In more recent years, the Brooklyn Democratic Party has been limiting the ability of progressive wing and the rising generation of Brooklyn Young Democrats to make democracy more transparent and to bring everyone into the political process. It goes directly against the attempts by the younger generation to define politics for what they think it is and what it should transition to be in the future. The Brooklyn Democratic Party has been replicating some of Albany’s dirty politics in it’s own push back against greater interest in politics by those who have been historically left out and fighting to keep a reign on gatekeeping politics for their own benefit. We have seen this play out in multiple instances.
With the attacks against voting last fall, in the lead up to the 2020 election and the attempts of Republicans in legislatures across the country to prevent people from voting, this anti-democratic stance that the Brooklyn Democrats have toward their constituents, just doesn’t spell right. Instead of keeping and expanding on the excitement from young voters that have shown up to get involved, the Democrats are making a potentially fatal mistake from keeping people out of the political process.
Here is some background on what is happening in the Brooklyn Democratic Party and their refusal to re-charter the Brooklyn Young Democrats:
- The Brooklyn Young Democrats have demanded that Governor Cuomo to resign, following the stories of former [and in some cases current staff] about Cuomo’s sexual harassment of female staff. He remains in office, even has his administration is grappling with multiple policy failures.
- Brooklyn Young Democrats have been active in calling off challenges to petition signatures when the COVID-19 crisis hit last year, Brooklyn Democratic Party leaders booted candidates off the ballot for not gathering enough signatures during the pandemic [at it’s most deadly juncture], BYD actively supported -now AM- Emily Gallagher during her bid against incumbent Joe Lentol -an establishment presence in Brooklyn politics- and as recent as last October, a judge ruled that the Brooklyn Democratic Party violated the law by canceling the County Committee meeting.
Here are some of the progressive victories that BYD has managed to achieve:
- Some of the victories that Brooklyn Young Democrats have accomplished are: Brooklyn Young Democrats knocked on about 2,000 doors for State Sen. Zellnor Myrie in 2018, when he beat incumbent Jesse Hamilton in central Brooklyn.
- The Young Democrats voted to censure Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the midst of his twin scandals over sexual harassment allegations and his handling of nursing home deaths. Bichotte-Hermelyn, meanwhile, joined 20 Albany lawmakers in a letter urging that state Attorney General Letitia James be allowed to complete the investigation she’s overseeing before any action is taken.
- Bichotte-Hermelyn also got blowback from some in the party after backing Civil Court Judge Dweynie Paul — who was sued for allegedly cheating a home care worker of wages — for Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court.
- After the Young Democrats came out against the party publicly in petitioning, Das and another member were removed from the ballot as judicial delegates. The pair believe that marked retaliation by Bichotte-Hermelyn.
Given that there are wide differences between the more establishment [and arguably anti-democratic ] Brooklyn Democratic Party and it’s younger and more progressive civically minded Brooklyn Young Democrats, it’s a generational war over an inevitable and different moment in history, where young people are trying to find their political voice/home and are being obstructed by Democrats who don’t align with that vision. It also goes against the national Democratic Party in a sense, because there isn’t any interest in ‘expanding the tent’ and bringing people with all ideas into the fold [as they claim the intent is for building out the base].
President of the Brooklyn Young Democrats, Christina Das in a statement to Kaur Republic had to say:
As reported by The City:
The group initiated its rechartering process in late January. But instead of an immediate sign-off from Bichotte-Hermelyn, the party’s deputy director requested a detailed account of endorsements, membership and finances over the past two years.
This friction between the Kings County Democratic Party has been consistent with the attitude that outsiders are not welcome that also reigns within the Queens Democratic Party, and an overarching problem with established county machines that are hostile to a new generation trying to find it’s footing.
It is without a doubt that in passing the baton down to the younger generation and empowering them to have a bigger role in their Democratic parties, the conflict that will continually arise, is whether or not the Democratic Party will remain a open and welcoming space, or if it membership within it comes with terms and conditions.
Follow the Brooklyn Young Democrats on social media to get the current updates on what is happening.
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