Bridging the Gap

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Tonight, as is the case every two years, members of the Kings County Republican County Committee will meet at the Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn’s Windsor Terrace to decide whether the party’s status quo will continue to reign or if the party will take a turn for the better.

Now, if the actions of the voters in this past primary/special election are any indication of the sentiments of Brooklyn Republicans, the desire for genuine improvement over stagnation and failure is the first order of business.  And while the ideological gap between the increasingly younger, anti-“cradle-to-grave” electorate and the party establishment is stark, it is not insurmountable.

Brooklyn Young Republican Club President Glenn Nocera signing into vote for himself and his sister Donna Nocera for the Republican County Committee race in the 44th AD 57th ED . Sept 13, 2011

Brooklyn Young Republican Club President Glenn Nocera signing into vote for himself and his sister Donna Nocera for the Republican County Committee race in the 44th AD 57th ED . Sept 13, 2011

After all, on Tuesday, September 13th, voters showed, once again, that not only are they maintaining an anti-establishment posture, but they are rebuffing hostile attempts by the party establishment to purge Brooklyn of its young, independent Republican reformers.

In the most talked about upset from that day, we know that businessman Republican Bob Turner beat Democrat David Weprin by an impressive margin in the contest to decide who was going to represent the 9th Congressional District, or the so-called “Anthony Weiner” seat.

Weprin, backed by just about every Democratic establishment figure–including the Brooklyn Republican Party’s best buddy, Brooklyn Democratic Chairman Vito Lopez, was clearly recognized as an unqualified supporter of the Obama and Washington Democrats’ agenda.  The people are fed up with their awkwardly executed and catastrophically unsuccessful agenda for years now.  And so, the voters made it resoundingly clear that they were not going to send more of the same to Congress anymore.

The Brooklyn Young Republican Club, having participated in and analyzed Turner’s performance in 2010, knew from the start that he was a solid candidate.  That’s why our organization was the first in Brooklyn to host a fundraiser for Turner’s special election, donating $1,000 in support of his candidacy, and devoting tremendous time and effort in support of his election.

However, while good Young Republicans and young Republican-leaning voters of all affiliations were helping to send one more voice of reason and reform to Washington, the Brooklyn Republican Party establishment dedicated itself, yet again, to its antiquated Republican-eat-Republican agenda.  In fact, key operatives linked to the Turner campaign had been internally bemoaning the severely underwhelming support from the Brooklyn Republican Party leadership throughout the campaign.

That’s because, as usual, resources were diverted instead to intraparty warfare, just like in the 13th Congressional District primary last year.  Fortunately, whenever the current Brooklyn Republican Party establishment undertakes just about any political initiative, they are about as successful as Obama’s Hope and Change agenda.

For instance, Brooklyn Young Republican Club President Glenn P. Nocera was challenged for his county committee seat in the 44th Assembly District of Kensington, Brooklyn by Republican Chairman Craig Eaton and his hack minions. His leadership as a Young Republican activist and reformer apparently warranted that the Republican Party spend a tremendous amount of donor money on hit-piece mailings against fellow Republican Nocera in favor of candidates who didn’t even live within the same district!

As a testament to well over a decade of dedication to Republican principles and promoting its message of limited government, the Republican voters of Glenn’s district sent a clear response of “Back off and shut up!” to the establishment with an astounding vote of 23-1!

Meanwhile, in the establishment’s favorite battleground district, the 49th Assembly District, which consists largely of Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Bath Beach, the establishment yet again failed to silence the independent Republican voices that have repeatedly called out for reform and improvement within our party.  This was despite multiple, vicious, and expensive hit-piece mailings as well as cadres of county minions on the ground.  In response to the establishment’s hate-filled invective against fellow Republicans, 49th AD Republicans broadly supported Lucretia Regina-Potter and running mate Michael Bennette for the State Committee Member/District Leader positions over their establishment-backed opponents.

Establishment figures like Eaton think they wield the power to summarily replace hard-working, known Republican activist leaders with individuals whose only qualification to serve is fealty to the Chairman (and usually under the threat of removal from a patronage job).  Not only, in fact, is his imprimatur a veritable political Do-Not-Resuscitate for most campaigns–at best, but it only goes to show what the priorities are of the Brooklyn Republican Party under its current administration: cartel-style eradication of all voices of reform from within.

Since 2007, the current administration of the party has solely devoted its resources to engaging in political fratricide.  In doing so, they have completely left stranded a public desperately searching for any refuge of integrity and ingenuity.  There are genuine but completely missed opportunities for real leadership and solutions to government’s financial problems, practical solutions for alleviating the burdens on our economy that stifle growth and prosperity, and providing real reforms to the crisis of the debt-saddled young professional trying to get their start that is plaguing our generation.

And yet, tonight, when the members of that truly august body of career poll workers, Board of Elections employees, and superannuated intraparty warlords convene, I regrettably can only expect the status quo to continue for another two years.

In that case, over the next two years, however, I also expect the gap will further deepen and widen between the handful of Republican oligarchs and the growing young electorate that–Republican or not–is siding more and more with policies that favor limited government, greater personal and economic freedom, and intelligent, pragmatic policies and reforms to get us back on track–just about everything the Republican Party in Brooklyn right now is not.

But just like the cases of Turner, Nocera, Regina-Potter and Bennette, the only ones with the power to bridge this gap are you, the young (and preferably Republican) voters of Brooklyn.

As we move forward, we must fight to put the right people in the leadership of the Republican Party and public office, and, more importantly, cultivate leaders amongst ourselves on the right social, economic and political principles.  Through these efforts, we, together, can build the bridges we need to close the gap that separates the public’s will from effective action in order to accomplish finally what those “leaders” who have fallen abysmally short in conviction and integrity cannot.

Jonathan J. Judge is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club.

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