To download a PDF of this release, click here.


Press Contacts:

Lisa DellAquila, TrueBlueNY, 917-991-0605 lisadellaquila[at]gmail[dot]com

Carmela Gaines, Queens Huddle, 347-497-8748, queenshuddle[at]outlook[dot]com

Susan Kang, No IDC NY, 612-385-9387, susan.l.kang[at]gmail[dot]com

Trish Anderton, Inwood Indivisible, 480-745-9178, trishanderton[at]gmail[dot]com  

29 November 2017


New York, NY — A growing coalition of dozens of groups (list in formation below), including all major resistance groups across New York State, have joined forces to express their strong rejection of Governor Cuomo’s and the New York State Democratic Party’s plan to “unite” the mainline Democrats of the New York State Senate with the turncoat “Democrats” of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). This deal rewards the IDC for SEVEN years of enabling the GOP, and gives them even more power than they currently have over the lives of New Yorkers.

The IDC is a group of eight Senators who ran as Democrats but govern with Republicans in exchange for money, power, and perks. Funded by the real estate industry, charter school interests and hedge funds, the IDC and its Republican partners stand in the way of many progressive legislative goals important to all New Yorkers including tenants’ rights, voting reform, full funding of New York’s public schools and universal health care.

Despite the fanfare around this deal, in practice nothing will change. The Democrats still will not hold a majority in the Senate, the Republicans will still control the state budget, Simcha Felder will continue to play his own game, and New Yorkers have no guarantee that any legislation will pass. Its main purpose seems to be burnishing Cuomo’s resume for national office and protecting the embattled IDC from primary challenges.

Why is this such a terrible deal?

  1. The IDC cannot be trusted. It has promised reunification before and reneged. The IDC will return to the GOP as soon as the threat of primary challenges has passed, and they’ll keep blocking progressive legislation.
  2. The deal’s demands of co-leadership with Jeff Klein continue to undermine the rightful Senate Democratic leadership position of Andrea Stewart-Cousins and perpetuates the “three and a half men in a room” backroom dealing.
  3. “Democrats” who have been selling out their constituents for seven years should not be rewarded with guarantees of not being primaried
  4. Blaming “both sides” for the IDC’s divisiveness is a Trump tactic. The nine “Democrats” who have allied themselves with the GOP are the ones to blame.
  5. Delaying reunification until after the special elections leaves Republicans in control, and two districts unrepresented, during budget negotiations, AND gives the IDC plenty of time to back out of the deal.
  6. A “Blue Wave” is building. Strong primary challengers are emerging in all eight IDC districts. We reject a deal that doesn’t even deliver Democratic Senate control in 2018 and undermines our chances to achieve real control after winning red-to-blue seats next fall AND primarying out fake Democrats.

In the coming weeks, the grassroots will launch a series of actions designed to discourage this ill-conceived reunification plan.

No Deal.




Action Potluck

Action Together Northern Westchester

Creative Resistance

Croton in Action

Empire State Indivisible

Greater NYC for Change

Hindsight 2020

IDC Action Group of NYCD16-Indivisible

Indivisible Brooklyn

Indivisible Harlem

Indivisible Nation BK

Indivisible Rivertowns

Indivisible We Stand

Indivisible Westchester

Inwood Indivisible

Lead Blue

Morningside Heights Resistance


Northern Westchester Indivisible

NYC Solidarity Sundays

NY Indivisible


NYS District 17 for Progress

Postcards for America – NY

Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan

Queens Huddle

Rise and Resist

Rockland Citizens Action Network

Rockland United

Take Back 20

The Ernest Skinner Political Association

The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

True Blue NY-53


United Through Action

Voices Rising

We Persist

Yorktown Together


TrueBlueNY is forging ahead to support real Democrats in primary challenges to the IDC, regardless of deals made by the state party. These eight people should not be in state government, no matter how they are aligned,” says Mia Pearlman.

John Gromada of the Rockland Citizens Action Network says, “We’ve been burned by Senator Carlucci before when he promised to return to the Democratic Caucus in 2014 if we didn’t run a primary. … Nothing short of a return to the caucus under the leadership of Andrea Stewart-Cousins and special elections held ASAP would move us off our course of running a primary opponent to David Carlucci.”

