Gotham Gazette Sun, 25 Aug 2019 01:23:53 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb (Webmaster) Takeaways from New York Presidential Primary Voting trump peace

Donald Trump (photo: @realDonaldTrump)

In the 2016 New York presidential primary, Hillary Clinton won the greatest portion of New York City’s Democratic vote share by a better margin than pundits expected, substantially increasing her votes in predominantly black communities from 2008 and also receiving solid support from a number of traditionally white, liberal areas.

For Bernie Sanders, reports said he was trying to emulate the campaign that liberal upstart Zephyr Teachout ran in the 2014 gubernatorial primary, and expand the support she got in many of the small, rural areas that she did well in against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo and Clinton are seen as of the same centrist wing of the Democratic Party. Sanders, who operates to the left of the party, was not extremely successful in expanding on Teachout’s support, but he did do well and even received a majority of votes in some surprising neighborhoods not known as liberal strongholds.

The primary, especially for Democrats, was decided along the lines of candidates’ institutional and grassroots support networks, and demographic voting patterns, both familiar and new. Clinton won very few counties outside of New York City, but in the city, where roughly half of all Democratic voters in the state reside, she won competently in most election districts. In areas of New York City where support for Sanders was strong, the margin of victory was often smaller, whichever candidate won.

democrat city

There are over five million registered Democrats in the heavily blue state of New York, of which 2.76 million live in New York City according to the state Board of Elections. Roughly one-third of them, both state- and city-wide, turned up to the polls to vote on their party’s nominee for President. Secretary Clinton, who beat Senator Sanders with 58% of the state’s Democratic vote, did especially well in more urban areas, winning New York City and Long Island counties, as well as a few suburban counties just north of the city, but lost in almost every rural upstate county.

In the Republican primary, Donald Trump won all but one county statewide, receiving 60% of the 874,572 Republican ballots cast across the state. Of the close to 12 million registered New York voters, 3.2 million could not vote in either primary because of their enrollment status. Only registered Democrats and registered Republicans can vote in New York’s closed primaries, voters not registered in a party or registered with a party other than the two major ones were not eligible to vote.

In New York City, where John Kasich won Manhattan (New York County), the only county in the state that did not go to Trump, the number of Republican voters - 70,000, according to CUNY Graduate Center’s NYC Election Atlas - was nearly three times the GOP turnout of the 2012 primary. Still, close to one-third of the city’s 5,400 election districts saw fewer than five Republican voters at the polls. In almost 500 of them, no Republicans voted.

Clinton’s strongest support came from places with concentrations of middle- and upper-middle class New Yorkers, and in predominantly African-American and Afro-Caribbean neighborhoods, like the north Bronx and southeast Queens. She often received more votes in communities of color than she did in 2008 against now-President Barack Obama, even when the voter turnout was below the city-wide average this time around, according to CUNY.

clinton 08 16

Election maps provided by the WNYC Data News Team, indicate that Clinton’s two best neighborhoods in New York City in terms of the portion of the vote share she received were on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Rugby-Remsen Village in central Brooklyn. East and central Brooklyn are areas that are predominantly African-American and Afro-Caribbean. While the primarily white, middle-class Upper East Side saw above average voter turnout, according to the NYC Election Atlas, the turnout in central Brooklyn was mixed and in east Brooklyn it was below the city-wide average turnout by Democrats per election district. Clinton won in those places by wide margins - at least 2:1 - despite the lower turnout.

The neighborhood where Sanders received the greatest majority of votes was Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where a larger percentage of Democrats showed up to vote than the city-wide average. Although Clinton received a higher number of votes there than she did in the 2008 primary, Sanders still won 63.8% of the vote share - his highest margin.

In Steinway in northwest Queens - another one of Sanders’ best areas by vote share, along with Breezy Point, parts of Bay Ridge, and the South Shore of Staten Island - Clinton received far fewer votes than she did in 2008.

In New York City, many of the places Sanders did well - Greenpoint, Astoria, Bay Ridge - are places that have seen or are beginning to see major demographic changes that come with gentrification. Especially in these areas, “hipsters” have become an emerging demographic of increasing political influence in elections.

“If you think about these as young people,” said David Birdsell, dean of the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, who studies city election trends, “somewhat more artistically inclined, somewhat more involved with gig economies, perhaps less likely to be employed by an organization that provides health insurance, perhaps closer to or still immersed in the experience of paying off college debt - there are lifestyle implications and there are time-of-their-life-cycle implications that suggest a set of experiences that would be consonant with and responsive to the Sanders message.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise was Sanders’ victories along the south shore of Staten Island, where 30,467 of the 119,328 registered Democrats there cast their ballots. Staten Island does not have an influential “hipster” demographic, nor a particularly strong liberal base. When asked about it, Steven Romalewski, director of the CUNY Mapping Service, responded, “Why?...I have no idea...I don’t even want to speculate. It’s just odd.”

