It’s America’s Bluest House Seat. How Is This Man a Top Contender?

Jun 09, 2020 · 128 comments
William Dusenberry (Broken Arrow Oklahoma)
It's interesting, that those who oppose abortion, only oppose abortions for the poor; while those with enough money, as they always have, can continue to receive medically-performed safe abortions, anywhere in the World (including near the Vatican) where abortions will remain, inexpensive, legal, and medically-safe. Forcing the poor, to give birth to kids, they shouldn't be expected to raise to adult self-sufficiency -- is what the GOP refers to as "Family Values."
God is Love (New York, NY)
I am so surprised that we still have to deal with this relic of a time past. He says he is a man of God, yet he has a long list of groups he hates, and has never hid is hatred for them. The other candidates need to put their egos aside, consolidate their support and supporters, and stop this man! The Bronx needs to step-up NOW and retire this hate monger!
Alan (Hawaii)
This is why you need to have RUN-OFFS if no candidate achieves at least 40% of the vote.
Jennie (Bronx)
I live in the 15th and I look forward to voting for Ritchie Torres, who has been an excellent advocate for our community on the City Council. It would be a massive step backwards for the seat to go to Ruben Diaz Sr.
Jane Smith (Brooklyn)
@Jennie And I love that he doesn't come from the established political order (no offense to Mr. Blake). He cares about his community and would does thankless city jobs. He would be an asset to the people he serves as a Congressman, not like another Congresswomen next door that seems more interested in her national profile.
L Kennedy (US)
Isn’t this similar to what was said when trump was running, how’d that work out for the country?
Mr Diaz is what happens when people are not civically engaged. He does just enough "gift giving" to the community along with name recognition and is provided access to the levers of power. We need real voting reform now.
The Iconoclast (Oregon)
You know this just confirms what those of us paying attention have known for ages. A lot of Democrats might as well not participate at all. They are too ignorant and lazy to play a legit roll in their own politics. This goes for a great number of New Yorkers who simply support the status quo. The city and the state are, and have been a mess forever. When will NYC leave the nineteenth century?
Jan N (Wisconsin)
@The Iconoclast, before you point at New York, perhaps you should clean house in your own state. There are a lot of frauds in Oregon, perhaps more than in New York because New Yorkers generally are more savvy.
Maryland Chris (Bethesda, MD)
Primary elections. How is this still a thing? Reading articles like this make me long for the days of the smoke filled room, empty pizza boxes, and pragmatic party bosses deciding who the nominee would be. With primary elections all you get is a circus, and a loud mouth clown as the nominee.
Jane Smith (Brooklyn)
@Maryland Chris Yes what the world needs is more far away elites deciding who is best for the people they wish to "serve".
Michael Beauchamp (New York, NY)
@Maryland Chris So what, elites in smoke filled rooms should be the ones making the decisions behind closed doors? Are you paying attention to anything that's going on in the world right now?
Alison Jasonides (Athens Greece)
What’s up with bread and circus/Chavez and Maduro playbook? I guess I should acknowledge that this language speaks to some, but I’m sure hoping most see right through it.
Eaglearts (Los Angeles)
IMO quite a lot of the faith based African American community needs to atone for their homophobia and resistance to equality for LGBTQ person of all colors. The oppression of black folks by their churches and religious institutions also must be addressed. "Rev." Diaz's anti gay views should be resoundingly rejected by all people.
left coast finch (L.A.)
@Eaglearts This is another wing of the bigoted evangelical community that’s flown under the radar and been given a free pass by the press for decades, all because it is African-American. It’s also virulently rampant in the Latin evangelical world as well. See Brazil’s Bolsanaro. Religious bigotry, especially when it’s weaponized and goes political, is a threat not only to American society but also its democracy, no matter the color of skin. It must be repeatedly called out and covered by the press relentlessly.
