Strategic Voting In NYC

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Life is rarely black and white. Do you support the Democratic platform? Maybe the Republican platform? The parties themselves used to stand for something; citizens were once able to rely on them for their broad but normative ideas. On both the Federal and State level, the voter was able to identify and rely on a candidate based on their affiliation to the Democratic or Republican Party. Those days are seemingly gone. As we see, it is no longer just Democrat v. Republican but rather extreme v. moderate Democrat.

Today, the fringe elements of the Democratic Party have gained momentum at the expense of the normative candidates. Both locally and federally, we are seeing popular support and pressure for ideas that were once viewed as antithetical to everything American. Take the recent Queens District Attorney Election as an example: politically experienced Melinda Katz v. relative new-comer Tiffany Caban. One candidate touted very familiar values and ideals for the voter, and the other, quite the contrary. Though Tiffany Caban supported ideas totally opposite the interests of the majority of Queens’ citizens, she came this close to winning.

If you are reading this paper, you most probably do not support very late term abortion. You likely don’t support legalizing prostitution either. So how could you possibly not participate in an election where a candidate for those two agendas had a clear and great chance of winning? Many of us are unaware of the ideas fueling local democratic candidates because we don’t see the terrain shifting, ever so gradually. But the change has arrived; we are in a new reality. If we want things to stay a certain way, we must be proactive. But showing up to the voting is only half the work.

The Orthodox Jewish voting block is facing a voting conundrum. We have historically backed the Democratic Party in New York, but many of us are now considering registering ourselves with the Republican Party. Similarly, new voters in our communities are also registering with the Republican Party at increasing rates. This is because many of us see Democrats in the media espouse views that go against the grain of our beliefs and morals. But it is important to understand that by doing so, we, the Jewish Orthodox voters, are losing strategically.

The Party with the most registered voters in Queens is the Democratic Party. So much so that it is almost guaranteed that a Democrat will win nearly every race in the Borough. The number of registered voters shows that even if half of registered Democrats come out to vote in a race between Democrat and Republican, Democrat voters will still outnumber the total amount of registered Republicans (that’s assuming all Queens Republicans come out to vote!). So the real vote isn’t the general election of republican v. democrat. The most important question is: who will be the democratic candidate for any given office?

The Democratic Party holds a primary vote to decide exactly this. Here is the catch: you can only vote in the important primary election for democratic candidates if you are registered with the Democratic Party. This is why the primary race for Queens District Attorney had so much media attention. If Tiffany Caban would have won the Democratic candidacy in the primary race, she would have a virtually guaranteed win in the ensuing general election for Queens DA. Queens would have had a vocal extreme leftist in a very important position, the face of the community would experience drastic change. If Orthodox Jews decide to register Republican, they have no say in who runs as the Democratic candidate. If the Orthodox community is registered Democrat, they can heavily influence who the Democrat candidate is. It’s a critical distinction which demonstrates that the obvious strategy for the best outcome is to first of all select a moderate Democratic candidate. It’s also important to remember that registering for the Democratic Party doesn’t limit your vote in any General elections of any office; so yes, you will still be able to vote for President Trump.

Regardless of your political preference, the most important step is to register to vote. The Alliance of Bukharian Americans has made that process easy with a website that will walk you through the 5 minute process. As an added bonus, the system will also send you reminders and alerts for all elections, including info regarding your election booth. Please register at this link and share it with your friends and family: ABA.Turbovote.Org 

The above article has been revised to correct errors in the last publication.

 By Adam Suionov,
Director, Alliance of Bukharian Americans