In the Republican contest, Trump won 63% of the New York City vote share despite losing Manhattan, where Kasich received 45% of the 25,000 Republican votes. Trump’s best victories in the entire state were on Staten Island where he won 82% of the vote. He also did quite well in many predominantly white, conservatively-inclined communities in Queens, such as Middle Village and Howard Beach.

Statewide, Trump received a lot of voter support in the suburbs of New York, especially Suffolk County on Long Island. He also did well in the partially more-urban Erie County, home to Buffalo, where he had the endorsement of Carl Paladino, the high-profile businessperson who had strong backing from voters in western New York when he ran for Governor in 2010.

In the Democratic primary, Sanders won every upstate county above Orange and Westchester, except Erie, Monroe, and Onondaga, all of which have major cities where Clinton excels.

democrat state

In New York City, Clinton also won large swaths of the northwest Bronx, southeast Queens, and east Brooklyn with over 70% of the vote share, all of which are predominantly African-American or Afro-Caribbean, and all of which saw below average turnout at the polls. In these areas, Clinton received more votes than she did in 2008, sometimes by triple digits, according to the CUNY election study, which is based on unofficial results provided by the city Board of Elections.

When asked why he thought Clinton received greater support from black voters than she had in the last Democratic presidential primary in New York, Romalewski told Gotham Gazette, “I think conventional wisdom is that...she was not running against Barack Obama, a historic African-American candidate, and in 2008 Barack Obama did very well in those areas - the only areas of the city she did not do well in.” It is likely, Romalewski said, that in 2008 there was “a strong connection between black communities and the black candidate. In 2016 that wasn’t the case.”

This, combined with the Clintons’ robust support from urban and black Democrats across the country, Romalewski said, is a plausible explanation of her new successes in those areas of the outer boroughs, even with the decrease in voter turnout. “So that’s one theory and probably the one that people tend to think of first off.”

“When you look at the patterns of where she picked up more votes between 2008 and 2016,” Romalewski said, “it also happened to be where Mayor de Blasio, or candidate de Blasio, in 2013 did well. And not just in predominantly black communities, but also in the Park Slope area and Clinton Hill and along the East River in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, those areas. So it’s possible that de Blasio’s endorsement of Clinton helped prompt more voters in those communities to support Clinton over Sanders.”

The south and central Bronx, largely Puerto Rican and Dominican areas, also saw a landslide Clinton victory with below average turnout.

In addition to being a group that Clinton has historically received strong support from, the active competition with Sanders may have forced her to make further commitments that resonated with Puerto Rican and other Latino voters. “She took a much stronger stand on Puerto Rico, when...she typically wouldn’t speak out against hedge fund people...That’s her crowd,” Theodore Hamm, chair of journalism at St. Joseph’s College and an open Sanders supporter, told Gotham Gazette. “Because Sanders was competing, [Clinton] was also forced to spend a lot more New York City.”

Clinton’s visit to a NYCHA building in East Harlem with City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito just days before the primary, where she promised more funding for affordable housing, is another example of this. Following the visit, said Hamm, she made “commitments that she hadn’t made, that she probably wouldn’t have made without being challenged.”

Hamm believes the effect of the Sanders competition was positive, at least for the politicians embracing Clinton, who wanted to leverage their endorsement. The additional heat brought on by deep Sanders campaigning in the city “allowed Melissa Mark-Viverito and others to sort of step in and say, ‘OK well we’re gonna wholeheartedly support you, but then you gotta take a few stands that we want.’”

The strength of their support networks for both Democratic candidates was fundamental to the outcomes of the primary, even as the nature of their support differed greatly. Clinton owes part of her victory last week to returning, longtime supporters and the networks of politicians and political groups who ushered them to the polls - Clinton was, of course, a Senator from New York for eight years. Many of the places she did best, including her two strongest micro-areas - the Upper East Side and Rugby-Remsen Village - saw a relatively small increase in Democratic registrants who have not voted in a presidential primary before.

Calling the state a Clinton “stronghold,” Hamm said, “Clinton has been around for a while now in New York. She’s got pretty much all the Democratic politicians in her camp. They have their networks and they’ve turned out their voters, a lot of them older.”

While her political machine in New York allowed for a decisive victory last week, what that means for the future is completely unclear, Hamm believes. “I don’t know if she could do this again four years or eight years from now, or if someone who is sort of attaching themselves to the Clinton legacy, and so on, could pull this off. They would really need to get younger voters into the mix,” he said, referring to the fact that Sanders continues to dominate Clinton among young voters.

