal for whites in the state, but without legalization, black and brown people were still at risk for going to jail for possession.

Her point was well illustrated this weekend with a report in the Times proving exactly that: Despite relatively similar rates of pot use, black and hispanic people were far more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession and use. The NYPD’s rationalization of the discrepancy fell apart under scrutiny — they said that more 911 and 311 calls about pot use were made in minority neighborhoods, but the Times analysis showed that even in areas with the same number of calls about weed, minorities were far more likely to go to jail. The only good news in this? Manhattan DA Cy Vance has said his office will cease prosecuting marijuana possession and use cases, and citywide, the NYPD will reform enforcement to decrease overall arrests and end the racial discrepancy.

Race for AG Taking Shape

The field for potential candidates to replace former State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has begun to solidify. Most candidates have decided to ignore the (very) temporary replacement process and focus on the upcoming Democratic State Committee endorsement and 2018 election cycle.

As such, many presume the front-runner(s) will be emerging next week at the Democratic State Committee Convention when the Party places its preferred candidates on the ballot.


  • Public Advocate Tish James, who had initially whipped the votes needed to win the appointment, has dropped out of the interview process with the State Assembly. Instead, she has decided to run directly for AG in the 2018 elections.

  • Former Gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout has formally announced her candidacy and resigned as Cynthia Nixon’s campaign Treasurer.

  • Preet Bharara still seems to be expressing interest. It was revealed today that he hasn’t been registered to vote since 2006. While he says he did not want to appear partisan as a Federal Prosecutor, he could have registered with no Party affiliation, or registered for the 2018 cycle after he left his government positions in 2017.


  • Congresswoman Kathleen Rice bows out of the AG race due to complications with state law now allowing an incumbent to run for two offices simultaneously.

  • Queens State Senator Michael Gianaris has dropped out to support Letitia James and focus on retaking the State Senate.

State Committee May Open Democratic Primary to Non-Democratic Voters

The Democratic State Committee is set to meet for the bi-annual convention May 22-23. While most of the coverage has focused on the battle between Cuomo and Nixon for the nomination of the Party (freeing them from petitioning to get on the ballot), several resolutions are on the agenda which have the capacity to change how the New York State does politics.

The biggest proposed change would amend the Democratic Party rules to allow unaffiliated voters (registered voters who are not in ANY political party) to vote in Democratic Primaries for Statewide offices (Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General) and for President. The main reason for the resolution is pressure the legislature to address the egregious voter registration laws in New York State. Currently, the law requires voters changing their Party to wait a full election cycle before the change takes effect; sometimes taking nearly a year and making it impossible for people to change from unaffiliated to vote in the next primary.

The resolution states that, should the legislature eliminate the waiting period for changing parties in New York State the resolution will immediately cease to have effect.

As can be imagined, there is intense debate within the Party as to whether or not it should allow people who do not identify as Democrats should be allowed to participate in any decisions the Party makes. Many argue against it, worrying it will dilute the progressive nature of the Party or that it will allow rigging. On the other side are those arguing that the Party needs to be more welcoming and allowing this limited Primary participation will be helpful to organizing and to the basic ideals of democracy.

Other Resolutions

Along with the resolutions on legalizing marijuana and opening the primary mentioned above, several others are set for consideration.

What do YOU think the State Party should do? Do you support these amendments? Add you voice so we can bring them up during debate!

Manhattan County Party Endorses in Civic Court Races

Manhattan will see several judges run for Civil Court this year. These elections, especially the Democratic Primary, are incredibly poorly attended and covered. As a result, the endorsement of the County Party is incredibly important for who participate. The endorsed judges are:

  • 2nd Judicial District: Robert Rosenthal

  • 3rd Judicial District: Hilary Gingold

  • 5th Judicial District: Illana Marcus

  • 6th Judicial District: Nick Moyne

  • 9th Judicial District: Kathleen Waterman

  • Countywide: Ariel Chesler

  • Countywide: Shah Ally


Due to AG Schneiderman resigning last week, we pushed this little segment. But if you ever wondered how school funding in New York works, good news! It’s fascinating and explained!

Also, a little more good news, our NYC students got more funding (but still not 100% of what they’re owed).