Livonian (Los Angeles)
When I read about Mr. Diaz's "...history...of making homophobic statements," I braced myself for some blood curdling tirades against gay people. Instead, I read some pretty harmless, traditional religious (however backwards) resistance to gay marriage and - eek! - the charge that the council chamber was "controlled by the homosexual community"! It's the characterization of Mr. Diaz as being full of "hate," and that his immigrant supporters are "embarrassing" which exposes the Achilees' heel of progressive Democrats - and probably makes Mr. Diaz's supporters cleave more closely to him. It's very clear that many of the so-called "socialists" that are moving the Democrats left are more impassioned and concerned about identity issues than they are working people, too many of whom they consider "problematic." The Dems really need to work out some truce between the working class and socially progressives.
Michael Cushing (Mill Valley, Ca)
Hopefully, voters will search their hearts and minds and find a choice that does not stand behind those that hate. The fact that he has Rev. in front of his name is never an antidote.
fact or friction (maryland)
Why doesn't Jr come out and publicly oppose Sr, his father, or at least vocally make clear to everyone that the "Ruben Diaz" on the ballot is not him? Seems unbelievable that Jr's OK with his father getting mileage off of his own name and reputation, by parlaying voter confusion, to the detriment of the residents of the South Bronx.
Mark (New York)
The irony of the new form of progressivism is that it preaches tolerance for even the tiniest of minorities, but not those that disagree with them. It's labeled cancel culture, but it's really just another form of intolerance. This guy sounds like a complete mismash of values, which is close to how many people are. Not sure I'd vote for him, but he's certainly colorful. I distrust those who are long on the ideology of intolerance, except when it come to their disagreeing with them. Welcome to the new Puritanism. It's doomed to fail like the old one. Accept people as they are, not as you demand they be.
John Chastain (Michigan - (heart of the Great Lakes))
Evangelical Christianity has made inroads within minority communities. That this is possible may be because the worship style resonates with African American and Latinos. That these church’s are often conservative and homophobic shouldn’t be surprising. Nor should their appeal considering how mainstream pampered and privileged white democrats and the liberal church ignore poorer communities of all colors until they act up or challenge preconceived notions of who they should support. It should be clear to the other candidates that their unwillingness to consolidate the field may give this less than closeted Trump supporting faux democrat the seat. Republicans must be gleeful over this opportunity. Wonder if they’ve talked to the good rev about switching parties after he wins?
Realist (NY, NY)
As someone who resides in the district, this is really a sad state of affairs, but also shows how deeply entrenched the Bronx Dem machine is. AOC was a fluke, who worked her behind off, but also had the benefit of a weird primary date and an opponent who didn't take her seriously. An adjacent district, and her endorsement means virtually nothing. That should speak volumes. We deserve better; although I think the same can be said for many elections, up to and including the upcoming Presidential one.
fact or friction (maryland)
Rank choice voting should be required for ALL elections.
Louis (New York, NY)
Many New Yorkers can still remember when a conservative, pro-life Republican Senator D'Amato was called "Senator Pothole" because his focus on constituent services was such that he was more likely to get needed repairs done on your local street than the local Democratic pols who were unresponsive. D'Amato was elected to three terms over liberal challengers. Rev. Diaz is a shoe-in to win this seat precisely because he understands that for his constituents 'all politics is local.'
Citizen60 (San Carlos, CA)
How many Democrats are running? By all means, let's fracture the vote as much as possible to enable the candidate no one wants to win. First Kentucky and then here, the DSP won't be happy until they fracture the always-hard-to-herd-cats Democratic vote enough to keep handing districts to Republicans. Ideology above power -- which Republicans understand is their key to gaining/staying in power.
Middleman MD (New York, NY)
In most of our lifetimes, there have been plenty of Democrats who have been pro-life, opposed to gay marriage and absolutely opposed to policies that would facilitate or encourage illegal border crossing. Indeed, organized labor in the United States, and Socialist candidate for president Norman Thomas supported the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 that severely curtailed immigration, precisely because of their position that large scale immigration would drive down the wages of persons already in America. Even AFL leader Samuel Gompers, himself an immigrant, took this position. Whether my fellow readers and I agree with it or not, can we at least acknowledge that there may be more residents of the Bronx who aren't 100% on board with all aspects of the DNC platform than is commonly assumed?
