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In politics, keeping your seat as an incumbent is the biggest goal you have. No politician will admit to this, of course, but getting re-elected is just as important as passing forward-thinking legislation and keeping jobs in the district he/she represents. Becoming a state senator or congressman for a two-year term is comparable to an all expenses paid vacation. Free meals and drinks are everywhere, and all you have to do is show up for roll call when the House is in session. You get summers off and pandering to your key demographic goes way farther than it should.
If your voting record aligns with your districts views come election season, it is very difficult for a challenger to beat you out for that seat. I won’t get into the fiasco that is term-limits in America, but suffice it to say some people make a career out of being a state senator or congressman. Martin Malve Dilan is a prime example. He’s represented the 18th district of New York City for 14 years, which includes Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and parts of Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, and Cypress Hills. Presently, he’s in a little bit of a battle just to win his primary election against a woman named Debbie Medina.
The 18th district is most of Brooklyn. This means hipsters everywhere. I’m sure long-time residents of the area like Dilan loathe these people with the fire of a thousand suns, which makes his accusation against Medina an all-time burn.
[Dilan] is claiming that the powers behind his insurgent challenger, Debbie Medina, are the same young professionals rapidly gentrifying the longtime Latino district under the guise of being reformers.
Before Lena Dunham came along way back in 2008, the 18th district of NYC would have been looked at by most as a bad neighborhood to live in. It’s only a guess, but I would venture to say that pre-2008 (ish), there were not a lot of college-educated yuppies and hipsters living in Bed-Stuy or Bushwick. It just wasn’t an area where people willingly moved. So, obviously, present day Bushwick and it’s surrounding areas are crazy expensive. You have one bedroom apartments going for $2,200 dollars and up.
Gentrification is in full swing, and like it or not, there isn’t anything or anyone that is going to stop it from happening. Dilan, the incumbent, has accused Medina of running her campaign with the help of the people who are gentrifying the neighborhood and raising the cost of living. Whether this is just Dilan throwing shit at the wall and seeing if it will stick remains to be seen, but I can’t fault the guy for it. Dilan is a latino Senator in a neighborhood that used to be predominately latino. This has helped him keep his seat for 14 years, but I have a feeling many of his latino supporters have been pushed out of their homes because of soaring rent. He’s on the hot seat and bashing your opponent usually works to a certain degree.
“I remember going around to the high schools and telling the kids to get an education because if they don’t, then one day they might not be able to afford to live here. Then the young professionals started moving in and the community accepted them, and people started selling their houses at a huge profit…”
That is a quote from Senator Dilan, and while I agree with what he said, I think accusing his challenger of having his campaign run SOLELY by young professionals is him grasping at straws. Yes, people hate yuppies. That is not new. Dilan is clearly feeling some pressure from Medina, though, and telling constituents that his opponents campaign is run by young, affluent white people is just him “going negative.” Most campaigns don’t go negative unless they have to so clearly Dilan just got some bad polling results laid down in front of him. The primary election is on September 13th, and for the rest of the time that Dilan and Medina have left before voters take to the polls, it is going to be labeled a battle between the hipsters and the lifelong residents. Brooklynites versus Marnie and Jessa. Dilan’s definitely reaching with his accusations that Medina’s sole interest is in gentrifying the neighborhood, but the burn might just help him win the primary and get re-elected. Whatever it takes to win, right? .
Image via Youtube