Post-primary Comment: Right Wing Populism On The Move

The forces of reaction are on the move. Republican candidate for Governor of NY Carl Paladino bumped Rick Lazio from the primaries to become the candidate of choice. Now is the time to realize that far right populism is really nothing to snicker at. Instead of what the conventional media is saying, this definitely means something in the larger political scheme of things. The Paladino campaign has tapped into a well of anger in the conservative electorate that was not represented by Lazio. The fact that someone who openly advocates the housing of welfare recipients in “dormitories” as a way of socially redeeming them can win a primary, shows that the political landscape has shifted.

However, its important to note the factors present here. One, there is New York City, and then there is New York State. While there is a progressive base in the city, many of the areas upstate are Republican strongholds. Secondly, truth be told, there always has been tension between upstate and downstate NY in terms of where the state’s resources go. NYC is often regarded as a “drain” on Albany in certain circles. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays itself out in the weeks to come.

Regardless of what happens in November, its important to know what is acceptable discourse on the political scene. When we have gubernatorial candidates talking about “bringing a baseball bat” to Albany, one has to wonder where all that anger is coming from, and who is the eventual target of that sort of ire.

End thought question:

I am still wondering what role Guiliani’s endorsement of Lazio played in this defeat. Was it the “Kiss of Death” in your opinion?

Marc W. Polite

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