The Case Against Endorsing Nixon/Williams

By Justin C

I’ve given money to both Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams. I’ll be voting for them on September 13th but I don’t think NYC-DSA should endorse them. I’m not opposed for reasons like ideological purity, perceived opportunism, or any grievances against the Democratic Party or electoral politics . Cynthia Nixon’s newfound democratic socialism is but a year and half younger than mine. I recognize what can be gained from knocking off Cuomo and putting another dent in New York machine politics. I donate to our PAC on a recurring basis. My concern is I’m not sure we’re there yet.

The CLC  won’t vote on this endorsement until the end of July. At that point we’ll have a month and a half until the primary. Despite this timeline, we have yet to see a plan for a DSA field operation in this race. I imagine something will materialize between now and then but given the time and investment we’ve put into our electoral campaigns to this day, the lack of a plan at the eleventh hour does little to inspire confidence – even if something pops up at 11:10. I’ve read the proposal by supporters of the endorsement for joint Salazar/Nixon/Williams canvasses in State Senate District 18. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to how that wins or makes a difference in a statewide race.

We’re a people-powered organization. NYC-DSA’s endorsement of a candidate, up until now, has meant we put that people-power to work with our own field operation and daily volunteer canvasses. Granted, we have yet to enter a statewide race and our electoral strategy explicitly says it’s better suited for smaller races. We’re in new territory, partially because we were a significant partner in a coalition that helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley and people want a bit of what we have. More specifically, they want the labor we’ll give them with our endorsement. What is the shape of that labor when the constituency we need to persuade is not a city council, state senate, or congressional district but the whole city? What effect will these campaigns have on all our preexisting work? Julia Salazar’s campaign will likely be protected but I fear we will draw volunteer capacity away from abolishing I.C.E., tenant organizing, healthcare work, and the various issue campaigns underway. The fact that we will be working on this as part of a coalition is not new for us: we were ⅕ of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s field operation, and Jabari had the support of us and the Green Party. But what will this citywide coalition operation look like? Again, haven’t seen a plan.

I want the New York Health Act and universal rent control. I want to see Cuomo out of the governor’s mansion and weeping over the crumbled remains of his chances of becoming president. I also want DSA and NYC-DSA to continue to grow and attract more and more people to socialist politics. I recognize the uniqueness of this political moment. And yet, it feels like we’re chasing the high of AOC’s win without a real plan, to the detriment of all of the work we’ve already committed to do.