CarpeDiem64 (Atlantic)
Obviously some Democratic candidates have to put their egos to one side and take one for the team. Don't prove the axiom that no one is better than the Democrats at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Jonathan (Northwest)
So maybe the clueless have started to get a clue. The Democrats have hijacked by their own mob. Bye, Bye, Biden.
Susan (Virginia)
Gee...just what the nation needs. A Democrat who is as divisive and mean as trump.
Ted Pikul (Interzone)
Maybe the Upper West Side and South Bronx have two different ideas of what leftism should do. I deplore this man's hateful statements. I bet he's helped a lot of people get jobs. I'll bet that the author of this article has never uttered a politically incorrect word in his life. Has he ever helped anyone get a job, or pay a bill? Has he ever lobbied, marched, in order to do so? Keep speaking truth to power.
AutumnLeaf (Manhattan)
This is the AOC effect. People are going to he voting for any one not her, and any one not affiliated with her. This is a referendum on socialism and identity politics, and people are sick and tired of AOC and her ilk. I will him luck, we need to take AOC and her folk out, they have only succeeded in making a mess out of our country.
Merrill R. Frank (Jackson Heights NYC)
When Joe Crowley was our congressman a few ago in the 14th congressional district I managed to be telephone push polled by the Diaz Sr. campaign. The pollsters questioning started off with pedestrian questions about the issues of the day. As the questioning continued it delved into some of the culture war issues such as Gays, school vouchers or tax credits etc. That’s when I figured out that it’s a Diaz Sr. congressional district shopping push poll. If he had run I doubt he would have survived a primary since most voters here are put off by his cowboy hatted Kulturkampf.
Gazeeb Betempte (San Francisco)
Diaz has bought his votes. A one man show parading around as a Bronx cowboy. Handing out toys to kids, paying for school haircuts, giving people vouchers for beef. An age old politician strategy used to generate, maintain and aggrandize popularity in a community through the routine of give them bread and circuses. His retrograde views certainly don’t represent the values of the Democratic Party. He’s a rogue, aberrant figure much like the President of The United States. The people that support Diaz have been hypnotized by his charismatic personality and disingenuous benevolence.
CF (Massachusetts)
@Gazeeb Betempte Lack of education, particularly civics. Oooh, shiny thing! That's all it takes these days. This is a guy whose political beliefs are his religious beliefs. What's happened, again due to lack of education, is that more and more voters just vote the way their pastor tells them to vote. In my youth, a pastor wouldn't dare spout politics from the pulpit--he'd be endangering his 501 c 3 tax exemption. That doesn't happen anymore, sad to say. The only silver lining is that every year more and more people abandon religion. Can't happen fast enough. I thought the Bronx was smarter than this. It isn't over yet, maybe they are.
Norm Weaver (Buffalo NY)
Go Ruben!
Joanne Butler (Ottawa, Ontario)
It would seem his candidacy is more about subversion than about "big-tent" politics. Republicans are good at this tactic, in several spheres, not just politics.
LTL (Utah)
Democrats were perfectly accepting of a candidate who was never a Democrat (Sanders) but was left of their mainstream. One has to laugh at the “big tent” claims of Democrats, seeing how they treat a candidate who is right of their mainstream, and how his connection to voters is discredited.
Susan (Virginia)
@LTL Ridiculous. Bernie's values align with the Dems far more than the Repubs. Dems need to avoid another divisive, insulting candidate like trump.
mirucha (New York)
The other contenders need to consider whether the 12-way splintering they are creating is worth the potential cost. Not every worthy contender needs to enter the race this year, wasting $ like we weren't all broke because of the coronavirus.
Neel Kumar (Silicon Valley)
That is why we need California-style top-two primary in every state.
Judith Stern (Phila)
this just goes to show we could be voting for beliefs, not parties. I would vote for a Republican if he/she supported what I believe and does not tow the party line.
How broken is a political party system that supports, or at least allows, the candidacy of someone who endorses the opposite party's platform?
