Few things are as frustrating for the leadership of a political party as when an elected official chooses to put the needs of his constituents before party politics. Yet regardless of how disappointed the leaders of the Democratic party may be over the fact that Senator Simcha Felder continues to caucus with the Republicans, the foolhardy efforts to throw him out of the Democratic party are likely to backfire on them.
Over the past few days it has become increasingly clear that the Democrats are hopelessly out of sync with the majority of voters in the 17th State Senatorial District, underscoring the very reason why Mr. Felder chose to caucus with the Republicans in the first place. Over the past five and half years, Mr. Felder proved himself to be a rarity in the world of politics, seeking neither publicity nor accolades as he repeatedly put his constituents ahead of his own political interests. In the process, he won the admiration and deep affection of the community.
Were the Democratic party to succeed in evicting him from their party, Mr. Felder is widely expected to win the Senate seat by running on the Republican and Conservative lines. The grateful community won’t be looking for the party affiliation when they enter the voting booths, but rather the name of the public servant who has selflessly served them. The true losers in the process are likely to be the other candidates on the democratic line and the Democratic party in general.
Instead of hounding an elected official who puts principles before politics and seeking to take revenge on Mr. Felder for refusing to kowtow to their demands, the Democrats would be better off to try to understand the reasons why this State Senator is so popular in his district. They will be able to learn much about keeping promises, showing gratitude, and respecting the wishes of constituents, and above all, consistently doing the right thing for the right reasons.