Turning A Red District Blue

Turning A Red District Blue In Staten Island

Max Rose's victory was unexpected in ruby red Staten Island.

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Of New York City's five boroughs, only Staten Island tends to favor Republican candidates. Yet Max Rose, a registered Democrat who supports gun violence prevention and the expansion of healthcare, defeated Republican incumbent Dan Donovan for this year's Congressional seat. This unexpected victory for Max Rose in the 11thCongressional district, which encompasses Staten Island and a small part of southern Brooklyn, means that President Donald Trump can longer look to the support of any New York City Republicans in the House.

Mr. Rose was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1986. He attended Poly Prep Country Day School as a child and teenager before going on to receive a degree in history from Wesleyan University, and a master's degree in philosophy and public policy from the London School of Economics. After his graduation from the London School of Economics, Rose decided to join the military. He served approximately five years of active duty in the First Armored Division before serving as a platoon leader in Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013, where he was wounded.

He was then awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service and commitment to his country. After leaving the military, Rose served as Chief of Staff at Brightpoint Health, which is a nonprofit operator of medical clinics in New York City. Currently, he is a captain for the National Guard and a member of the United States House of Representatives.

In 2015, Rose moved to Staten Island. Immediately, he realized that the borough needed help. Staten Island suffers from many issues ranging from the opioid crisis to healthcare concerns to a lack of needed transportation routes and infrastructure. A year ago, Rose decided to run for Congress when he noticed that Dan Donovan wasn't fixing anything that needed to be fixed in his own hometown. In fact, Mr. Donovan – who claims he has taken a tough stance on fighting the opioid crisis – had "taken nearly $10,000 in campaign cash from two execs tied to the drugmaker [Purdue Pharma] blamed for starting the crisis" (Klein, New York Post).

Rose has run for various platforms due to his determination to tackle numerous matters while serving in Congress. For example, Rose wants to end gun violence in the United States. According to his campaign website, "As a combat veteran, Max supports our right to keep and bear arms. He also knows we can respect the Second Amendment while doing more to get guns out of the lands of dangerous people. Weapons of war do not belong on our streets." In order to prevent more tragic deaths due to gun violence, Rose wants to increase background checks, strengthen federal gun restriction laws, and ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15. Additionally, Rose wants to make healthcare more affordable, wants to build a ferry system on the South Shore of Staten Island and a create a subway system to Manhattan from Staten Island, and wants to end the drug epidemic across the country.

So, how was Max Rose able to win? As a volunteer for Max's Congressional Campaign in Staten Island, I handed out flyers in the rain, knocked on houses asking for signatures and phone banked. For me, it was incredible to meet so many Staten Islanders who, just like me, wanted to see major changes not only in our federal government but in our hometown as well. Growing up on Staten Island, I never thought it would be possible for a progressive Democrat to win over a largely Republican area. However, Mr. Rose possesses a magic that is hard to describe in words. He is truly a charismatic man who is capable of appealing to both political parties, who is a champion for human rights, and who is not afraid to speak his mind.

As a young Democratic woman who lives in Republican-dominated Staten Island, it is amazing to think that New York's 11thCongressional District was successful in uniting a large liberal and moderate democratic base, which allowed Rose – a man with so much potential and promise – to succeed in flipping an almost certain red House seat blue.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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