Lynn (New York)
@SA "How broken is a political party system that ... allows, the candidacy of someone who endorses the opposite party's platform?" People treat the DNC like it is a dictatorship, but it is not. If you get enough registered Democrats to sign a petition, that qualifies you to be put on the Democratic primary ballot. The "party" does not control who can run, It's up to the voters in a democracy to be better informed, and not to sign a petition for a such a candidate, and certainly not to vote for him,
Kate (SW Fla)
Calling AOC, get moving against this poser. Now!
AutumnLeaf (Manhattan)
@Kate Calling Florida - you can have AOC!
srabramson (New York)
I hope the undecideds break for Michael Blake who is clearly the most qualified, through experience, brilliance, and passion, to represent the people of the 15th District. Ruben Diaz Sr will do nothing to better the lives of families in the District. Michael is really the best of them all to do that, and he will bring to light and find solutions for the difficulties people in the District face.
LAP (San Diego, CA)
Perfect application of the principle "divide and conquer".
Kathleen (Michigan)
@LAP The thought crossed my mind that this would be an easily-financed Russian disruption. Especially since Hillary did so well here.
Jeremy (NYC)
Yet another argument for ranked-choice voting.
Jacquie (Iowa)
The Democrats need to take action to expel him from their ranks immediately. He doesn't represent the democratic values of today.
Southern Boy (CSA)
Refreshing to read about someone who thinks for himself, who has a mind of his own.
wem (Seattle)
They need Ranked Choice Voting...that's all there is to it!
We're talking the Bronx here. Patronage and corruption are the name of the game, in all likelihood.
WesternMass (Western Massachusetts)
Diaz Sr. has always been nothing but trouble and apparently that hasn’t changed. If the people of the Bronx vote for that crazy guy, shame on them.
Salem Sage (Salem County, NJ)
This article speaks to the need for a run-off if no candidate receives 50% of the vote. This need is especially true in New York with its plethora of political parties.
Marc (New York City)
It is clear from this paragraph why this man, who doesn't reflect the community, is the front runner: "...His son, Rubén Díaz Jr., is the widely popular Bronx borough president, a politician more aligned with the Democratic mainstream." The confusion from nearly identical names is the problem. A clear campaign by Democrats to reveal this and to separate him from his son is the solution.
Eric73 (Naperville, IL)
@Marc, the Torres campaign actually addresses this on its website.
Véronique (Princeton NJ)
This man is not a Democrat and should be thrown out of the party. Its a big tent but there are limits.
Martin (Amsterdam)
I was trying to explain to my wife yesterday, in relation to the way police unions operate politically as a 'protection racket' (NYT a couple of days ago) and how porkbarrel politics and C. Wright Mills' client networking systems on every level - many expressed in post-election favours for financial backers - mean that most seats in both houses of congress are jobs for life, and that as De Tocqueville noted nearly two centuries, or as Spock might say, 'it's not Democracy as we know it' in Europe. In many ways it's more like the kind of feudal economy of power which so shocked American occupiers in their failed attempts at state-building in Afghanistan. I was always shocked that they were shocked.
Grace (Bronx)
He simply embodies traditional Democratic values rather than Progressive values. Just another example of how the Party left the "deplorables".
Alan Gary (Brooklyn, NY)
@Grace Why would anyone support hateful, divisive behavior, yes a 'deplorable,' as embodied by this poor excuse for a man? Yes, all politics is local, but many Americans cannot understand why this man is running? Let Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr. preach his faith-based intolerance and dysfunction to his congregation, not by representing a Bronx district. The residents of this congressional district deserve better.
Robert (Los Angeles)
@Grace Homophobia and general support of Trump's agenda are not traditional Democratic values.
Livonian (Los Angeles)
@Alan Gary "Hateful?" Really? Liberals have lost sight of what "hate" means, and now just apply it to every social position which isn't absolutely up to date progressive orthodoxy, in order to define their opponents as beyond the pale. When you're running the culture, you can afford to do that. I disagree 100% with Diaz on homosexuality and gay marriage. I think he's backwards. But I don't see a man seething with "hate." I see an "open-minded" Democratic Party which demands its members engage in absolute lock-step agreement with their social agenda or be banished.
mhead (St. Paul MN)
Does the Democratic Party EVER expel anyone? If ever there was a case, this is it!
