State Senate Race Spotlights a Feeble Democratic Party

Taken together, the Democratic Party of Brooklyn and Queens is the El Cid of city politics: Inside its impressive looking armor, there is barely a pulse.

The latest evidence of rigor mortis comes by way of southern Brooklyn. Councilman Lewis A. Fidler, a loyal son of the Thomas Jefferson Club, once the most powerful Democratic club in Brooklyn, is heaving and perspiring as he tries to claim a measly State Senate seat. His Republican challenger, David Storobin, is the definition of neophyte, yet he is the one who now holds to a thin reed of a lead as the recount goes forward.

The clubhouses, and county parties, still control the appointment of candidates – the Democratic bosses picked Mr. Fidler to run for the seat vacated when Carl Kruger pleaded guilty to an unfortunate number of felonies. And they pick the judges who run in noncompetitive races, and who in turn will hand out lucrative surrogate and Guardian contracts to politically connected lawyers. (Those same lawyers make up a good part of the membership in these political clubs; it’s a beautiful closed loop of an ecosystem)

The city and state politicians in these clubs, as Gary Tilzer, the maverick political consultant and journalist points out, also create nonprofits, which they finance with city and state money.


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