Tags: First Amendment Solutions • Politics • Race
Two years ago, I posted a diary over at Feministing about why I disagree with people who claim that those of us who have respect for others regardless of race, gender or sexuality can be Republicans. The idea of the Republican “big tent” is easily disproved.
The video below and the campaign that followed were a lesson to me in Republican dirty tricks. It wasn’t that I hadn’t seen mud slinging before on Long Island. I had heard Republicans use racist code words about to discredit Democrats, especially candidates who were people of color – if a person was Black, they would talk about how “the neighborhood is changing” and if the candidate was Latin@, “immigration” would suddenly become the top priority for local government. But the summer of 2009 and the time I spent on Nina Petraro Bastardi’s campaign was when I realized how much their prejudice meant to Republicans and how far they were willing to take it. I watched as the Nassau County Republican Party lost all claim to plausible deniability with regards to their bigotry. They really are burning with hatred. Listen to this man’s voice.
It doesn’t stop with screaming. One of the reasons that Ms Petraro Bastardi became a Democrat was because of explicitly racist voter suppression tactics used by the Republican party:
Nassau County Republican Board of Elections Commissioner John A. DeGrace [attempted] to reproduce and mail the bogus ACORN letter to newly registered African-American voters in the Hempstead-Uniondale district. The letter allegedly told the would-be voters not to go to the polls on Election Day, that their votes would be cast for their respective parties’ candidates.
Some blamed the outburst on anger that Ms Petraro Bastardi had left the Republican party. But this is just not true. Claims of intimidation have surfaced again, this time made by Carrie Solages, a local attorney who is running for the Nassau County Leigslature in the 3rd district against incumbent John Ciotti, the same contest Ms Petraro Bastardi attempted to win previously.
Does the man calling for “animal control” to come and take away the Black people look familiar?
John Ciotti denies that he knows Vinnie Prisco. But that’s patently false. In this followup video, it’s reported that Mr. Prisco’s mother said that he’s John Ciotti’s right hand man. In addition to the coverage by WPIX, ABC also gets the story right, putting it into context with past racism and voter suppression. NBC interviewed John Ciotti, and he insisted it was “an isolated incident” but the video from Nina Petraro Bastardi’s campaign announcement above, her statement, and statements from Patrick Nicolosi and others who have campaigned in Nassau prove otherwise.
Kudos to those who got the story right. It would be easy to let this devolve into a “he said/she said” story, but the evidence is clear – the actions of the Nassau County Republicans have been despicable and show a clear pattern of racism and voter intimidation. It’s time we started calling them out for it.
And if John Ciotti cares so much about justice, if he really was sickened by these events, then he should stop worrying about Vinny Prisco and start worrying about all of his other thugs. If Mr. Ciotti has seen the light, and really wants a fair election, then he should support Carrie Solages call for for Federal Election monitors on November 8th.