By Karen Hinton | May 29, 2020


New York needs a Democratic-led U.S. Senate. Badly.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican troops will do nothing to protect blue states, like New York, New Jersey and California, from the coronavirus and economic crises. That’s obvious.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been demanding federal funds to aid his state and telling the McConnell battalion to “stop abusing” blue states by calling federal assistance to places with the highest number of American deaths a “blue state bailout”. McConnell also suggested the blue states file for bankruptcy, an idea that Governor Cuomo said was one of the “dumbest” ideas ever.

Many political strategists believe if President Trump is re-elected, Republicans will remain in control of the Senate. I hope they are wrong. I hope they are wrong because COVID-19 not only has killed over 100,000 Americans, the deadly virus also has exposed our nationwide refusal to remove a hornets’ nest of calamities around health, health care, income and the environment.

In other words we all, including Senator McConnell, are participating in the deaths and illnesses of our family members, friends, co-workers and strangers because we have not elected people to do what we have talked about doing for decades — reducing heart and respiratory illnesses, providing better health care, narrowing income gaps and cleaning up our environment.

Specifically, we need U.S. Senators — with or without the election of Democrat Joe Biden — who will join House members to help states hardest hit by the coronavirus and tear down this hornets’ nest that drove the U.S. death and case counts higher on a log scale than in any other country.

A Democratic-led House and Senate will give states a fighting chance to recover from the coronavirus and economic crises as soon as possible and, most importantly, conquer the health care monster within communities of color.  The lack of quality health care for low-income blacks is one of the most pressing reasons why a higher percentage of people of color have died in the pandemic.

New Yorkers must band together to put Democratic challengers in seven Senate seats: Arizona (Mark Kelly); Colorado (John Hickenlooper); Iowa (Theresa Greenfield), Montana (Steve Bullock); Mississippi (Mike Espy), Maine (Sara Gideon) and North Carolina (Cal Cunningham). They all have a shot, and donations from small to large will make a huge difference in organizing get-out-the-vote initiatives and mail-in voting efforts.

These wins will give New York what it needs to recover from the virus and the resulting economic downfall.  These wins also will pay New Yorkers for being the “canary in the coal mine” while paying more in federal taxes than they receive, a tax transaction that has been underway for decades — two points Governor Cuomo has made over and over again in his daily briefings on CNN.

The saying “canary in the coal mine” has been a frightening analogy to miners being used as the testers of deadly carbon emissions in coal mines, dating back to 1911. Over a century later, New Yorkers joined the miners and became testers, too.

New Yorkers were one of the first Americans to die or put their lives at risk to test the best-guesstimates of health safety rules to prevent deaths and illnesses of not only their family and friends but also strangers living in the rest of the country, from Florida to Missouri to Nevada.

Yet, the rules have largely worked, and the number of New York deaths, hospitalizations and virus cases have dropped significantly. Governor Cuomo also has put into place a plan for a much-feared second wave of cases. Maybe the health experts will be wrong, but they usually aren’t as wrong as the political experts.

A Republican strategist told The Washington Post recently that the 2020 election for the GOP “is a bleak picture right now all across the map.” I hope the political expert is right this time, and a health expert will gladly announce no second wave.

Meanwhile, the Post reporter concluded, “As Trump goes, so goes the Senate majority.” Maybe the reporter got it backwards. “As the Senate majority goes, so goes Trump.” And our own state.


Karen Hinton is a communications consultant and a former press secretary for Governor Andrew Cuomo when he served as HUD Secretary and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.