Dear Editor:

 Orthodox New Yorkers should immediately change their party registration to Democrat. No, this is not a misprint. You read this right. Today, the big political battle in New York is no longer between Democrats and Republicans. Anyone who is paying attention knows it is the fight between the moderate and the progressive wings of the Democratic Party.

Unfortunately, many members of our community have precluded themselves from having an impact on this political civil war, because they have registered as Republicans and are self-disqualifying from participating in the Democratic primary. 

 Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro is well known for espousing the idea that “facts don’t care about your feelings.” Here are some cold hard facts: New York is a Democratic town. Every single statewide and citywide elected official is a Democrat, both houses of the State Legislature are controlled by Democrats, as is NYC’s entire Congressional delegation.  These facts are indisputable; don’t shoot the messenger.

More facts: In New York City, Democrats have a ten-to-one enrollment edge over Republicans, and in Brooklyn it’s an overwhelming and insurmountable 15-to-one ratio. That means that in almost every local race, the Democratic primary winner determines the election. If Orthodox voters sit out the primary, they will have no ability to impact the political process or choose its own representatives. This is not a winning strategy.

Now for the feelings part. It is surely true that today’s far-left-leaning Democratic Party does not necessarily reflect the religious community’s values. Many people do not want to identify as a Democrat. I get it. What must be clear, though, is that political party registration does not define us. It is simply a practical tool that permits us to have a voice in the political process – to ensure that our issues are dealt with, our concerns are addressed, and our priorities are advanced.

I’m not here to argue that you ought to support Democrats over Republicans. You can always vote for any candidate in the General Election, no matter which party you are registered with. But we need to ensure that the more moderate Democrats have support within their party and are not driven out by the radicals. There is no doubt that the far-left Bernie Sanders/AOC wing of the Democratic Party is gaining strength. Recent victories and near-wins have emboldened them, and every moderate/centrist Democrat is now in their sights. Longtime Congressional friends like Elliot Engel, Grace Meng, as well as Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal, Councilman Chaim Deutsch, and many others are watching this all unfold with the same concerns we have.  The next NYC Mayoral race is fast approaching. The political fight for our future in New York is upon us. If all the important action is taking place in the Democratic primaries, we need to play in that game.‎ Friday, February 14, is the deadline to change party affiliation. Do not delay. The fact is, your community needs you now more than ever! We need to be strategic more than ideological to protect ourselves. I strongly urge my fellow New Yorkers to register as Democrats.

Chaskel Bennett
Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition

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