Readers Write: Blank Slate Media erred in endorsing Suozzi


With the June 23 primary just a few days away, your Democratic readers residing in New York’s 3rd Congressional District have little time left to decide who they want to represent them.

 That being the case, I thought I would take the opportunity to rebut Blank Slate Media’s endorsement of incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, an endorsement clearly written to repay Suozzi for his generous advertising spending over the last several months.

 Firstly, Melanie D’Arrigo, Suozzi’s only viable opponent, is not a “self-described progressive.”  She is a genuine progressive who firmly believes in advancing criminal justice reform, preserving reproductive rights, recognizing healthcare as a human right and taking immediate action to prevent catastrophic climate change.

 As I can’t do justice to her entire platform in the space I have here, I recommend your readers visit and click on “Issues” to get a full rundown of everything she stands for.

Of course, D’Arrigo doesn’t just talk the talk.  She also walks the walk, having spent much of the last year speaking and working with progressive and other grassroots activist groups across Nassau, Suffolk and Queens.  (Having been a progressive activist long before announcing her candidacy, this was more of a continuation of her relationship with the activist community than a start.)

 She doesn’t lecture the members of these groups on what should be important to them.  She listens to and learns from those with perspectives sometimes very different from her own.

 Suozzi’s style, on the other hand, is to waltz in, complain about how primaries are supposedly dominated by extremists and bristle when criticized for his past actions.

 It’s no wonder no progressive group has endorsed Suozzi, while D’Arrigo has been endorsed by Indivisible (both national and state leadership), Brand New Congress, Nassau NOW, Matriarch, the New York Progressive Action Network, New York Communities for Change, Muslims for Progress, the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund, Sunrise Huntington, Moms in Office, Long Island Network for Change, Queens United Independent Progressives, Long Island Activists, Our Progressive Future and Forward Thinking Democracy.

 Your piece mentioned that D’Arrigo helped to elect or re-elect Assemblyman Tony D’Urso, Sen. Anna Kaplan and Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte.  Perhaps you should also have pointed out that, to date, none of those three individuals has endorsed Suozzi.

 It’s worth noting that Kaplan’s state senatorial district encompasses a substantial portion of the 3rd Congressional District, which makes her non-endorsement especially conspicuous.  Of course, that didn’t stop Suozzi from sending out a dishonest mailer, claiming that “all” Democrats in his district supported him.  I guess Suozzi finds a comforting fiction preferable to the truth in this case.

 You also claimed that D’Arrigo decided to enter the race because Suozzi was insufficiently critical of Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh.  D’Arrigo entered the race because Suozzi had enabled Trump and the GOP at every opportunity, sabotaging his own party’s attempts to hold Trump accountable and dressing his complicity up as “bipartisanship.”

Regarding your supposed fear that D’Arrigo could put the seat in danger of being flipped by the GOP, this is absolute nonsense.

The Republican nominee is George Santos.  Santos previously told Blank Slate Media he models himself after extremist U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin and wants to fortify our northern border with Canada.  He also told Ballotpedia that “The Art of the Deal,” the self-promoting book ghostwritten for Trump decades ago, is his favorite book.

You must be joking if you believe Santos has even the slightest chance of victory in this majority Democratic district.

I could go on for pages picking apart your endorsement, but as I said time is short.  Those voting by mail have until June 22 to postmark their absentee ballots, and June 23 is the last day to vote in person (with early voting running through June 21).

 For those who have not yet cast a vote, whether you consider yourself progressive or more of a middle-of-the-road Democrat, I ask you to please consider this.

 Do you want a candidate who shares your core values and will fight tirelessly to defend them?  Do you want a candidate who, instead of ceding more ground to the reactionary GOP, actually takes some ground back?

 If so, please vote for Melanie D’Arrigo as your next congressperson.  You won’t regret it.

 Matthew Zeidman

New Hyde Park

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