Susan Kang of No IDC NY says, “We do not and will not ever support a “deal” that allows Jeff Klein and the IDC to rejoin the mainline conference with impunity. Turncoats cannot be rewarded with long political careers and leadership benefits. The grassroots momentum will support only one solution in regards to creating an effective and functional Democratic senate majority: beat IDC at the ballot box. Strong primary challengers are rising as we speak in all eight IDC districts, and we believe strongly that IDC members will lose their primaries next year. We encourage the mainline Democrats to follow our lead and support the anti-IDC challengers.”

“Lawmakers who have openly colluded with the GOP to block progressive legislation should not be rewarded with leadership positions,” says Trish Anderton of Inwood Indivisible. “This is a terrible deal for Democratic voters. It would not only pave the way for the continued existence of the IDC, but encourage more lawmakers to join.”

Carmela Gaines of Queens Huddle states,”We’ve been down this road before. Senator Klein and the IDC have already shown New Yorkers  their true colors. Democrats need to learn from past mistakes. There is only one Democratic Party in New York. The Democratic Party Conference in the NYS Senate is lead by Andrea Stewart-Cousins. We do not want Jeff Klein to be our leader.”

​”We are completely opposed to such a plan, which would not only reward the IDC for betraying the Democrats who elected them but invite them to do it all over again,” said Rebecca Saletan of Indivisible Harlem.

“The Democrats need to wake up to the fact that IDC members have no interest in giving up the perks and power given them as reward for aligning with Senate Republicans,” states Tomara Aldrich of Rockland United. “By agreeing to reunification, Democrats are forgoing an opportunity to primary IDC members. This will starve viable candidates of funding and other party support, leaving them unable to compete against the deep-pocketed funding IDC members enjoy. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and other Senate democrats, need to focus on bringing into the party lawmakers who will represent the Democrats who elected them, not making deals with turncoats incapable of keeping promises.”

Hassan Bakiriddin of the Ernest Skinner Political Association said, “The ‘deal’ which is being reported is an affront to the conscientious voters who made it clear that they want Democrats leading the New York State Senate. Governor Cuomo would be betraying the Democratic Party by supporting such an odious arrangement. Under Republican governors, they did not work to undermine Republicans. Why should we countenance this betrayal?”

“To reward Jeff Klein with a leadership position after his betrayal of the Democrats is ridiculous.” said Creative Resistance.

Take Back 20 says “IDC members are pretend Democrats who’ve bamboozled their constituents using sneaky tactics. Here in Brooklyn’s District 20, we’ve witnessed Senator Jesse Hamilton, like other IDC members, betray communities by blocking legislation that would serve them. Let the IDC run as IDC on the ballot, not as Democrats.”

The IDC Action Group of NYCD16-Indivisible finds it galling to have the putative leaders of our party give an ultimatum to ‘both sides’, as if the duly elected Democrats in the NYS Senate who have remained loyal to our party and its values and not empowered Republicans are on some other side. The real Democrats in the NYS Senate, led by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, are already doing what they need to do.  Only one ‘side’ needs an ultimatum and that is Jeff Klein and the IDC.  The IDC has betrayed the Democratic Party and the majority of voters of NY and needs immediately to give up the power and perks the pro-Trump Republicans continue to afford them. We remain committed to working to inform voters in the 34th Senate District of the damage the IDC has wrought and have no doubt that Jeff Klein will be ousted in 2018.”

“The foundation of the Indivisible movement we took up after the 2016 presidential election will continue to inform our actions whether this poorly conceived offer goes any further or not. In fact, with the distinct air of fakery that surrounds this deal, we have become more resolute in our work to deliver to NYS voters the Democratic state Senate it deserves,” says Heather Stewart of Empire State Indivisible.

Liat Olenick of Indivisible Nation BK adds “This deal fails to address the corrupt system of lulus that has propped up the Republican Majority and the IDC. We are concerned that by allowing the IDC to remain an independent conference, the IDC would continue to earn extra stipends at cost to taxpayers for positions they often do not even hold. “

“The lesson of the last election is that voters are hungry for politicians who stand for something, not for opportunists who say one thing and do another, or for power brokers who wheel and deal in back rooms,” says Thomas Gokey of True Blue NY-53. “This deal looks like one more cynical effort by the IDC to cement their power and avoid being challenged at election time, while presenting themselves as the “real” Democrats in Albany. The coming blue wave in 2018 is an opportunity to replace them with straight-talking Democrats who genuinely believe in progressive policy.”

