District 12: HELP WANTED: Congressional Representation.
NYC is a powerful, great, creative place, full of positive energy, humane values, and powerful creativity. In NYC’s 12th District, we need someone to represent that energy, for change, for justice, for the People.
Here’s a New Year’s Memo, from Hicks for Congress 2020.
By Sander Hicks
After a young challenger almost beat Rep. Carolyn Maloney in last Spring’s Democratic Primary, 2018, the 12th District’s “safe Democrat” seat is very winnable, by a real Democratic progressive.
I also ran in this race, but was prevented from gaining ballot access by the young challenger, the real estate executive, Suraj Patel. In my personal interactions with him, I found him to be pleasant, but politically, a bit shallow. I was shocked that he won 41% of the vote. That says something about this race. Let’s take a deeper look.
This memo, dated 1/2/19, is kind of my New Year’s resolution: to recap some blunt assessments of my last year’s political campaign, and map out a new strategy to a seat in the US Congress, in 2020.
2017 was the year of bright new possibilities: Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) beat one of the most entrenched corporate Democrats, Joe Crowley, in a stunning upset. She is kind of a friend of mine, we met in November, at Brand New Congress, a conference in DC in November of 2017. I was in touch with her campaign throughout my own, and we almost did an event together at Left Forum.
AOC and I are both members of the Democratic Socialists of America, and I am proud to be in DSA. It’s really one of the few well-organized groups that stands up to the dominance of corporate america, to the lack of healthcare, to war and propaganda and capitalist rape culture. Here in the DSA, I have comradely friends who get excited when I talk about my plans to convert my corporation into a worker cooperative. I get great ideas about the history and the future of affordable housing, and how to NOT sacrifice our whole city to Wall Street and Amazon.
AOC and Sander in DC, November 2017, American University, Brand New Congress conference.
The City. Ah, the City. The City that I love is so full of creative, smart, radical, progressive, liberal people. We need a rep who can rep that. We need new blood. Just look at the map of the District I ran in. I was right - the District is eager for someone, anyone, new. We deserve someone great, someone with integrity, and intensity. Just like the City.
Looks like a huge upsurge in anti-incumbent fever is gripping the 12th District.
After 26 long years in power, amassing personal wealth and voting for war, Rep. Carolyn Maloney almost lost it all, to a baby-faced millionaire hotel magnate. This map clearly breaks it down: She lost hard in Brooklyn, and it was a 50/50 split in Queens. Her strong support is only among the upper crust of the Upper East Side, and Midtown. There’s blood in the water, and I imagine there will be a much bigger race this time, with a wider variety of candidates. 2020 could bring the 12th District a six-way race with other candidates. That makes it a lot more winnable for outsider progressives, who represent the radical and populist roots of Brooklyn and the Lower East Side.
I talked to a lot of voters on the streets doing two rounds of petitioning. That experience was invaluable. A lot of supporters vote for Maloney because she's the known entity. These people get offended and then get defensive if you ask about Maloney's record as a friend of Wall Street and war. It's like these people have an automatic habit, an unthinking rote loyalty. I learned this from first-hand experience. And there’s something else that I learned: the overwhelming, clear majority of the people that I spoke with strongly wanted Maloney replaced. I kept hearing: Maloney is unresponsive, tone-deaf, and her staff just don’t care.
Suraj Patel was close, but not it. People on the street told me that Patel came off as insouciant and distracted. Personally, he always struck me as a kind of playboy. His catfishing on Tinder was a fatal blunder to his campaign. That's what Democratic leader (and Berniecrat) Arthur Schwartz said after Patel lost. “Catfishing” is when you pretend you are someone else on a dating site, for ulterior motives (like getting someone to vote for you.) I thought that this was unethical, but not a crime, until an attorney told me it was “internet fraud.” And can be considered criminal. Schwartz and others have said that Patel would have won, without the Tinder blunder. Arthur is founder of Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan, and was in the media in 2018 for suing the MTA to provide more access to persons with disabilities.
I want to say Thanks to the downtown PALM Berniecrats - because in 2018, they provided a forum for me to meet, and informally debate Patel. Later that night, they voted that I won the debate, but stopped short of endorsing me. I won, because I articulated a smart anti-war position on Syria. Patel mouthed the unsubstantiated cliches about Assad.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney refused to show up to this debate/candidates night, because the progressives refused to give her the debate questions in advance. Instead, Patel and I went head to head on the economy and Syria. I actually learned more about why the US should get out of Syria, by seeing the raw emptiness of the pro-war position.
The PALM group liked me, but had questions about how “viable” my campaign really could be. What they meant is “you don’t have enough money.” They had a point. So, in 2019, I am determined to do everything I can to build up my political viability, in terms of voice, vision, fund-raising and personal capital.
I'm going to make Affordable Housing a big focus of this campaign. I have already written an article on this for my newspaper, The New York Megaphone. We printed 100,000 of the last issue, and are planning another issue in late January. At Zen Space Makers Inc. / Megaphone, in my office, we are putting together a reality show pilot about all of this. Michael Ray is my new assistant, and he’s also a budding new, Anti-Trump film director.
I am also steering my company to explore bigger carpentry, construction, and affordable housing development projects. I am building my team, and recruiting and discovering great partners. More on this as it develops. To see a sample plan, on this, please contact me.
Bitcoin is bound to bounce back in 2019, and we will ride that dragon back up.. We are planning an ICO for a new cryptocurrency to support affordable housing real estate development. I recently worked with my attorney Daniel Stabile at Shutts law firm in Miami - they are a top firm for crytpo-currency and SEC regulatory matters. So, I’m ready to use my buddy Dan’s advice and move on this.
Yeah, it’s a lot. And it’s OK. I want to thank all my coaches in my life, especially Steve and Dee from Landmark. Instead of saying and complaining, “I have got a lot on my plate” I have come to realize that that is just a story. And that we are all more powerful and able than we know.
So instead of saying “Rep. Carolyn Maloney” is too rich, too entrenched, too establishment to be unseated, just look at the map. It’s full of people in this district who want real change.
Who will run? Who will win?
I say it’s the candidate who can clearly set out some real plans for New Yorkers: plans that directly improve their quality of life: Affordable housing, fixing the subway, helping create public banking institutions, giving people a hand up, helping people create cooperatives and green energy companies, and all of the things that we need to create to fix our world.
Thanks for reading this!
Please stay in touch with me throughout 2019.