In the Sanders camp, support came from activist bases and on-the-ground networks. Part of his unexpected success in places like Bay Ridge and southwest Brooklyn is likely due to the strength of grassroots networks there. “I’m sure part of it had to do with the ground game,” said Romalewski. Almost in the next breath, however, he said, “I’m sure part of it had to do with New York City voters in some places being unpredictable.”

“There are definitely some political activist bases” in Bay Ridge, said Hamm on the subject, “Linda Sarsour, for example. Perhaps the Muslim vote was significant there - or helps explain that.” The demographic of voters in Bay Ridge, Hamm added, may also be more inclined to vote for Sanders than Clinton, even without pointed support from leaders like Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. “Hillary actually won most of the low-income neighborhoods in the city, but most of them are predominantly black or Latino...This is a lower-income white and immigrant neighborhood now - Bay Ridge. There is not a large black population.”

But despite the get-out-the-vote efforts in Bay Ridge, neighboring communities in southwest Brooklyn saw turnout below the city-wide average and still went to Sanders. This may partially be explained by the growing number of young people in this area, who express support for Sanders, but many of whom are not registered Democrats.

“It’s so difficult to tell when the turnout is low,” said Birdsell, “and particularly when a neighborhood is in transition, as Bay Ridge clearly is right now - repopulating from an old-line, ethnic community to a relatively young-family, new-hipster neighborhood community.”

The influence of Sanders’ and Clinton’s support networks made central Harlem a closer battle than many would expect of the predominantly black area where Bill Clinton has had an office since the end of his presidency. Voters there went to the polls in greater numbers than other mostly black neighborhoods. In central Harlem, despite the Clinton victory, Sanders received relatively more votes than he did in other predominantly black areas of the city.

According to Romalewski, “part of this probably depends on local efforts, grassroots get-out-the-vote campaigns, local district leaders, that sort of thing.” The proportion of white residents in Harlem is also growing, which may have impacted the strength of Clinton’s support there. While demographic data from the last six years is inconclusive, the number of white residents in Central Harlem South quadrupled between 2000 and 2010, with white residents making up 16% of the population in 2010, according to the Census Bureau. Clinton still received a higher number of votes in central Harlem than she did in 2008.

For Republicans, the contest in Manhattan depended more on the affluent than on low- and moderate-income groups or people of color. Birdsell told Gotham Gazette, “This is sort of the home turf par excellence of silk-stocking Republicans of the old guard, and the corporatist Republicans of the perhaps not-quite-as-old a guard...and certainly not the pitchfork-waving loyalists of the Trump revolution.”

“So the notion that a candidate who presents himself as a more traditional corporatist Republican,” Birdsell continued, “who speaks more politely and talks about positive visions of the economy, even if at the end of the day the policies are, with certain signal exceptions, not strikingly different, that candidate is probably going to do better than someone who, despite being a millionaire and despite being involved in real estate of New York all his life, has hardly behaved like the discreet and genteel upper class that attracted that corner of the GOP.”

republican city

One of the only enclaves of Republican voters that supported Senator Ted Cruz in New York City was in the Orthodox Jewish communities of Brooklyn where he won some votes but no delegates. “He’s the most pro-Israel of all three,” Hamm said. “I don’t know that Kasich is distinct in that...But Trump said he would be a neutral negotiator [regarding Israel], and so if that’s your primary issue...then [Cruz] was the one to go for, right? Because he has been pandering to AIPAC and the Sheldon Adleson crowd.”

Suffolk County, which Trump won with over 72 percent of the vote, is another notable site for Republicans because of the diverse demographic makeup of its conservative voters. It is one of the largest counties by area in the country, ranging from rural to suburban landscapes, with some areas, especially on the north shore, having very high household incomes. Romalewski told Gotham Gazette that he noticed something “interesting” about a week before the primary: The number of students that opted-out of the Common Core tests in Suffolk County towns like Brookhaven and others was very high. “It really struck me. I noted on Twitter would be interesting to compare how well this overlays with Trump’s vote support.”

“I think that’s an indication,” Romalewski went on, “of people fed-up with the system and, to the extent that they’re enrolled Republicans, that means they’ll likely vote for the candidate who says he’s fed-up with the system.”

The surprises that have come out of the New York presidential primary, Romalewski ruminated, are “one reason why we have elections and don’t just rely on polling.” On a broad scale pollsters and pundits may be relatively accurate, he went on, “but people, when they make their decisions, they’re making their own decisions...There are unexpected results that reflect reality and what some New Yorkers are thinking.”

by Ethan Geringer-Sameth, reporter, Gotham Gazette      

Read more by this writer.