New York Senate District 17 for Progress says, “We support a Democratic majority in the NY Senate because of the progressive legislation proposed during recent sessions by the Democrats. We are against the proposed deal between the main Democratic caucus and the IDC because of the significant power it gives to the IDC, who have failed — along with Senator Simcha Felder — to enable progressive legislation passed by the Assembly to come to the floor in the Senate. We have no reason to believe the IDC will start enabling it under this deal.”

Claire Ullman of Rise and Resist says, “This deal makes the Democratic Party hostage to the whims of the IDC, which can threaten to take its marbles and go home to Flanagan anytime it wants to throw its weight around. The IDC, in turn, is beholden to the real estate lobby that is the source of so much of its funding. It is hard to see how progressive legislation can come out of this distorted and corrupted alliance.”

Tara Geer of Action Potluck says, “Most of us got into this because our families, our bodies, our neighbors lives, are on the line here. We need real progressive protections for our diversity and our democracy now. We need laws passed, not lemon politicians doing their donors’ bidding. This is our democracy at stake: We don’t negotiate with terrorists. The IDC traded our values for perks. Now we reward them for it?”

“This deal is not about re-uniting the Democratic Party. It is about creating a fig leaf for the Governor, with a belated ‘reunification at the end of the 2018 Legislative Session’, which allows the Republican Party to stay in charge,” says Arthur Schwartz of Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan. “Any deal needs to be one which starts January 1, 2018, and which excludes Flanagan from policy decisions.”

Jenn Castelhano of Postcards for America – New York says, “The IDC has worked to block progressive legislation and given control of our State Senate to Republicans. Lawmakers who behave in such a manner, which is consistently at odds with their constituents and undermines their own party, do not deserve a seat at the table or leadership positions. This proposed deal with Cuomo condones their actions and will not protect New Yorkers in the future.”

“With the uncertainty and chaos that the Trump presidency creates on a national level, we believe that having a strong government close to home is vital to creating a wall of resistance to his harmful and divisive policies,” says Verena Arnabal of Indivisible Westchester. “We support Andrea Stewart-Cousins as the leader of the Senate Democrats and view any co-leadership arrangement as an affront to the progressive values that we champion.”

George Albro of New York Progressive Action Network (NYPAN) says, “While we applaud the good faith attempts of the loyal Dems and the progressive labor leader, Hector Figueroa, to unify their party, wrest control of the Senate from the joint control of the Party of Trump and the IDC/Trump Dems, all in order to advance the people’s agenda, and while we would support an honest and fair deal for an immediate rapprochement, we must object to this cynical and calculated ploy which unnecessarily perpetuates the disgraceful status quo until effectively the end of the budget process and possibly even the end of session. It is obscene and has all the earmarks of a Cuomo power play, geared only to his perceived self-interest. Well Governor 1%, we ain’t buying it, and we don’t think the voters will either. Let the primaries go forth.”

“One has to wonder why, now that there is enormous grassroots pressure to eliminate the IDC, the Democratic establishment wants to welcome them back rather than joining the movement to vote them out in primary elections,” says Andrew Jacobs of Lead Blue.

“The IDC has shown time and again that they will not stand up for the values that matter to constituents across their districts, and rather will collude with lawmakers who will do everything they can to support the Trump agenda”, says Mark Dembo of Northern Westchester Indivisible. “Cuomo’s proposal will only serve to condone and reward behavior that runs counter to serving the population of the state.

Rhea Mallett of Indivisible Rivertowns adds, “We oppose the proposed deal with the IDC. By partnering with the GOP the IDC Senators have deprived New Yorkers of the democratic leadership and membership they voted into office and prevented the passing of legislation benefiting our communities. Any deal that rewards the IDC Senators betrays democrats throughout New York State.”

The voters of New York deserve leaders who will join a Democratic majority coalition willingly, not conditionally, and leadership roles within the party should be reserved for Democrats who have held firm to that commitment,” says Emma Balter of Indivisible Brooklyn. “This deal is a sign that grassroots activism and a batch of progressive challengers represent a true threat to the IDC in the upcoming primary. Cuomo’s plan for reunifying the IDC senators transparently and weakly caves in to their wishes. We will continue to fervently support primary challengers to these IDC senators, with or without this unacceptable plan.”

Debbie Friedman of We Persist says, ““We are opposed to the plan to reward the IDC’s, who are aligned with Republicans, by providing them leadership roles within the Democratic Party. In this climate of upheaval and change, it is especially important that NYS voters can count on elected Democrats to stand together with the Democratic Party to support progressive legislation.  By aligning with the Republicans, the IDC’s have blocked progressive legislation rather than championing it.”