Stephen P. Canzoneri, President of the Nassau Young Republicans issued a press release on the groups website reacting to the shift in voter enrollment to republicans where he says "Quite honestly, it’s sad. Nassau has always been known for being the strongest Republican Party in the country. And today we have nothing to show for it.”
Previously he was warning republicans about the impending change and suggested republicans "encourage" friends and family to register as republicans. I wrote on this site that "...there is more to it than just "encouraging" people to enroll as republicans. Republicans need to convince voters that they are a viable party with the ideas to make things better. They have not done that."
In this new release, Canzoneri shows that he understands that there are major problems within the Nassau GOP "The Nassau GOP needs a new direction and implement new strategies. We can no longer stand idle as we have done for over the past ten years. The YRs have been actively seeking new members since we were reformed in 2001, but we can’t do this alone.”
“We need to use more than just WD-40 on this once powerful Republican machine. We need to get some replacement parts.”
This is an open attack on the leadership of Joe Mondello and the old guard who use the young possible up and comers in the party as glorified interns. I have only seen open dissension by a nassau young republican once before. Usually, complaints about the party are done anonymously which means there is no hope in sight for change.
The next few elections locally will be a make or break for the republicans. I don't see them winning control of the legislature or any of the county-wide seats now held by Democrats. Why? Because they don't have what Stephen calls "replacement parts."
Being the majority party for so long, the republicans have made their lines of succession rather strict. There is an order to who gets to run for what. The NYS Assembly is used as a place to gain name recognition and "experience" and then that person returns to Nassau to run for local office like Mondello, Gulotta, O'Shea, O'Connell, Labriola, Murray, etc, etc. Then you have the "legacy" candidates who are sons or daughters of former or current prominent republicans who offer nothing but a recognizable name in the district. Then you have the scrappy fighters who worked their way through the party system for many years who are then allowed to run for office.
The problem for the republicans is that right now there are to many people on line and have been for years. That blocks the younger and possibly more talented from moving up.
The republicans in office right now are the product of the old system where talent wasn't needed because voters reflexivly pulled the lever for republicans and in republican-dominated areas they continue to win simply because they have been around.
And of course you have the politicians who just won't let go. They have been in office for years and just won't move on. Some could retire and the republican party can still keep the seat but those electeds just won't leave. If you look at the relatively young Nassau County Legislature, the Democrats have not been idle. Brian Muellers and Lisanne Altman served and moved on to the private sector, Craig Johnson went to the State Senate, and Dave Mejias sought a congressional seat. The only republican that left the legislature of his own volition was Sal Pontillo.
Then you have message. Or lack of message.
Democrats have been winning republican districts which means that the republicans don't have the message voters trust.
Every election cycle brings out the same talking-points which have been losing for years. You'll hear a slogan or two but no substance. The simple fact is that republicans have not convinced voters to vote for them or now to register as a party member. Of course national events have an effect and voters are running from the Party of Bush as fast as they can.
The nassau republicans won't be able to do anything until they tip over the dais with the old guard on it and replace them. Start a cycle of retirements to replace or try to replace local elected officials with younger people with new ideas and take over the committee and make the changes that need to be made. The problem is that the old guard, especially those with plum positions, will hold onto those positions with a death-grip.
Canzoneri wants to revive a party that is already in rigor-mortis. What he said should have been said years ago.