New York Times endorsements stick to progressives
Photo: Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images
The first day of early voting ahead of the August 23 Democratic primaries in New York for the House, New York Time editorial board provided its long-awaited support. For Jerry Nadler, Sean Patrick Maloney and Dan Goldman, this was probably the endorsement they needed the most. For those who lost – and there were many – it was a blow, which they will have to fight to overcome in the next ten days.
This is all obvious and not particularly new. The Time‘support for high-level local competitions has always counted. The National Democratic electorate is not just made up of college graduates and those who regularly consume flowery newspapers. In New York and its surrounding suburbs, however, a Time approval can often be decisive. The publication’s most loyal readers, densely packed in Manhattan and affluent Brooklyn neighborhoods, eagerly await word from the paper. And in a diminished media environment where the tabloids, hit by budget cuts, do not have the same punch, the Time takes on even more importance.
With the exception of Nadler, who was essentially forced to run against his colleague, Carolyn Maloney, the choices were surprising. The newspaper often prioritizes identity and gender when choosing candidates. Her co-endorsement of Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar in the 2020 Democratic primary was to elect the first female president. In 2021, the Time supported Kathryn Garcia, who was seeking to become New York’s first female mayor. Like other elite institutions in recent years, the Time strove to diversify its own ranks and adopt at least some of the tenets popularized by Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo. Yet, by choosing three white men for Congress, the newspaper’s editorial board seems, implicitly at least, to be pivoting in a different direction.
What is equally remarkable is Time‘ growing contempt for the progressive left. Sean Patrick Maloney, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has long waged war on Democrats in his own district and aligned himself with the centrist wing of the party. When Andrew Cuomo was governor, Maloney was one of his closest allies, and the two shamelessly raised funds from the same real estate and corporate interests. In 2018, Maloney ran for state attorney general in a bid that was interpreted by many to be primarily focused on bringing down rising progressive — and fierce critic of Cuomo — Zephyr Teachout. Maloney didn’t win, but neither did Teachout. These days, the Police Benevolent Association is spending more than $400,000 attacking Maloney’s leftist opponent, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. Two years ago, the PBA supported the re-election of Donald Trump. (Maloney, who is openly gay, has spoken out a lot about Trump.)
For the Time, Maloney’s decision seemed mostly tied to the practical reality that he would make a better general election candidate in a swing district than Biaggi. Maloney has won tough general elections before; Biaggi has only participated in difficult primaries. Biaggi’s “politics are more progressive than those of many of its inhabitants”, the Time argued, also noting that she had just moved to the district. Maloney, however, had chosen the seat (he lives there) after the redistricting process. His choice intimidated Mondaire Jones, a popular progressive who may have been opposed to Maloney, enough to leave for Brooklyn, where he is now running in the new Tenth District.
In the tenth, lassoing downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, Jones looked set to receive the Time‘bracket. But his lack of connection to the city seemed too great to overcome. Instead of endorsing one of two competitive non-white candidates, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and Congresswoman Yuh-Line Niou, the editorial board opted for Goldman, a former federal prosecutor who is best known for working on the Trump’s first impeachment. Goldman, the only straight white man among the frontline suitors, on the face of it didn’t seem like an obvious choice for the Time. Heir to the Levi Strauss fortune with a net worth potentially over $250 million, Goldman is partially self-funding its bid, having already floated $1 million of its own money. He flooded the district with television advertisements and, unlike his main rivals, he has never previously held elected office. The Time nonetheless seemed impressed with his track record and work ethic, commenting that “those who have worked with Mr. Goldman behind the scenes describe him as diligent and prepared and a person of integrity.”
Neither Niou nor Rivera were mentioned at all in the endorsement. It was probably intentional. After helping to raise Garcia, a technocratic liberal who was an unabashed supporter of the police and a skeptic of sweeping criminal justice reform, the Time looks set to anoint a similar style of Democrat. Goldman shares much of Garcia’s politics. He supports Mayor Eric Adams’ crusade to further weaken bail process reforms passed in Albany three years ago. He is also a proud ally of the real estate industry and Wall Street, where he attracts donations. And Goldman is, figuratively and literally, an MSNBC liberal: He’s built an extensive social network after making frequent appearances on cable TV. He always gets free publicity that way. By choosing Goldman, the Time signaled that he cared more about liberal resistance-style politics — Goldman is fiercely anti-Trump — than what is, for lack of a better term, identity politics.
The practical boost for Goldman is likely to be real. It can run TV commercials and send senders bragging endorsement. For the many voters who have just registered for the race, the Time will provide compelling shorthand. Nadler, Maloney and Goldman are now, without a doubt, the first to head to August 23.
Correction: This piece has been updated to clarify that Sean Patrick Maloney’s former neighborhood, NY-18, has been re-divided to become more Democratic.