We all know the problem. Our politics are broken. We have become more divided than ever. We have become too tribal in our politics. You are either Democrat or Republican, Red State or Blue State, Pro-Trump or part of the Resistance. Civil discourse is gone. Compromise is viewed as weakness. Common cause has given way to self-interest.
Like many of you, I am looking for a better way. A call to our “higher angels” as Abraham Lincoln once said. For those of you who have read my blog, you know I have left the Republican Party and have gone independent. In the last Presidential election my vote was for “Neither”. I have been in the wilderness looking for a new path. (How is that for hyper-linking to my past blogs? Read them later if you want, but let’s continue on).
Here in New York, we have an Election Day coming soon and we don’t have much of a choice. But we do have an opportunity to send a message.
Andrew Cuomo came to office on the promise on cleaning up corruption and fighting the special interests. Instead Cuomo shut down the Moreland Commission that was looking into corruption and has amassed a $100 million war chest from special interests. Do you think people gave Andrew Cuomo all that money because he is a nice guy? It is back to business as usual in Albany. It is as corrupt as ever and the status quo is “pay to play”. Don’t take my word for it, USA Today just did a big piece on our Governor – the $100 Million Man.
Predictably, the Cuomo campaign millions have painted the Republican candidate, Marc Molinaro, as a mini-Trump, which by the way he is not, but in the age of anti-Trump in New York being the “new black”, that is enough to scare money away from his campaign and prevent this from being an election about the issues.
So Cuomo will sail to re-election. You don’t have much of a choice – but you can send a message that things have to change.
Recently, I attended a gathering of some people looking to make a difference – to make a real change – to start a real third party. A Democratic Mayor and a Republican Mayor have joined together to run on a new third party line – the Serve America Party or SAM. No red party or blue party, just public servants looking to solve problems and serve the people.
Stephanie Miner was the two term Mayor of Syracuse. She was an effective mayor in a city with challenges. She was also a rising star in the Democratic Party in New York State and the one time Chair of the Democratic Party. But Stephanie knew something was wrong with the politics in our state. As she describes it, “It was time to audaciously step away from politics as usual”. Stephanie decided to run as an independent under the SAM party banner.
Mike Volpe is the two term Mayor of Pelham. Mike works in the City by day as a labor lawyer and serves his village in his free time as the Mayor. Mike takes no salary as the Mayor of his village returning his salary to the betterment of his community. He was elected as a Republican as Mayor of the Village of Pelham but is running for Lieutenant Governor with Stephanie Miner as part of the Serve America Movement (SAM).
As they did as mayors, Stephanie Miner and Mike Volpe are looking to bring people together to solve real problems in real peoples lives – addressing things like infrastructure, reforms in education, and fixing the MTA so we can get to work on time. You can find out more about Stephanie Miner, Mike Volpe, SAM and their campaign for New York at Miner for NY.
Stephanie and Mike might not have all the answers but they are willing to work across the aisle to save the middle class in New York. Over a million people have fled New York in the past eight years. Our middle class is shrinking. It is tough to make it here. Something has to change. The chance at the American Dream that brought people to New York through Ellis Island is getting tougher to realize in the Empire State. People are packing up to pursue their dreams in other states. “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”. “Anywhere” is starting to look pretty good.
Some may say “you are throwing your vote away”. You are not throwing your vote away. You will send a message. If SAM receives 50,000 votes statewide, this new, non-partisan 3rd Party will be on the ballot for the next 4 years. Maybe then Democrats and Republicans might be pushed to the middle by SAM and start to compromise – start to focus on working together to solve problems – or risk losing to the those who will.
I would argue that voting for anyone other than the SAM candidates is throwing your vote away. If Cuomo wins big, no lessons are learned. “Pay to Play” goes unchecked. Corruption is accepted with a collective shrug.
On Election Day, vote for change. Send a message to the leaders of both political parties and vote for SAM – the Serve America Movement. It will not likely change the result, but you can make a statement that it is time for a change by voting for SAM.
By the way, the powers that be in both political parties made it difficult to find SAM, Stephanie Miner and Mike Volpe on the ballot – they are way on the bottom. Go down and vote for them there. Fair access to the ballot is one of their issues – it is important for our democracy.