Takeaways from New York Presidential Primary Voting Thu, 28 Apr 2016 04:00:00 +0000
As Teddy Roosevelt Did, 2016 Candidates Drag the Supreme Court Into Presidential Politics supreme court

The Supreme Court (Carol Highsmith, via Library of Congress

The Supreme Court is being drawn against its will into the chaotic 2016 presidential campaign.

Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz dislike the court's decisions affirming Obamacare and gay marriage. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernard Sanders object to its Citizens United campaign finance decision. Senate Republicans are threatening to block President Obama's nomination to replace recently deceased justice Antonin Scalia, alleging the appointment would be better left to the next president (a Republican, they hope). Donald Trump was (probably) kidding when he said his sister, Federal Court of Appeals Judge Marianne Trump Barry, would make a credible Supreme Court nominee.

In a recent speech, Chief Justice John Roberts lamented that partisan extremism is damaging the public's perception of the court as an unbiased interpreter of the law that is above politics. People too often accuse the court of taking sides in an issue but all it is doing is objectively judging constitutional merits, he said. "We have no policy views on the matter at all," Roberts insisted.

But dragging the court into presidential politics has a long history.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first presidential candidate to assail the court, during the 1912 contest. TR, president 1901-1909, was attempting to gain the Republican presidential nomination and oust the man who had succeeded him, William H. Taft.

On a speech-making tour in the West in the fall of 1910, he attacked big business. The nation was in the midst of a struggle "between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess."

He lambasted the federal courts for lagging behind the times and criticized them for "a series of negative decisions to create a sphere in which neither nation nor state has effective control."

He cited the 1905 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lochner vs. New York as a prime example. By a vote of 5 to 4, the court had overturned a New York law regulating the hours and working conditions of bakeshop employees on the basis that it violated the provision of the 14th amendment to the Constitution that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." That amendment, passed in 1868, had been intended to protect the civil rights of newly-liberated African-Americans. But the courts had stretched it so that that "liberty of contract" included the right of employers and employees to work for whatever wages and hours both parties agreed to.

The courts had used this broad interpretation of the amendment to strike down a number of state regulatory statutes. TR knew the Lochner case well. As governor of New York, 1899-1901, he had enforced the bakeshop regulations. As president, he had watched the case come up through the New York State court system. In 1904, the State Court of Appeals validated the law in a decision written by its Chief Judge, Alton B. Parker, who later that same year secured the Democratic presidential nomination and ran unsuccessfully against TR. He followed the case in the U.S. Supreme Court the next year and read the decision, which was written by still another New Yorker, Justice Rufus Peckham. But the president made no public comment on it.

Roosevelt, in 1910, however, declared that the Lochner decision had been particularly egregious because it had ignored the problems that the bakeshop law was intended to address and exercised "the negative power of not permitting the abuse to be remedied." The court had demonstrated that it was "against popular rights" by asserting that "men must not be deprived of their 'liberty' to work under unhealthy conditions....Such decisions, arbitrarily and irresponsibly limiting the power of the people are of course fundamentally hostile to every species of real popular government."

Newspaper editorials and political leaders in both parties expressed outrage at the attack on the court.

Roosevelt, undeterred, went on to suggest something even more extreme, allowing voters to recall judges. He advanced a campaign platform filled with liberal proposals, including federal regulation of corporations, a national health service, and insurance for the elderly (similar to Social Security two decades later). His attack on the judiciary seemed menacing and his other proposals were ahead of their time. TR "startled all thoughtful men and women and impressed them with the frightful danger which lies in his political ascendancy," said the New York Times. Roosevelt failed to get the Republican nomination and went on to found a new party, the Progressive Party, but was decisively beaten in the 1912 presidential contest.

The Lochner decision was influential and was often cited by the courts in striking down state and federal regulatory statutes until 1937, when it was in effect repudiated in the decision of West Coast Hotel vs. Parrish.

Supreme Court Justice Rufus Peckham, in his opinion in the 1905 Lochner case, insisted, a little defensively, that "this is not a question of substituting the judgment of the court for that of the legislature." But TR lambasted the court in 1910 for doing just that. John Roberts, at his confirmation hearing to be Chief Justice in 2005, pointedly disagreed with Peckham's assertion a century earlier. Roberts said that the majority in the Lochner decision was "not interpreting the law, they're making the law...substituting their judgment on a policy matter for what the legislature had said."

Roberts was probably right. Theodore Roosevelt would certainly agree.

But Roberts probably shouldn't be surprised, then, that 2016 presidential candidates are criticizing his court, following the precedent set by TR back in 1910.
They believe the court's objectivity has been tarnished.

