ALBANY - The intraparty fighting between the mainline Democrats, who serve as the minority party of the Senate, and the Independent Democratic Conference, which shares in a majority coalition with Republicans, flashed again on Monday.
Sen. Marisol Alcantara (D-Manhattan) on Monday labeled recent protests against Democrats like her who have joined the IDC as racist.
“When legislators of color make decisions based on helping their constituents, they are demonized and accused of having a financial motivation,” Alcantara said Monday. “That’s what’s happening here, and it’s racist.”
She is the first woman of Dominican descent to serve in the Senate.
She was responding to a series of demonstrations in Queens in which dozens of Democrats protested the recent move of Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) in January to the IDC. The Daily News reported the protests included chants of “No Trump! No GOP!” and opposed the IDC, claiming its members were aligning with Republicans who support President Donald Trump.
IDC leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) also called the criticism racist.
IDC members, as part of the majority coalition with Republicans, have more power to get legislation passed as well as to advance to leadership roles with more lucrative stipends than if they remained in the minority conference.
The IDC has doubled from its ranks a year ago. Republicans have the minimum 32 votes with their longtime ally, conservative Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, to control the 63-seat Senate. But the IDC provides a cushion and flexibility to include some more progressive legislation.
Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said the IDC is empowering Trump Republicans just when Democrats need to unite to uphold their progressive principles.
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) on Monday said he’s confident the IDC will remain a partner.
“We have a working majority, which I believe will remain 100 percent intact,” Flanagan said.