Livonian (Los Angeles)
@mhead Are you kidding? They've expelled every American unwilling to salute the latest progressive social orthodoxy sent up the flagpole. Those people are all "haters," "x-phobes," etc., etc. That's why they continue to struggle to dominate national politics though they offer the average American by far the best economic policies.
HBaeuerle (South jersey)
Have the Democratic Party expel him from their ranks and he won’t be able to run I assume..
Jonathan (Texas)
@HBaeuerle Yeah, don't dare let the voters decide. Thanks for showing what you democrats really think of voters and democracy.
Mystic Spiral (Somewhere over the rainbow)
What I don't understand is why a political party cannot reject a candidate that clearly does not follow their party tenets.... Neo Nazis (yes actual ones - look up Arthur Jones or John Fitzgerald) have run as Republicans, and though the party leaders have generally disavowed them once their views are known, there appears to be no mechanism to stop people like this from calling themselves part and running under the banner of any political party they choose. Don't the parties have at least some control over who appears on their primary ballots? If anyone can declare themselves a candidate for any party - agree or not with their platform it seems to defeat the process. I get it that a candidate may not be 100% in lockstep with his/her party - and to drown out all debate would not be healthy either, but when the person appears to hold absolutely contrary positions on much of the basic philosophy of the party they are running under, aligning much more with the opposing party, why are they accepted?
Concernicus (Hopeless, America)
@Mystic Spiral So you advocate less democracy? The very last thing I want is more corporate donors and political insiders determining who gets on a primary ballot. We have enough 'rigging', if not outright 'fixing', of primary elections as it is. I know this terrifies the donor/insiders, but how about we let the actual voters decide.
JT (Kansas)
@Mystic Spiral In addition, why must a political party allow an individual to change their party affiliation simply to run in a primary and then reverse their party affiliation after the primary whether or not they are successful, i.e. Bernie Sanders? We have many strange practices in our electoral system that do not assist in strengthening a representative democracy system.
Lynn (New York)
@Mystic Spiral In NY, to get on the Democratic primary ballot, it is not enough to "declare" yourself a Democrat, you have to get the signatures of a set number of registered Democrats on a petition to put yourself on the ballot. Unfortunately, people often sign petitions they are asked to sign without taking the time to think through what they are supporting. The argument always is, "well, it's just to get on the ballot, then the voters can decide" but, as you can see in this case, in a field with the vote split 12 ways, just getting on the ballot means you could "win" with say 10% of the vote
Barbara Manor (Germany)
"Thank you president Trump. Finally we Christian have someone who really cares for us" Is this crazy talk never going to end? Are these fariytails, lies, and destortions never going to be called out? Can one not be religious and still use ones brain in real life? Apperently people sometimes just follow and play stupid to their own demise!
Alan Gary (Brooklyn, NY)
@Barbara Manor For many, religion serves as a cover for intolerance and hatred. How can I be a bigot if I worship God and opened every Sunday in church? Rev. Diaz claims he doesn't hate gay people, but he'll do everything possible to keep them marginalized, second-class citizens. Why? Not because he's a bigot. Nope, because of his religion. I hope the people of the Bronx are enlightened enough to see through this ruse and vote for anyone else.
Brian Pottorff (New Mexico)
Why do you get to call yourself a Democrat if you have a Republican heart?
Lynn (New York)
For a while I was on Diaz Sr's mailing list---horrible horrible horrible "alerts" to danger----a steady stream of Fox-like lies, hate-spewing diatribes, really seemed like mental illness.