And, also like TR, they think they see an easy opportunity to score political points.

Dr. Bruce W. Dearstyne's latest book is The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State's History, published in 2015 by SUNY Press.

As Teddy Roosevelt Did, 2016 Candidates Drag the Supreme Court Into Presidential Politics Sun, 06 Mar 2016 21:05:42 +0000
'New York Values' in Historical Perspective ted cruz

Ted Cruz (photo: @SenTedCruz)

Stereotyping New York in political debate
In a Republican presidential debate in January, Senator Ted Cruz tried to score points, saying of Donald Trump, "Donald comes from New York and he represents New York values." Cruz went on to say that "everyone in the country knows exactly what New York values are and I've got to say they're not Iowa values or New Hampshire values." New Yorkers are "socially liberal and pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage and focus on money and the media," he said.

Cruz repeated the message, with variations, in his campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Senator Cruz was using an old political gambit, playing on stereotypes of New York (particularly New York City) as excessively liberal, corrupt, money-grubbing, and out of step with the rest of America.
New Yorkers get their backs up when their city or state is stigmatized or attacked.

After the January debate, Governor Andrew Cuomo retorted that Senator Cruz "doesn't know what New York values are because New York is in many ways the epitome of what formed this nation and what keeps it strong....We do believe in E Pluribus Unum, out of many come one, and his rhetoric is the exact opposite." Several other prominent New Yorkers weighed in, including Donald Trump, who suggested that New York's heroic response to 9/11 revealed its deepest values.

Cruz's comments provoked many other New Yorkers to express their opinions (mostly positive) about their city. The New York Times asked a cross-section of city residents their opinion on what constituted "New York values" a few days after Cruz's attack. Their responses: New Yorkers are diverse, friendly, ambitious, curious, tolerant, competitive, impatient, hustling and determined -- "we keep our heads high, no matter what."

A New York Daily News front page on January 15 put it more directly with a headline of "DROP DEAD, TED."

New Yorkers have seen it before
Cruz is certainly not the first politician to try to cast New York as a place of wanton ways with values at odds with those of the rest of the nation.

Republican attacks on New York Governor Al Smith when he ran unsuccessfully for president in 1928 focused on his Catholic religion, opposition to prohibition, and subservience to the New York City Democratic organization Tammany Hall, all allegedly emblematic of his hometown, New York City. Smith's campaign theme song, "The Sidewalks of New York," and his "New York accent" in campaign speeches confirmed how ingrained New York City's culture and folkways were.

In 1960, conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater expressed a wish that "we could tell New York to kiss our [expletive] and we could really start a conservative party." In 1963, he suggested the nation would be better off if the east coast could be sawed off and floated out to sea. But everyone understood that New York, with its liberal politics, cultural influence and economic power, was his main bugaboo.

The next year, Goldwater won the Republican presidential nomination over New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, whom Goldwater labeled a liberal New York spendthrift. His supporters sniped that Rockefeller was immoral for having divorced his first wife and remarried, something they vaguely insinuated had to do with loose New York morals.

Historical views of "New York values"
Fending off attacks is easier than defining precisely what New York's values are. That's no surprise, given New York's long history, complexity, and our proclivity for vigorous debate among ourselves.

In 1939, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia assailed critics who asserted that his city was "a money mart...a synonym for Wall Street...New Yorkers are impolite." New York is "a warm-hearted and generous community," he insisted. But with a touch of that New York pride bordering on arrogance that can irritate outsiders, the mayor added that his city was so far superior to others that "we could afford to stop for the next twenty years and we would still be slightly ahead of the procession."

Historian Milton Klein wrote in 1978 that New Yorkers could be thought of as "cosmopolitan Americans: energetic...materialistic and brash but also convivial, humane, tolerant and idealistic. That one state alone should be able to encompass in itself so many of the virtues and limitations of the American people is a measure of New York's unique role in the nation's history."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a statement to the 9/11 Commission in 2003, eloquently described his city's cosmopolitan pre-eminence:

To people around the world, New York City embodies what makes this nation great. That's a function of our status as the world's financial capital, driven not only by Wall Street but [also] our international prominence in such fields as broadcasting, the arts, entertainment and medicine. Such is New York's importance that to a great extent, as goes its economy, so goes the country's. If Wall Street is destroyed, Main Street will suffer. Beyond that, New York embraces the intellectual and religious freedom and cultural diversity that makes us truly the world's second home. We are a magnet for the talented and ambitious from every corner of the globe. In short, we embody the strengths of America's freedom.

