The Outcome in NY-19 Matters: Elect Antonio Delgado, Reject Hate

Constituents in NY-19 must turn their backs on the hateful, race-baiting campaign of Republican John Faso. Luckily there is a stellar Democrat to vote for.

“I like Delgado very much!” – My mother, 9/7/18

What’s so special about my mother liking Antonio Delgado? After all, a lot of people like him. From the moment he won his crowded primary back on June 26th, Delgado has been in serious contention to win New York’s 19th Congressional District seat held by incumbent Republican John Faso. You don’t get to that point without a certain level of popularity.

What’s special about my mother liking Antonio Delgado is that she – a resident of that swing district – is a lifelong Republican who has always voted for Republican candidates…including for Donald Trump less than 2 years ago. Her support of Trump was not obsessive, but it was enthusiastic. The day after Trump was elected she texted me in disbelief: “Isn’t this exciting?!”

Needless to say, I didn’t share in her excitement, and expressed my anger and dread in reply. And thankfully it didn’t take long for her excitement to wear off. She can no longer refer to Trump without using words like “disgusting”, “embarrassing”, or “sickening”. If someone like my mother can loathe Trump and like Delgado, then voters like my mother are “in play”. And if voters like my mother are “in play”, then #NY19 is “in play”.

John Faso and Donald Trump have a few things in common: They both won their first Federal Elections in 2016 (although Faso was previously a NY State Assemblyman). They are both terrible at their jobs. And they both traffic in racially charged tactics against minorities that they view as political enemies.

Shortly after winning the Democratic Primary, Antonio Delgado and the DCCC released a shocking poll showing Delgado up 7 points over Faso (49%-42%).

Politics 101 teaches us that whenever one candidate releases a seemingly-optimistic internal poll, their opponent does one of two things:

  1. Release their own internal poll showing contradictory numbers so that a narrative doesn’t take hold. OR
  1.   Release nothing because their own polls show the same results…or worse.

The Faso campaign met the DCCC’s polling with telling radio silence.

And less than one week later they broke their “In Case of Emergency” glass, they grabbed their racist dog whistle and blew into it with all the breath they could muster. Dog whistles are supposed to be silent. But everyone heard it loud and clear.

Yes, Antonio Delgado is black. Yes, Antonio Delgado once released a rap album that focused on issues of socioeconomic injustice and – gasp! – used profanities. But Antonio Delgado is also a Harvard-educated Rhodes Scholar who started his own company and worked as an attorney. The GOP conveniently leaves those parts of his biography out.

It was no secret what John Faso and the GOP were attempting to do when they decided to highlight their “concerns” in a District that covers large swaths of rural upstate NY counties and is 90% white. But thankfully their racist tactics were met with swift criticism.  And one attempt to challenge Delgado’s “values” was so ham-fisted that one of its participants was embarrassed into making an immediate apology.

But shame and condemnation didn’t stop them. Instead of backing off, they doubled-down. The Congressional Leadership Fund and the NRCC have continued to “other-ize” Delgado in their desperate and misleading ad campaigns.

Is it working? It’s difficult to say. The only two polls released since then have shown conflicting results. A Siena poll in late August showed John Faso leading by 5 points (45%-40%). A Monmouth poll out in September showed Delgado leading by 3 points (48%-45%). Both polls were within the margin of error. And both, interestingly, showed Faso only getting 45% of the vote, which is not a great ceiling for any incumbent.

But the fact that Faso, the NRCC, and the CLF continue to press this point tells me that their own polling shows these racist tactics having some level of effect, even if it is the only arrow in their quiver. Whether it has enough of an effect is something that we won’t know until Election Day.

In reality, the Republicans are desperate to change the subject from John Faso’s voting record…particularly his cruel vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, after he promised his constituents that he would not jeopardize their coverage.

Faso was criticized harshly for it at the time and it has been a recurring point of attack for Democrats since. Faso’s inaccessibility to his constituents hasn’t helped his case, either. And Delgado has pledged to protect the healthcare of New Yorkers, not jeopardize it.

All signs point to #NY19 as being ripe for the flippin’. It’s just a matter of what takes hold in the minds of its swing residents: Faso’s racist smears or Delgado’s facts.

Which brings me to my point:  If John Faso and the GOP prevail with this type of campaign, we lose more than a House seat! We lose a little piece of the progress we’ve made as a society. If we let racism and cynicism and “other”-ism prevail, we let tolerance and progressivism and our real values lose. But if we fight back and win, those tactics die a little death and become less effective in the long-run.

Help Antonio Delgado win so that we can drive a stake through the heart of racist campaigns. Help Antonio Delgado win so that we can protect healthcare for all Americans. Help Antonio Delgado win so that we can have an effective check on Donald Trump’s Administration.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call my mother.


Author “trumpstaxes” is an anonymous resident of the NY-19 district. Find their tweets about the election on Twitter

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