No doubt, when Mayor Spinello, a member of the Independence Party, aggressively sought and received cross-endorsements from the Republican, Democrat and Conservative parties, he believed it would be a time for celebration. The victory served two purposes: first, it was a powerful warning that independent thinkers like Republican Councilman Tony Gallo will not be tolerated in the Republican Party and every effort will be made to crush their political aspirations and second, it proved that party bosses—and not their rank and file—are supporting Mayor Spinello. The upcoming primary elections on Sept. 10 will determine if the rank and file of all parties will agree with their leadership’s endorsement.
But as the dust began to settle, it appeared that Mayor Spinello may have won a pyrrhic victory. Instead of bravos and huzzahs, the architects of this ambitious coup de grace have stirred up a hornet’s nest of cynicism and hostility across party lines.
The first indication of trouble was when some Democrats began refusing to sign their party’s designating petitions because Mayor Spinello, a non-Democrat, was heading the ticket. Their outrage is understandable, unless you believe that Democrats, like their party bosses, stand for nothing but expediency. I think you’d be foolish to try to sell that pound of tripe to proud Democrats who expect and deserve to have their own candidate represent them in the upcoming November mayoral election.
The Republican membership have no less a critical problem. They’re questioning why both the Glen Cove and Nassau County Republican poobahs are again endorsing a non-Republican, Mayor Spinello, while denying the two-term Republican Councilman Tony Gallo, the biggest vote-getter in recent Glen Cove election history, a chance to head the slate. The behind-the-scenes story is even more disturbing; it’s alleged that the Glen Cove GOP leadership made it clear that they were prepared to deny Tony Gallo any spot on the ticket for what appears to be retaliation for the councilman’s steadfast adherence to his principles and values instead of the party’s dictates. The fact that former Spinello supporters can now be seen at Gallo headquarters may be an indication that this idea is already backfiring.
But the biggest loser in this Boss-brokered, backroom deal of cross-endorsements will be the Glen Cove voting public. When unelected party bosses can preordain election results by using this underhanded tactic, the people will have unknowingly surrendered their collective voice.
And when a government fails to provide the voter with a field of candidates from which to choose the most worthy, then that government has denied its citizens a free and open election and makes the act of “voting” a worthless exercise.
Cross-endorsing isn’t illegal, but should be for no other reason than it spawns an unresponsive, unaccountable government that governs without the consent of the governed, and that’s the outrage.