I have been involved heavily in politics for just short of 40 years. In that time, I have worked on countless campaigns and served in various capacities within the Conservative Party, rising to the rank of state vice chairperson and Brooklyn chairperson. I used to think I had seen it all until the 2016 Presidential race came about.
The Republican and Democratic Parties traditionally say during the campaign cycle that there is a clear choice and clear differences between the political parties and their candidates. Frankly, once elected, you often see that the differences are minimal inasmuch as when it comes to day-to-day positions, polling often drives similarities, resulting in more similarities then one might expect.
That was until this year. Led by two presidential candidates that are light years apart, the political parties are also showing very clear differences. I offer the national conventions as evidence.
Two stark differences evident to many viewers were the many American flags gracing the Republican Convention stage vs. the few American flags placed behind a screen at the Democratic Convention. And then there was the many pro-police speakers at the Republican Convention including several police chiefs vs. a Democratic emphasis on the families of African Americans who were killed by the police, even when in several cases, juries found no evidence that the police interaction was inappropriate.
And then of course there was the first day of the Democratic Convention in which none of 60 speakers mentioned ISIS. Not surprisingly, at Donald Trump’s convention, addressing world-wide terrorism was a central theme.
And I do not wish to be too snarky but Bill Clinton’s speech concerning his great emotional attachment to the love of his life Hillary was almost too much to bear. Does he have no shame? Does she think Americans did not notice? At least you came away from the Republican convention feeling that Donald Trump’s wife and children are truly committed to him.
Make no mistake about it, Bill Delusion’s failure to endorse Hillary Clinton early on, his attempt to hold his own political forum in Iowa and his sagging poll numbers were the reason he was given a daytime speaking spot at a time when few were in the audience and television coverage was limited. It was a mostly self-inflicted wound for a mayor who is much more about politics than policy.
And my take on Governor Andrew Cuomo is that when it comes to addressing a national convention, he is not his father. In fact, they still speak about his father’s address which was 32 years ago. I doubt anybody was talking about Andrew Cuomo’s speech except to compare it to his father’s address 32 hours later.
The Brooklyn and Queens Conservative Parties honored State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan at a dinner at El Caribe caterers recently. John gave a very relaxed presentation talking about his desire to act as the opposition to the liberal Assembly and governor, but at the same time not be an obstructionist to governing. It is a delicate tightrope.
The event was attended and supported by a number of elected officials from both parties including State Senator Marty Golden (whom I serve as chief of staff), State Senator Simcha Felder, Assemblymember Nicole Mallitotakis, Assemblymember Dov Hikind, Councilmember Eric Ulrich and Conservative Party State Chairperson Mike Long.
An interesting side note involved the fact that Senator Flanagan was the acting governor that night. This was the result of what is a somewhat archaic but clear section of the state Constitution which says when the governor and lieutenant governor are out of state, the senate majority leader acts as governor. The governor and lieutenant governor were at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia most of the week.