In May, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg visited LaGuardia Community College for a “fireside chat” with Congressman Gregory Meeks, who also happens to chair the Queens Democratic Party.
In October, Vermont Senator and Brooklyn native Bernie Sanders headlined a massive rally in Long Island City. More than 25,000 people flocked to Queensbridge Park to see not only Sanders, but also Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed him.
While former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren made their presence known in other parts of the city.
The 2020 Democratic primary for president is shaping up to be a close contest, which is exactly why the Queens and Brooklyn Democratic Parties should not endorse in the race.
Over the weekend, activists and some elected officials sounded the alarm when they received a letter about a district leader meeting on Monday morning. Though no agenda was set, they were informed the Queens county organization may endorse in the 2020 election.
In response, a group of two dozen Democratic Party reformers released a statement criticizing the county organization’s habit of endorsing in primary races.
“It is our position that this practice should be abolished,” they wrote. “Primary Elections must be conducted in a transparent and fair manner without the endorsement of candidates.”
We wholeheartedly agree. While the Queens or Brooklyn Democratic Party can certainly promote Democratic candidates, they should not take sides in a race that must be left up to the voters.
Whether it’s for the president of the United States or borough president, party leaders should do their best to inform voters, but not sway them toward any particular candidate.
At a time when voters are rejecting machine politics, the Democratic Party should heed the call for reform or risk losing more influence.