Asian American Leaders for Youth Conference

Saturday, May 19

10:00am – 2:00pm

71 E 94th St, New York, NY 10128, USA

Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club Annual Spring Brunch Fundraiser

Sunday, May 20

12:00pm – 3:00pm

Description:Honoring Public Advocate Letitia James and The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Purchase tickets:

Meet the New 504 Democratic Club Leadership

Sunday, May 20

12:00pm – 2:30pm

Description:Ahead of our 35th Anniversary Gala later this year, the 504 Democratic Club is hosting this event to introduce all to the 'New' 504! Come One, Come All to meet the new leadership team, elected officials, policy makers and disability community leaders from across the City. Contribute to the discussion about  the 21st Century approach to achieving full equality and our Civil Rights.

Corey Johnson’s 4th Annual West Side Summit

Sunday, May 20

1:00pm – 3:00pm

Description:CLICK HERE TO RSVP: Please join New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on The High Line at the 14th Street Passage for his 4th Annual West Side Summit on Sunday, May 20th at 1 PM.  

Benefit for Washington Square Music Festival

Sunday, May 20

6:00pm – 7:00pm

Civil Court Candidates Forum

Monday, May 21

7:00pm – 8:30pm

Description:Please join us to hear from this year's candidates for Civil Court.  This event is sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats and CODA LES

Sister District Fundraiser

Monday, May 21

7:00pm – 8:00pm

Four Freedoms Democratic Club Blue Wave Happy Hour!

Tuesday, May 22

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Description:Join the Four Freedoms Democratic Club as we gear up for the 2018 midterms! We'll have information on how to get involved in upcoming congressional races, and you'll have the opportunity to mix and mingle with your fellow progressive Democrats. RSVP here:

**Happy hour specials extended until 9pm!**

Democratic State Committee: Opening Reception

Tuesday, May 22

7:00pm – 8:00pm

NY Democratic State Committee Convention

Wednesday, May 23

7:00am – 6:00pm

1000 Fulton Ave, Hempstead, NY 11549, USA

Democratic State Committee Meeting

Thursday, May 24

7:00am – 12:30pm

1000 Fulton Ave, Hempstead, NY 11549, USA

Rent Guideline Board Public Meeting

Thursday, May 24

9:30am – 10:30am

GroundShift Camp

May 25 – 26, 2018

Description:Start your summer off with an immersive weekend of civic empowerment, community building, and creative experiences at GroundShift on May 25-27.Through a transformative camp experience, we will come together to deepen our understanding of the political, economic, and social systems we hope to change and re-imagine what’s possible through performances, workshops, music, art and storytelling. Program partners include Make the Road, New York Civic Engagement Table, Indivisible Brooklyn, Forward Union, CTZNWELL, TrueBlue, Coalition for Strong Economy, and more. Early Bird Tickets: 20% off Regular Ticket before April 30th! Ticket costs (including food, lodging and program):  Low Income $125 // Regular $255 // Angel $490Transportation available from NYC.

The Hood Needs YOU!, A County Committee Informational!

Saturday, May 26

2:00pm – 4:00pm

Description:Join us for a complete rundown of how County Committees are structured, the roles they play and how to become a member and use the position to organize your hood to have real political power on your block!

County Committee Training

Wednesday, May 30

6:30pm – 8:00pm

Description:It's almost that time. Petitioning season is fast approaching for county committee seats in Queens and we need you to show up!

New York State Democratic Party: Grassroots Summit

Saturday, June 2

10:00am – 4:30pm

You Matter Nation Workshop: Politics 101

Monday, June 4

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Description:The systems and procedures that drive democracy are often obscured from the view from the very people it's meant to serve. This workshop opens up these topics, and others, which are ignored by political science classes, the media and even Wikipedia pages. It covers covers topics such as: Political Geography, The Party Structure in America,  and How to engage in the existing system for real effect.

Jim Owles Dinner Gala Awards Ceremony

Monday, June 4

7:00pm – 8:00pm


The Living Liberally Annual Celebration 2018. 15 years of DL!

Thursday, June 7

6:30pm – 9:30pm

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