Daniel L. Feldman

Regulars and Reformers in New York City Democratic Politics, with Excursions Elsewhere, in the latter half of the 20th Century

In National Politics, New York State Politics, NYC Politics on January 10, 2011 at 1:57 pm

If you have an interest in local political history, you might like a new direction this blog will take from time to time. Some of that history is likely to be lost forever if I don’t get it down on paper. Some of it I experienced; some of it came to me from people who are now very old or who have passed on. I had the perhaps unusual opportunity to participate in and/or observe local Democratic politics in four of New York City’s five boroughs between the 1950s and the 1990s — Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. For the most part, Republicans did not play a role: reform Democrats fought regular Democrats, or each other, on that turf in those decades.

I intend my approach to be chronological, following the path of my own history: I was born in the Bronx, but since we moved to Belle Harbor, Queens (on the Rockaway peninsula) when I was nine months old, Rockaway politics will take up the first few such posts. College took me to Manhattan, where I was recruited into the West Side reform movement, with forays back to the Bronx, as well as into the 1969 Lindsay mayoral re-election campaign, a brief upstate petition-gathering excursion, and what would be the first of many ventures into Brooklyn politics. Law school took me to Massachusetts, and thus, inevitably, into at least a bit of Massachusetts politics, this time in a very ill-fated presidential campaign, also in Indiana and Florida, more ill-fated presidential campaign work in Queens, a congressional race in Brooklyn, and finally my own first campaign for office in Queens.

My second (also unsuccessful) campaign for office in Queens came a year after graduation from law school. Third time was a charm, but the campaign for office I won was in Brooklyn.  My re-elections were uneventful, but my failed campaigns for District Attorney in 1989 and for Congress in 1998 may make for more interesting reading, as may some of the observations I picked up along the way.

Stevenson-Sparkman 1952 campaign poster

 

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