There’s no way to spin it. Eliot Rabin is weird. His campaign’s Facebook page features videos of him demonstrating his “nice baritone” in his kitchen, “fixing a damn fixture” in his Upper East Side women’s clothing shop, and dancing at the African American Day Parade dressed in whatever this is.
New York’s 12th is a blue district. – the incumbent, Carolyn Maloney, won with 83% of the vote in the last election. No legitimate Republican challengers want to run here. And so we get Eliot.
I’m sure he’s a great guy. After all, he’s from my home state of South Carolina. Charleston no less! He went to the Citadel and served in the U.S. military. His eyebrows are inspirational. His motto is “Tolerance is the key, Civility is the lock.” I don’t know what that means, but I want to like it. But alas he is not governing quality. His policy positions are shallow and often non-existent. He’s a little off his rocker.
So why will I vote for him on November 6th? Political debate in this district, and this city more broadly, is dead. All but one Congressional district is Democratic. The City Council is 47 Democrats to 4 Republicans. There is no contest. If incumbents comfortably demolish their opponents every election cycle, they are incentivized to simply not rock the boat. It’s part of the reason our city’s public transit is in tatters and our tax dollars are frittered away on pet projects and overpaid bureaucrats. This is not unique to the city or to Democratic areas. My home state of South Carolina also suffers from a single-party stranglehold that’s produced rampant corruption, starved schools, and apocalyptic roads.
My vote will be a mix between a cry for help and an invitation. Those of us interested in a more vigorous discourse can encourage more qualified potential candidates to run by voting even for unqualified candidates. If Eliot garners even 35% of the vote, perhaps someone with new ideas, an interesting message, and some funding will give it a shot the next election cycle.
Eliot’s campaign website calls us to “…send Eliot Rabin to Congress to be New York City’s ‘American for Everyone in America’ on November 6, 2018! Ya mon!”
Well Eliot, I don’t want you in Congress, but here’s to hoping you win as close to 49.999% of the vote as possible.