Lara (Brownsville)
The problem of Evangelical Latinos within the Democratic party goes beyond the Bronx. Poor Latinos, mainly immigrants and children of immigrants elsewhere in the country, are often attracted by social benefit programs sustained by churches in their neighborhoods. Often, pastors who are assisted by the Republican party and conservative donors, adopt positions such as opposition to abortion and gay rights within districts that have been traditionally democratic. If pastors preach that the Bible is the word of God, and it says that abortion and homosexuality are sins, that becomes more important than the social and economic interests of poor, working class, people.
pb (calif)
He is not alone. There are several politicians of note who pretend to be Democrats but are Republicans. They should all be voted out.
Real Epidemiologists (Never Shake Hands)
"Thank you, President Trump. Finally we Christians have someone who really cares for us." I guess as long as you hold up the Bible, you're in like Flynn, even though you had to gas and bully your way there to a church where you've never been inside. Emotions are so much more powerful than rational thinking.
Jonathan (Texas)
@Real Epidemiologists Trump has been fighting for the right of Christians (and other religions) to be allowed to congregate again at their places of worship, while democrats have been against it, wanting people to just have the right to protest violently in the streets. This shows one reason that they support him.
Fanta (Long Island city)
Separate Church and State.? The progressive left wholeheartedly supported Rev Bob Drinan for Congress in 1970 for his opposition to the Vietnam War. The Pope finally removed him making way for Barney Frank. Father Drinan also opposed abortion and “gay rights”
music observer (nj)
Not a big surprise, Diaz like his father before him, are religious extremists and they appeal to the many pentacostal practitioners in the hispanic and African American communities in his district. This is literally the poorest congressional district in the country, and many of the people there don't care that Diaz is homophobic or his stance on abortion, what they care about is that like Hamas among the Palestinians, he actually has brought results there as an activist and assemblyman. The sad truth is many of them might look at him voting for Trump as defiance against the establishment, rather than looking at it as him voting for someone who sees them all as sub human. And given you have a bunch of contenders all preening themselves as the next great hope, and it isn't hard to see why someone like Diaz would be elected.
Lui Cartin (Rome)
The fact that he supports Trump as a "christian" really says it all. Low level political antics, but not looking hard, in depth at the issues.
john fiva (switzerland)
With a little therapy I'm sure he'll be fine. Seriously, I don't think all Democrats should look and think alike and if it gets to that point, I 'm sure Nancy P. and Mr. Rodriguez will find something to talk about.
BlueHaven (Ann Arbor, MI)
This will be the next strategy of the failed GOP. They are hellbent on pushing unpopular policies using trickery, division, and deceit. Research your candidates people and vote smartly!
Jeff (Oregon)
The beauty and danger of letting “the people” vote means sometimes they elect a bad person. Trump anyone?
Concernicus (Hopeless, America)
@Jeff Trump is bad to your side of the people. To the other side of the people---who count every bit as much as you or me--Trump is who they want. He is not a "bad person."
Jeff (Oregon)
He is a terrible person. His record shows it in hundreds of ways.
Clio (NY Metro)
Why will he NOT be identified on the ballot as “Senior” to avoid confusing him with his son, also a politician? That seems like a very bad practice.
trudds (sierra madre, CA)
Two thoughts 1. All politics is local 2. Given any real chance, the Democratic Party often clutches defeat from the jaws of victory. As an aside, there are several really great candidates there. Do they have to chew each other up and let this "gentleman" win? Please don't.
S Geis (New Hempstead, New York)
Primary races like this one or the NY-17 (Westchester and Rockland) race illustrate why New York state needs ranked choice voting for primaries.
Paul Zagieboylo (Austin, TX)
@S Geis Why just for primaries? Ranked choice voting eliminates the need for party primaries, because it's equivalent to doing an instant primary during the resolution of the entire vote. In fact, it's even better because it lets third-party candidates meaningfully participate as well, by allowing their votes to devolve to another party if it turns out that the third-party doesn't really have that much support.
Rebecca Anne (Detroit)
There is a simple solution here: the other 11 candidates need to get together, decide whose running against Diaz, and then the other 10 need to drop out and endorse the person remaining.
