AARON BENNETT: One of the things I like most about our party is the wide spectrum of ideas under our tent. We rarely walk in ideological lockstep; we aren’t afraid to debate ideas on health care or education or immigration or almost any other subject.
That’s why Max Rose has a bright future in the Democratic Party – despite not being as boldly progressive as the candidates I profiled earlier.
He certainly isn’t afraid to speak his mind, speaking out against party stalwarts like Mayor DeBlasio and Leader Pelosi. He places blame for our currently political situation – rightfully so – on both parties. And he frames himself as an independent thinker and a fighter for his Staten Island district.
These traits stem from his military background, having earned a Purple Heart in Afghanistan. He jokes: "It took me a while to become a proficient soldier, but I still feel to this day that the Army gives me far more than I could ever give it each and every day.” He’s found his veteran status is an asset on the trail, lending him clarity of vision and credibility to speak on important issues.
His background and his stances are critical components of what Rose thinks is a winning formula in Trump country. New York’s 11thCongressional District is the only New York City district that is currently held by a Republican – Rep. Dan Donovan. The district also fits the profile of a top Democratic target: it went for Donald Trump in 2016, but Barack Obama in 2012. We can learn lessons from how Rose approaches this race, potentially offering guidance on how Democrats should approach the 2020 presidential election. If the moderate, centrist play works here (and in similar districts across the country), it may become an appealing strategy to recapture the White House.
But, according to his own admission, New York’s 11th“votes for the person, not the party.” So is there more to Rose than just political strategy?
Yes – Rose has it. He’s strong, but likeable. His ads are short but pack a punch, using tough language and bold ideas while earning tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of views. He hustles all over the state, refusing to leave doors unknocked or voters unconvinced. And above all else, he passes the “beer test” – critical in a district that represents Staten Island.
Look out for Rose on Election Day – and maybe even a run for Mayor or Governor someday. New Yorkers love the independent thinker who’s not afraid to buck the party line.