Governor Mario Cuomo (1983-1995) saw enlightened, progressive public policies as New York's defining trait. He defined "the New York Idea" as "government using its resources to help create private sector growth, then requiring those who benefit from that growth to share some part of it so that hope and opportunity are extended to those who have not been as fortunate."

Andrew Cuomo, the current governor, emphasizes that New Yorkers are exceptionally energetic, innovative, determined, and resilient. "At every difficult moment in our nation's history, New York has emerged as...the progressive leader in the nation," he explained in his inaugural address in 2011. "In New York, we may have big problems, but we confront them with big solutions," he said in his State-of-the State message the next year. He often includes in his speeches a quotation from essayist E.B. White: "New York is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village, the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying the way is up."

Two sets of "New York values" seem to stand out
Of course, historians may differ on what New York's most important values are. But looking back over our history, two sets of values seem to stand out.

One is openness, inclusion, and tolerance. Since colonial times when the Dutch controlled the city, the emphasis has been on diversity, valuing individual differences, letting people alone, and providing opportunity for work, advancement, and getting ahead.

New York has been open, welcoming, accommodating, and supportive of newcomers. Over time, more immigrants have come in through New York than any other city. Our city and state have been at the forefront of social justice campaigns and civil rights reforms. For instance, the NAACP was founded in New York City in 1909 and New York passed the nation's first state civil rights law, in 1945. New York City probably has the most diverse population of any major city in the world.

A second is optimism and resilience. New Yorkers are undeterred by setbacks, springing back from adversity and continuing forward progress. It dates back at least to the origins of the state. The Revolutionary New York provincial congress were rebels-on the run, moving from New York City to White Plains to Fishkill to Kingston ahead of advancing British troops. They finished hastily drafting New York's first state constitution in April 1777.

When the British threatened Kingston, the new government became a government-on-the run, simply dispersing, reassembling later at Poughkeepsie, and keeping the fledgling state intact. The first governor, George Clinton, calmly took the oath of office in August 1777 and then hurried off to lead a battle against the enemy where he barely escaped capture.

New Yorkers keep going and are known for against-the-odds triumphs. For instance, mockery and stonewalling by the power structure inspired New York's great women's rights advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton on to more tenacious campaigning. Denied the right to vote, she defiantly ran for Congress from New York City in 1868, losing but making a point about women's political stature. Jackie Robinson was undeterred by racist taunts and threats and became the first black man to play professional baseball, with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and later an inspirational civil rights leader.

The New York City Fire Department mourned its dead after 9/11 and then got right back to work, creatively revising its mission, policies, and training to meet the new threat of terrorism.

New York City not only survived the attacks but came back more resilient and stronger than ever.

The debate over "New York values" is likely to continue
New York mirrors the nation in its complexity and resists tidy categorization. Its values are hard to pin down but its history is rightly a source of inspiration and pride, with tolerance and resilience at the core.

Activist, writer, and New York City First Lady, Chirlane McCray, refuted Ted Cruz by citing the city's steadfastness in challenging times."That fighting spirit, that gut instinct to join together in times of hardship, that refusal to leave behind the most vulnerable among us -- these are the values that have defined New Yorkers from the very beginning."

As the presidential campaign moves along, we can expect to hear more about "New York values." When we do, we need to keep historical insights and perspectives in mind.

Dr. Bruce W. Dearstyne lives in Guilderland, New York. He is the author of The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State's History, published in 2015 by SUNY Press.

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'New York Values' in Historical Perspective Tue, 16 Feb 2016 01:24:03 +0000
After Iowa: Debates & Voting Dates Until New York cuomo votes elections

Gov. Cuomo votes (photo via The Governor's Office on flickr)

"There's a lot of states ahead," Mayor Bill de Blasio said on MSNBC late Monday night from Iowa, where he spent the weekend campaigning for Hillary Clinton in her bid to become the Democratic nominee and next President of the United States.

And de Blasio is right - there are 49 more states and the District of Columbia to vote before the primary season is over. New York will be the 37th state to hold a vote when April 19 comes around.

As de Blasio spoke, it was still unclear if Clinton or Bernie Sanders had prevailed in the first vote of the primary - Iowa caucus goers split down the middle between the two - with Martin O'Malley garnering a few votes and deciding to suspend his campaign.

On the Republican side, Ted Cruz won, with Donald Trump coming in second and Marco Rubio third.

It is unclear whether there will still be a race on either side of the aisle when voting comes to New York. The Republican field has a lot of winnowing to do and the two remaining Democrats could be in for a long slog - but, April 19 is a long way away.