Concernicus (Hopeless, America)
@Rebecca Anne So simple that it is ridiculous. Would you be willing to be one of the other 10 to drop out? I get it for the ones polling in single digits who have no real shot. But if you were in the top three or four who could win, would you step aside for the chosen one?
Jonathan Katz (St. Louis)
Bravo for him! A man who thinks for himself, takes religion seriously, isn't afraid to show it and cares enough about health and safety to hand out (and wear) face masks.
Ashley (vermont)
@Jonathan Katz takes religion seriously = not separating church and state and openly supporting the removal of hard earned rights.
BlueHaven (Ann Arbor, MI)
@Jonathan Katz Are you Jonathan Katz or Hugo Furst?
Artreality (Philadelphia)
@Jonathan Katz ...what a guy!
Hugo Furst (La Paz, Texas)
God Bless the Man! If there were more pro-life, populist, god-fearing Democrats, they'd get my money and my vote.
Aaron (McKinney, TX)
@Hugo Furst Genuine question. Why is "god-fearing" a good quality? Why is it admirable to be scared of something that is supposed to be loving? I don't get it.
BlueHaven (Ann Arbor, MI)
@Hugo Furst and the majority of us would still oppose their policies.
@Hugo Furst There are! They are called right-wing fanatics.
John Jabo (Georgia)
This would be quite funny if it were not so sad.
Teholt05 (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Please for the love don't let this happen... that's the last thing we need. We are seeing the end result of having someone like Diaz in congress... it's a lose-lose proposition. It would be easier to go down the line of any elected official supported by the Tea Party and vote them out accordingly. Evangelicals like him belong in a church not our House.
Harry (Pennsylvania)
Sorry. Even contemplating voting for Donald Trump is enough to indicate that Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. has no business representing a Democratic district. Why throw fuel onto the conflagration that is Trump? Why vote for someone with the same outlook?
David (Dearborn, MI)
This article is the perfect explanation why you should vote for the person, not the party!
JT (Kansas)
@David How is it a "perfect explanation" of voting for a party instead of a "person"? All of the candidates described in the article are Democrats. Are you suggesting they should vote for a Republican in November instead of Rev. Diaz simply because he appears to be a "Republican dressed in Democrat clothing"? How could that possibly be a better choice for this destrict?
Ann (New York City)
White people should mind their own business. He is liked by the community he has served for decades, but you want "change" just to push an ideological agenda, just like Mr. Diaz Sr. Let the community determine what's best for the,.
WesternMass (Western Massachusetts)
When Diaz was in the New York State legislature he had a very negative impact on everybody in the state, not just the Bronx.
Mark Baer (Pasadena, CA)
This is an example of why labels are not only limiting, but can be misleading. Rev. Rubén Díaz Sr. is a Democrat is name only.
Political buffoonery is obviously an equal opportunity affliction.
Boneisha (Atlanta GA)
I wish the op-ed had answered the one question I'm still puzzled about, namely, does the top vote-getter win the primary election no matter the percentage of the vote he or she receives, or is there a threshold that must be reached in order to avoid a runoff?
koyaanisqatsi (Upstate NY)
" 'absolute embarrassment to the Bronx,' said Assemblyman Michael Blake...?" How do you think I feel? I live in a Western New York County that voted for Trump by 2:1 in 2016. Probably will vote for Trump and against their best interests again. I cannot explain it.
David MD (NYC)
I read about Rev. Diaz's candidacy somewhere else about a month ago and the impression that I received is that he is very, very well supportive of his constituency. It is startling to read an article where the needs, mostly economic, of a district are not taken into account and instead the national agenda is given priority. For example, this article addresses abortion, it addresses gay rights, but it does not address the NYC housing shortage and the high cost of housing in NYC, something that might be of particular interest to a poorer Congressional District. It also does not emphasize job creation. In fact, progressive AOC, was against 25,000 Amazon HQ2 jobs with 11,000 union construction jobs. The 25,000 Amazon jobs were half high-tech and half support jobs such as human relations. Amazon was also to pay $25 billion in taxes that would have particularly helped with projects in the poorer parts of the city. I feel certain people in this district are interested in quality high paying jobs, but AOC and her fellow progressives are the ones responsible for chasing Amazon and their jobs away.
