Outside the Bridgeview Yacht Club in Island Park, a small group of pro-Bernie Sanders demonstrators were on hand Sunday to greet Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, part of a drumbeat of allegations from her left that she favors candidate Hillary Clinton.
UPDATE, March 22: Sal Speziale, an officer at Long Island Laborers Local 66, who took part, said the showing was inspired by a primary challenge she’s getting in Florida from candidate Tim Canova, who among other things objected to her support for fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and various other issues.
Speziale said that as DNC chair, he believes, she’s been somewhat partial to Hillary Clinton. “It’s a combination of everything,” said Speziale, a Sanders supporter.
Inside the hall, the congresswoman addressed a couple of hundred guests at the Long Beach Democratic Committee spring dinner dance. Afterward she told a reporter, “I’m neutral. From our perspective the primary is still ongoing and were not managing this primary as if there were a presumptive nominee.”
“This is a primary that is far less divisive than the one we had in 2008 between Obama and Clinton and we had near unanimity,” that year, Wasserman-Schultz added. “The difference between what’s going on on our side and what’s going on on the Republican side is that our candidates agree on the goals and just have slightly different approaches about how to get there.”
The New York primary is now less than a month away, on April 19, as is the special election for state Senate, which brought the Democratic candidate, Assemb. Todd Kaminsky of Long Beach, center stage. He was the final speaker to address the room and along with his wife sat with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, DNC members Robert Zimmerman, Nassau Chairman Jay Jacobs, and state party committee executive director Basil Smikle.
A former resident of Forest Hills, Lido Beach and Melville, Wasserman-Schultz talked up Kaminsky’s race against GOP candidate Chris McGrath, while praising her local hosts, and focused her presidential remarks on slamming Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, whom she said is “like the Andrew Dice Clay of politics,” and whose rise followed “years of hateful rhetoric” on the GOP side.
“I’m not suggesting that the United States will collapse if we don’t win this election, but fundamentally, their nominee is very likely to have values that are not remotely the kind we’ve seen from any candidate in modern times,” she warned, urging participation in the general election from those on hand.
It was left to others to do the rooting for Clinton from the rostrum. Hochul said, “I want to see a woman in the White House. Let’s do it this year. Let’s bring it home for Hillary Clinton.”
Long Beach Councilwoman Anissa Moore said, “In the words of our next president, Hillary Clinton, every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.”