Next up, New Hampshire. Primary voting there will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Before the New Hampshire primary, though, each party will hold another debate - the Democrats on Thursday, Feb. 4 and the Republicans on Saturday, Feb. 6. The details of the Democratic debate are still being negotiated as it was a late addition to the schedule - the Democrats have been criticized for a limited number of debates and for holding several on weekend nights.

The Clinton and Sanders campaigns have reportedly agreed to add four additional debates to the two that still remain on the original schedule (those are still set for Feb. 11 and March 9). Other than this week's in New Hampshire, the other three have not been given dates.

On the Republican side, there are debates set for Feb. 6, 13, and 26; as well as for March 10. There could always be others added, of course.

As for the votes to take place leading up to New York, 34 states will have held either caucus or primary votes for both major parties, while two states - North Dakota and Kentucky - will have only held their Republican vote, with their Democratic vote coming later in the spring. The calendar is below.

Keep in mind that there are actually four election days in New York this year: presidential primary on April 19, followed by congressional primaries in June, state-level primaries in September, and the November Election Day.

The presidential primary calendar (if no party is noted, both major party votes will occur the same day):

Feb. 9
New Hampshire

Feb. 20
Nevada caucus (D)
South Carolina (R)
Washington caucus (R)

Feb. 23
Nevada caucus (R)

Feb. 27
South Carolina (D)

March 1
Alaska caucus (R)
Colorado caucus
Minnesota caucus
North Dakota caucus (R)
Wyoming caucus (R)

March 5
Kansas caucus
Kentucky caucus (R)
Maine caucus (R)
Nebraska caucus (D)

March 6
Maine caucus (D)

March 8
Hawaii caucus (R)
Idaho (R)

March 15
North Carolina

March 22
Idaho caucus (D)

March 26
Alaska caucus (D)
Hawaii caucus (D)
Washington caucus (D)

April 5

April 9
Wyoming caucus (D)

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette

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After Iowa: Debates & Voting Dates Until New York Tue, 02 Feb 2016 05:49:34 +0000
Amid Federal Brinksmanship, New York City Officials Redouble Support for Planned Parenthood Chirlane PP

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray at a Planned Parenthood rally (photo: @Chirlane) 

In the face of federal debate and brinksmanship over funding for Planned Parenthood, many in New York City have doubled down on support for the women's health care organization.

In the past month, the city has seen the opening of a Planned Parenthood health center in Queens (expanding the organization's presence into all five boroughs), two large rallies during which numerous elected officials championed the importance of Planned Parenthood’s health care services, and one leading Assembly Democrat calling for the state to boost its financial support for the clinics if conservatives in Congress were to cut off the organization's federal funding.

“The attacks against Planned Parenthood, we all know, are attacks against women and, in particular, low-income women and women of color who rely on Planned Parenthood for vital services - medical services that are comprehensive,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said at a large rally in Manhattan Tuesday. The speaker and others rallied in support of Planned Parenthood, repeatedly attacking conservative Republicans for their efforts to defund the organization.

The city government’s strong support for Planned Parenthood, seen at Tuesday’s rally, which featured several elected officials, and in budget dollars that go toward supporting the organization, help cement New York City’s national reputation as a liberal capital.

On Wednesday, Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a temporary spending bill that will keep federal agencies operating through December 11. The threat of a potential shutdown over funding of Planned Parenthood loomed for weeks, spurred by the release of secretly filmed videos this summer which showed Planned Parenthood officials casually discussing the preservation of fetal tissue for medical research.

The Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion group that filmed the videos, claims that they show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue. The videos have prompted an ongoing investigation by Congress into Planned Parenthood’s practice of donating fetal tissue for medical research. A forensic analysis of the videos commissioned by Planned Parenthood found evidence of manipulation, "intentionally deceptive edits, missing footage, and inaccurately transcribed conversations," according to Politico, which obtained a copy of the report.

Four states - Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Utah - have ordered state agencies to cut off federal funding to local Planned Parenthood chapters, leading those branches to file lawsuits. According to the Associated Press, in court documents, the Utah branch said the governor's decision to cut off funding is based solely on unproven allegations that took place in other states, by other arms of the national group.

New York City government sends approximately $850,000 a year to the city’s central Planned Parenthood branch in the forms of various grants, namely for health care services and sex education, according to an official from PPNYC. The city also allocates capital awards to Planned Parenthood each year, which have ranged from $75,000 to $400,000.

Speaking about the services that Planned Parenthood provides for New York City residents, PPNYC CEO Joan Malin told Gotham Gazette, “Roughly 85 percent of our services are preventative care - birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, STI testing, annual exams - we do the full range of reproductive health care services for women and men.”

