Here in New York, there are more than 6.7 million voters enrolled as Democrats and more than 2.9 million enrolled as Republicans.
But when it comes to selecting the candidates to be our next governor, the leaders of the respective political parties and a small cabal of influential supporters don’t want input from any of those voters.
Instead , they want to select their candidates now, making the nominations seem like a foregone conclusion before any actual public vote is taken.
In zeroing in on a nominee now — more than a year before the actual election — they hope to discourage others within the party from seeking the nomination and then engaging in a messy, primary campaign in which candidates within each party point out one another’s deficiencies to voters.
Most importantly to party leaders, advancing one nominee now will have the effect of coalescing the big political donations around one candidate early so the party can save its money for the general election.
On Monday, state Democratic Party leader Jay Jacobs, disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hand-picked party chair, announced his support for Cuomo’s lieutenant governor and now the current governor, Kathy Hochul, to be the party’s standard-bearer in next November’s election.
The endorsement came just two months after Hochul was elevated to the governor’s office and despite the fact that other potential Democratic candidates haven’t even gotten out of the starting gate with their campaigns.
The field of potential challengers to Hochul for the nomination includes state Attorney General Letitia James, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
It’s not just Democrats trying to end the nomination process before it begins.
In June, state Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy led a contingent of county GOP chairs and state committee members to rally around their preferred candidate for the nomination, Congressman Lee Zeldin.
Yet there are other viable candidates seeking the nomination, including former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who lost to Cuomo in 2014, and Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Those millions of Republican and Democratic voters in New York deserve the opportunity to hear from all the candidates who want to be governor and to decide for themselves who should represent their party next November.
The decision shouldn’t be made by a small handful of party leaders whose only goal is to push their own agenda on the voters they claim to represent.
New Yorkers deserve to have their voices heard.
The party leaders have demonstrated, instead, that they want them silenced.