By Arthur Z. Schwartz
On August 23rd residents of Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca, Brooklyn Heights, and Park Slope went to bed being told that a political neophyte named Dan Goldman had won the Democratic nomination for the new 10th Congressional District, which united our neighborhoods. According to the news, he won with 26% of the vote, beating five other candidates who split the rest. One Yuh Line Niou, a Lower East Side Assembly member who had been the victim of multiple hate mailings sent out by an entity calling itself the “NY Progressive PAC,” came in second with 25%. The pundits laughed at the 74% of us who voted for someone else and announced that we should get used to having Dan Goldman as our Congressperson for the next 40 years.
But do most of us want Dan Goldman? Apparently not, since 74% of us voted for someone else. If he takes office he will be the richest member of Congress, worth between $250 and 300 million. He has vast holdings in pharmaceutical stocks, and opposes various efforts to provide medical insurance for all, as proposed in the Medicare for All Act. He owns lots of stock in gun manufacturers, so who knows where he stands on that. He opposes the Green New Deal and concentrated efforts to attack climate change and develop new sectors of the economy around renewable energy sources. He waffles on abortion rights for women. He has never held office, never been active in any community or larger political struggle, and claims that since he was an Assistant US Attorney representing the Democrats during their first impeachment effort aimed at Trump, he is the man who will protect us all. And, then there is the $4 million of his own money that he spent on his campaign.
As we go to press, there is a good chance that we will have a run-off in November. Yuh Line Niou has been endorsed by the Working Families Party, and may run in November on their line. Is winning on the WFP an impossibility? Letitia James won her first election to the City Council running as the WFP line against a Democrat. Same with Jumaane Williams. Yuh Line came second because she had 1000 volunteers working on her campaign. She spent one-tenth of what Goldman spent and nearly got as many votes. She is beloved by her constituents.
Yuh Line was threatening enough, that the right-wing PAC which used the New York Progressive name, spent a half-million dollars attacking her, calling her an anti-Semite, anti-tenant, anti-park, and lots more. I have known Yuh Line for years, and she is a fierce fighter against anti-Semitic attacks, was one of the few politicians who stood up to save East River Park, and was a prime sponsor of bills to protect tenants over the last eight years.
No one should be able to win a seat in Congress with 26% of the vote. No one should be allowed to buy his way into Congress, and look the other way when hate mail is sent out by some mysterious PAC attacking an opponent, most especially a Chinese American woman in a district which is largely white. And if Yuh-Line runs against Goldman, the majority will get to make the decision.
To my friends at the Village Independent Democrats: if there is a Niou-Goldman race, you can, under your rules, abandon your endorsement of Goldman, which caused the founders of VID to turn in their graves. When you chose Goldman, you chose the only white male in the race, and the only one who was part of the one-tenth of the 1%. You were the only political club in the District who endorsed him, and your female district leader was the only district leader who endorsed him. It remains a shameful decision.
Arthur Schwartz is the Male Democratic District Leader for Greenwich Village, and Political Director of the NY Progressive Action Network