M (Brooklyn)
Because it's overwhelmingly Democratic, not overwhelmingly progressive. Depressing but this is a natural end result of every "vote blue no matter who" sloganeer.
music observer (nj)
@M No, it isn't, it is the fact that voting blue is all people in that area have, despite the fact that they are an area that before the gentrification driven by Wall St has driven, is the poorest in the country. The Democrats pretend to care and have tried to do something, but the republicans after the time of Rockefeller are the party of white supremacy and the idea that tax cuts to the Koch brothers were gonna make these people's lives better, that cutting welfare and social safety net programs will help the people in places like the South Bronx, because they will be 'forced to pull themselves up by their bootstraps". When your choice is a party that at least pretends to care and tries, however ineffectively, versus a party that sees them as a bunch of lazy, inferior people, not much choice.
Bib Itty (Florida)
Sounds like a VERY weak Democratic Party ... back in the day Party’s used to have enough influence with would be candidates to convince 5 of those folks to withdraw and the one Party endorsed candidate gets the Governor’s support bringing free media and focus from volunteers and donors... I am assuming one of the other candidates for the values of the majority of the Bronx and against the so called president.
Patrick (LI,NY)
Separation of Church and State. There will always be problems when elected representatives can not separate their religious ideology ( their personal relationship with the god to whom they pray ) and the welfare of their constituents.
Paul Zagieboylo (Austin, TX)
This is why we need ranked choice voting. It just plain doesn't matter how splintered your faction is when votes for losing candidates automatically transfer to their next-best choice. It's like having a tree of primaries for every sub-party and sub-sub-party, instantly. The only downside is that people will have to think about their vote a little more, and, doesn't that seem like a good idea?
Jim (NC)
I'm not endorsing Mr. Diaz's views, but I think the blank-eyed surprise that characterizes this article is what you get when the Times assumes African-American and Hispanic voters are monolithic, reliably left-wing blocs. Like all kinds of people, they, and life, are more nuanced and complicated than the things you take for granted about them.
Bib Itty (Florida)
The presumption is that folks who voted for overwhelmingly for Hillary would not be well represented by someone with very conservative positions and that likely will support the so-called president.
Dana (BK)
@Jim Exactly. The line "If Mr. Díaz were to win, he would create a headache for the party and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, handing an otherwise reliable Democratic seat to an apostate who would gleefully buck party leadership" is particularly bewildering. Might it be the voters like that?
JORMO (Tucson, Arizona)
@Jim Not surprised, and I do not assume all people of color are reliably left wing. But why is this guy not a Republican? He doesn't represent liberal values.
Megan (Toronto, Canada)
What do you expect when 12 candidates are in a primary? This seems inevitable.
Linda Burnham (Saxapahaw, NC)
What a well-written story. Really complex and thoughtfully researched. I got all the way through it, and I'm not even from New York.
neetz (NY)
Not a true New Yorker. An opportunist for sure. Of all the places he shouldn't be - New York shouldn't be it. He needs to go; should've been gone a long time ago.
LesISmore (RisingBird)
@neetz NIMBY? What makes a TRUE New Yorker?
Rebecca (Chicago)
@neetz A true New Yorker is exactly what he is! I lived in your burg for 18 years and saw this kind of thing over and over again!
Jen Italia (San Francisco)
@neetz Where are you suggesting Mr Diaz go?
Bonku (Madison)
Race has a very close connection with religion, and racism with religious fundamentalism. The perception of "superior race" arises from both political and religious reasons. That's how African-Arab looking Jesus Christ gradually became a White European looking man with blue eyes and blonde hair. And both race and religion need political patronization to even survive, leave alone flourishing as both invoke raw emotion and offer generationally guaranteed vote bank for political parties. There are so many Democratic leaders and other supporters who are highly religious and many fundamentalists among all the religious groups, not just Christians. So many racial and religious minority people use the party for personal reasons. and not much for the democratic ideology of secularism.
See also