Maloney predicts big changes in 2018 elections

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney had some advice for fellow Democrats about reconnecting with voters in the wake of last year’s elections during his interview with the Times Herald-Record editorial board on Tuesday.

Maloney pointed out that he won re-election in November in a district that Donald Trump won, and argued that New York’s 18th District shares some of the same characteristics as places in the U.S. in which Democrat candidates are struggling and in which the voice of an anti-establishment outsider resonated.

“So I live this challenge every day,” Maloney said, “and all I can tell you is I think the most important thing the party can do is show up in a way that’s authentic, and speak from the heart, and let people know that you’re working for their best interest.”

Maloney argued that party labels are becoming less important in American politics than a candidate’s authenticity, and that voters care as much as about about “what’s in your heart” as individual issues.

“That’s where the party needs to move,” Maloney said. “The party needs to move into a relationship with working- and middle-class people who can look at our party and say, those guys are going to do something good for me, and it’s as simple as that.”

He foresees big changes on the horizon, none if it directed by party bosses in Washington. Instead, he said, it’s coming from “flat, organic” movements, the same clashing forces that propelled Donald Trump into the White House and then spawned the grassroots Indivisible movement to fight his agenda after he took office.

“I think you’re going to see millions of individual people come out like you did in the women’s march and a lot of events since, and say, we’re deeply worried about where our country is going, and we want something better than what the president is giving us,” Maloney said. “And out of that you’ll see new leaders and new organizations and new blood, and I’m very excited about it.”

He predicts an “interesting” 2018 election cycle, one that with a lot of energy and turnover. He had gotten a firsthand look at some of that energy the night before, when he spoke to a large, fired-up audience in Kingston about the Republican health bill that their own congressman – Rep. John Faso – helped the House pass in a 217-213 squeaker.

“There may be some twisted metal and some broken glass, so everybody better buckle up,” Maloney said. “Because I think we’re in some interesting times, and the stakes are really high on things like health care where the damage to our communities can be severe unless we get organized and active and show up.”

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    Chris McKenna

    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full

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