The country is falling apart, and we need people like Adam Schleifer, a candidate in NY-17’s upcoming Democratic primary, to fix it.
Four years ago, as I watched the electoral map turn red, my stomach turned into a pit. My dread was a broad lament for America: our national character was now laid bare and our reward was Donald Trump. Yet, the morning after election night, the sun rose once again—just as it has risen every day since. After a few months, my existential fear resigned itself to a background hum, occasionally shouting a protest at the worst of Trump’s injuries and usurpations.
And then it exploded.
On Monday, June 1st, 2020, Trump gave a speech. Addressing a nation in mourning, he proselytized on his own delusions of grandeur, swaggering as our “president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters” while slithering out of responsibility’s way. His words appealed to the basest notions of American patriotism while bastardizing the basis of American freedom. Then, he went to church.
On his walk from the podium to the altar, Trump demonstrated his disdain for the peaceful protests he had lauded; his contempt for the constitution he had weaponized. Flaunting his impunity from constitutional checks and balances, he incited the Justice Department to clear protestors in his way. And upon arriving on sacred ground, he adopted a façade of righteousness in direct contradiction to the book he held in his hand.
Last Monday’s pageant of self-indulgence made me want to vomit, and the following week has been no consolation. Trump has doubled down on an unrelenting barrage of lies to buffer the national anger following Monday’s stunt, and most Republican legislators have slid into line. The absolute necessity of defeating Trump in November has never been more lucid, the stakes never so high. But with the nation so divided—and the Republican party so corrupted—we cannot forget about what comes next.
The Democratic Party has a problem, and it took center stage three weeks ago when the house debated H.R. 6800, a.k.a. The Heroes Act. Sponsored by Nita Lowey, H.R. 6800’s bold effort to support the wavering US economy passed a House vote almost entirely along party lines—with a key exception. Nine members of the House Progressive Caucus abstained, and one of its Vice-Chairs, Pramila Jayapal, voted “Nay.” Lowey’s bill was the Democrats’ chance to rise up and meet the moment, but we came up short.
I’m not saying the bill is perfect, but in the Trump era, idealism on the hill is akin to brinkmanship with our democracy. The Democrats’ discord while battling a monolithic Republican party will embolden Trump if he is re-elected and inhibit governance if he is defeated. To achieve meaningful change, we must give the party a clear mandate in the upcoming elections. Using our votes, we must reward candidates seeking unity, punish those embracing lazy dichotomies, and recognize those suited to take on Trump’s cronyism. In NY-17, that candidate is Adam Schleifer.
Adam is the rare candidate who is truly dedicated to the right answer. No matter the question, I’m always stunned by his deep understanding of the problem before him and his diligent approach to solutions. He forgoes easy political points to make the necessary ones, yet still acknowledges the values in the views he disagrees with. Rather than steep in populist punditry, his political platform pursues positivity and progress. It is but one sign of Adam’s belief in everybody’s right to pursue their own American dream, and in bringing people together as the only viable method of change.
Of course, that alone isn’t enough. Even more than soaring rhetoric, we need politicians who understand the system well enough to combat those who exploit it—especially now that those people control the executive branch. Few fit the bill, but Adam’s entire career is a defiant battle-cry against the insatiable greed of the powerful. He stopped MoneyMutual from profiting off the desperate in New York State. He cracked down on ponzi schemers who assumed their money would protect them from scrutiny. He helped put Felicity Huffman and her fellow college admissions conspirators behind bars. He has faced the scourge of injustice in court; now, he should face its figurehead, Trump, in Washington.
Our voices must be unrelenting on November 3rd. But to ensure the brightest dawn on November 4th, send Adam Schleifer to congress.