Senator Jeff Klein and the IDC Didn’t Fall for Reverend Al Sharpton’s Bluff

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York
Tel. 718-991-3161

You should know that in the past General Election, the people of the State of New York elected 33 Democrats to serve in the 63-Member State Senate.  This should have constituted a Democratic Majority in the New York State Senate Leadership.

You should also know that 5 of those Democrats, led and coordinated by Senator Jeff Klein, coordinated a coup with the Republican Senate Conference, preventing the Democrats from being in power – even though the people of the State of New York, in a free and democratic election, chose otherwise.

After the General Election, there were no labor leaders, no unions, no political leaders, no Governor Andrew Cuomo, and no community activists opposing the IDC breakaway from the Senate Democratic Majority.   You didn’t hear the voices of any of those leaders protesting, demanding, pressuring or actively working to bring those 5 Senators members back into the fold.  On the contrary, they all were praised and called “smart.”

Later, when the IDC Members decided to form a Coalition with the Republicans, Reverend Al Sharpton initially coordinated a meeting to be held on November 10th for minority leaders to discuss the future of the State Senate.  That was planned before all final deals of the IDC-coup were set and there were only rumors that 5 Independent Democratic Senators would form a coalition, NOT with the Democrats but with the Republicans.  Reverend Sharpton announced that his November meeting was to honor the votes and the will of New York’s voters who elected the majority of Democrats to serve in the Senate, and to pressure the 5 Independent Senators (and newly-elected Simcha Felder) to side with the Democratic party and not the Republicans.  On the eve of that meeting, Reverend Sharpton cancelled it, saying that it would be re-scheduled to a later date, allowing the IDC to gain momentum and solidify with no disruption and no interference.

You should know that when the deal went through, the Democrats lost their power to become the Senate Majority, and Senator Jeff Klein made his arrangements with Republican Senator Dean Skelos for them to take over the Majority of the Senate.

One month after his original plan to meet and after IDC had already joined with the Republicans, Reverend Sharpton called for another meeting, which was held on December 8th at the National Action Network headquarters.  With all of the cameras and all of the leaders and the guests and all of the fanfare, Reverend Sharpton “blasted” the coup, promising to actively campaign against and picket Senator Jeff Klein’s office and the offices of the other 4 Senators who did not respect the will of the voters – who elected Democrats.

After all of these announcements and pronouncements and all of the press coverage, everyone thought that Senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Valesky, David Carlucci, and Malcolm Smith (the only African American in the group) would tremble because Reverend Al Sharpton had taken a stand.  Everyone thought that all of these 5 Senators would run back into the fold if for nothing else, out of fear that Reverend Al Sharpton would picket their offices and protest against them with the Black and Hispanic community who voted for Democrats to lead.

Surprise, surprise … Hat tip to Senator Jeff Klein and to the other 4 Independent Senators.  No one moved, no one paid attention, and no one cared – it was as if no one even heard Reverend Al Sharpton.  They all ignored Reverend Al Sharpton’s pressure and threats.  It seems Reverend Al Sharpton has come to realize that there’s not a thing in the world he can do, because as of today, many weeks later, the Democratic leadership no longer exists and power is being shared with the Senate Republicans instead of the Senate Democrats.  There has not been one comment from Reverend Al Sharpton, not one rally or demonstration by Reverend Al Sharpton against the 5 Senators who defected from the Senate Democratic Majority. There has not been one labor demonstration, and not even one protest by any of the great Democratic community leaders in New York against this atrocity.

By all indications, they have given up and quietly accepted the shift in power away from the Democratic Party and toward the Republican Party. The only lonely voice crying out in the wilderness appears to be mine.

You also should know that this past weekend, when we celebrated the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and as our Nation prepared for President Obama’s Inaugural Address, Governor Andrew Cuomo – the master mind of the New York State Senate coup – made a last-minute visit to Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Rally in Harlem.  There, the two leaders had a chance to praise each other for their accomplishments.  People have been asking me if this was an attempt by the Governor to calm Reverend Al Sharpton down and make him forget about his promise to demonstrate in front of the offices of New York State Senate Legislators who betrayed the Democratic Party.  Hmmm …  What would Dr. Martin Luther King have said about that, after he fought so hard to take us from the back of the bus?

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a few questions for all of those New York’s great leaders:  Have you given up? Where are the demonstrations? Where are all of the real leaders of the Democratic Party?  Please let me know if we all should accept the hard and painful reality that Senator Jeff Klein and the IDC really beat Reverend Al Sharpton’s bluff, and from now on, every Democrat Senator in the New York State Senate has to produce votes for the IDC and Republican while keeping Senator Dean Skelos and the Republicans in the Majority.  Please let me know if we have to abdicate to the IDC’s coup and live under their terms.

This is Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

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