New York’s Socialist “Red Wave”

This note from the Lower Hudson Valley DSA came in before the weekend wins cemented the Democratic win of the Senate. At this writing, the House has not been called. Either way, DSA knows it will be a struggle. We welcome all such updates from DSA chapters!—Ed.

In a state with twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans, the latter made some of their most notable election night gains in New York. Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul faced an unnecessarily competitive race with the far-right Lee Zeldin. Maloney was the chair of the Democrat’s Congressional Campaign Committee who spent money to support MAGA candidates in Republican primaries. The GOP made gains at the state level as well, including nearly winning a State Assembly seat in highly Democratic Yonkers district 90 from incumbent Nader Sayegh, whose campaign focused principally on echoing conservative talking points about crime and increasing funding for the police. 

The typical response to Democrats’ failures is to punch left or blame the electorate for not turning out, but—make no mistake—last night’s result is a failure of the New York Democratic Party’s leadership. New York Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs in particular has shown a complete lack of interest in enacting policies that will improve the lives of New York’s working class voters, focusing on fighting DSA rather than the rising right. Their strategy has consisted of: 

  • Doubling down on tough-on-crime rhetoric pushed by lies from corporate media and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, paired with support for massive police budgets
  • Blocking transformative legislation that materially invests in improving the lives of struggling working class people, such as Good Cause Eviction protections and the New York Health Act 
  • Not acting to strengthen abortion rights in the face of the Supreme Court ruling against Roe v. Wade 
  • Dropping the ball on fighting inflation by failing to focus on its root cause—price gouging from corporations looking to increase their profits 
  • Fought to keep progressives and socialists—the very people who would fight for the above—off the ballot 

In other words, the Democratic Party leadership ran exactly the type of campaigns their capitalist donors wanted and in pursuit of their class interests have served to embolden the far-right. Every election we are told that this is the most important election of our lives. We’re told that we have to “vote blue” to “save democracy” from the far right. But we don’t want to just return to a dance between moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans while corporate donors call the tune—we want genuine majority rule in the interest of working people. Real power is built when we have both militant grassroots workers struggling on the ground and socialists in office fighting together for a greater socialist future. In DSA we fight to elect socialist candidates with a bold vision for New York. We also organize workers, tenants, police abolitionists, abortion rights activists and others whether there is an election taking place or not. We need a mass movement to build a socialist future. 

Let’s build that movement together. Join DSA.