Malin explained that Planned Parenthood New York’s funding comes from a combination of “private donors, public funding from the city, state, and federal government,” and an endowment, “but for our patient services, we rely overwhelmingly on Medicaid and Title X family-planning grants, which allows us to provide services for anyone who needs our care regardless of their ability to pay. Out of a $44 million budget, $9 million is federal funding. If that were to go away we would be sorely challenged to continue to provide our services."

Mark-Viverito, joined on stage at Tuesday’s “Pink Out NYC” rally by fellow Council Members Helen Rosenthal and Brad Lander, said, "We are proud as Council members to ensure that we direct your taxpayer dollars and invest your taxpayer dollars in Planned Parenthood, to make sure that they are able to provide vital services throughout the City of New York. We expect the federal government to continue to do the same thing."

The rally on Tuesday in lower Manhattan was one of nearly 300 events held in 90 cities across the country in support of Planned Parenthood’s work, organized as negotiations continued in Washington, D.C.

"Congress should be ashamed!" New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray shouted to the crowd of some 500 pink-clad supporters, just hours before it was announced that government funding would be extended until mid-December. "Congress should be ashamed to punish women who have no other health care options. I know firsthand that Planned Parenthood provides excellent services!"

McCray continued, “Planned Parenthood provides services to "2.7 million women, men, and young people....Did you realize that? We need Planned Parenthood and we will not allow the funding to be taken away!"

McCray, Mark-Viverito, Rosenthal, and Lander were joined at the rally by Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and state Senators Daniel Squadron and Liz Krueger.

"Our bodies will not be used as an organizing strategy for the right," Public Advocate James shouted, eliciting cheers from the crowd. "This is nothing more than a distraction from the issues that we care about — a need to educate girls, a need to end income inequality, and a need to end poverty in this country."

James pointed out that the bulk of services Planned Parenthood provides have nothing to do with abortion, despite the national conversation being focused on the abortion issue. "Let me tell you the facts,” James said, “80 percent of Planned Parenthood clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancies. Planned Parenthood provides nearly 400,000 pap smears, and 500,000 breast exams every year. These tests detect life-threatening cancers. Planned Parenthood provides nearly 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections and diseases, and Planned Parenthood educates and provides outreach to 1.5 million young people."

On Thursday, Council Member Laurie Cumbo, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Women’s Issues, emailed Gotham Gazette to call Planned Parenthood of New York City a long-time “staunch advocate, educator, and provider of reproductive health care to 50,000 patients annually.” PPNYC “has received funding from the New York City Council to expand services to support family planning, curb teen pregnancy and STDs through education.”

When asked what might happen next for Planned Parenthood, even with a temporary compromise in Washington, PPNYC CEO Malin replied, "This issue is going to remain in the public discussion, unfortunately. As all of our speakers said, there are so many issues that we need to be talking about - greater access to health care, immigrant reform, Black Lives Matter - there's so many issues we need to be talking about. Focusing on reproductive health care is important, but the way [opponents are] talking about it is a distraction. I would say that that distraction is going to continue throughout this election, and Republicans are going to look for ways to keep this issue at the forefront."

Not all Republicans are looking to keep the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood in the spotlight, however. Republican strategist and president of Somm Consulting, Evan Siegfried, told Gotham Gazette, “Until we know what the facts are, the calls to defund are premature.”

Congressional investigation is ongoing, and as analysis of the incendiary videos showed the footage had been drastically altered, Planned Parenthood Federation of America CEO Cecile Richards testified before Congress just this Tuesday. Richards defended the $450 million in federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood, explaining that 87 percent of it comes from Medicaid and Title X family planning monies. “We, like other Medicaid providers, we are reimbursed directly for services provided,” she said.

“No federal funds pay for abortion services, except in the very limited circumstances allowed by law. These are when the woman has been raped, has been the victim of incest, or when her life is endangered,” Richards explained (abortions account for just three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services nationally, according to the organization’s most recent report).

Hard-line conservatives like Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz are committed to defunding Planned Parenthood to the point that they would rather plot to shut down the government than allow the organization to continue its work through federal funding.

Cruz recently decried the state of his divided party, saying that the more socially liberal Republicans, specifically the “New York billionaire” donors who insist candidates are pro-choice, hate the base and hold the party back from really fighting on key social issues. It’s part of the intra-Republican conflict that led to House Speaker John Boehner’s recent resignation announcement.

Speaking anonymously with Gotham Gazette, New York Republicans have indeed expressed frustration with the far right wing of their party, with one saying it is “on a crazy quest that will kill [Republicans] with the swing voters in 2016.”

by Meg O'Connor, Gotham Gazette

Amid Federal Brinksmanship, New York City Officials Redouble Support for Planned Parenthood Thu, 01 Oct 2015 22:24:31 +0000