To the editor:
This month, Matt Castelli rolled out the Moderate Party platform. The party’s unnunaced comparison of the extreme right and extreme left is divorced from the reality of local and national politics, and it’s a mediocre electoral strategy.
In Saranac Lake, where Castelli held a town hall this month, the extreme right consists of COVID conspiracy theorists and insurrectionist sympathizers.
According to an analysis by The Guardian, some of our North Country neighbors were Three Percenters, a far-right, anti-government militia.
The extreme left of Saranac Lake organized Black Lives Matter demonstrations and were the most vocal opponents of the first crisis pregnancy center inside the Adirondack Park.
Nationally, the extreme right are fascist bigots working to strip people of their fundamental human rights while attempting to violently overthrow elections. The extreme left are attempting to expand what we understand as fundamental human rights to include things like housing and healthcare.
Compare the views of two candidates who could reasonably be considered extreme right and extreme left: Doug Mastriano and Amane Badhasso.
Mastriano is the Republican candidate for governor in Pennslyvania. He’s a Christian nationalist who doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state. He has promoted a wide range of conspiracy theories, including Q-Anon, and repeatedly attempted to invalidate the presidential election results in Pennsylvania.
He believes climate change is a hoax. He wants to ban same-sex marriage. He believes Islam is incompatible with the United States Constitution.
Amane Badhasso is a community organizer. She came to Minnesota at the age of 13 through a refugee resettlement program.
In 2020, she served as a key staffer for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in Minnesota. After the murder of George Floyd, she worked on the ballot proposition that would’ve radically transformed the Minneapolis Police Department.
In 2022, she ran for the House of Representatives on a platform that supported Medicare For All, a Green New Deal, and expanding voting rights in a far more ambitious and thoughtful way than what is being proposed by the Moderate Party.
There is no equivalence between the extreme right and extreme left, yet the Moderate Party doesn’t even attempt to make a distinction.
This approach is hostile towards a group of voters Castelli absolutely needs to show up in big numbers while attempting to attract voters who aren’t going to flip.
Harm reduction is a compelling enough reason for some of us to vote for a candidate we aren’t enthusiastic about, but I doubt it’ll turn out unlikely voters.
Without expanding the electorate, Castelli needs to flip more than 9% of Stefanik’s 2020 support. That doesn’t even take redistricting into account, which made NY-21 more favorable to Republicans.
Vote for Castelli on the Democratic Party line and reject the Moderate Party this November. Hopefully it doesn’t persist beyond this election.