Not long after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Democratic Socialists of America released a statement that drew instant reproof.
The group condemned the invasion, but also urged the United States “to withdraw from NATO and to end the imperialist expansionism that set the stage for this conflict.”
The position — a watered-down version of a prior, even more pointed statement from the group’s international committee — drew rebukes from a White House spokesman and from a number of Democratic candidates and elected officials, from Long Island congressional contenders to officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But in the New York City area, where the D.S.A.’s largest chapter wields substantial influence, it has also created a challenging dynamic for politicians aligned with the organization.
In the state’s 16th Congressional District, a refugee from Kosovo is making foreign policy central to his primary challenge of Representative Jamaal Bowman, a former middle school principal from Yonkers who rose to power with support from the Democratic Socialists of America.
In New York City, Democratic congressional candidates are debating America’s role in the world. And even before D.S.A.’s most recent statement, City Council members were clashing over the history of American and NATO intervention.
With a majority of Americans backing Ukraine as it struggles to repel a bloody, often live-streamed Russian invasion, the D.S.A.’s desire for a policy discussion about NATO appears to have sown unease in campaign circles: None of the nine New York City candidates the D.S.A. endorsed this year would consent to an interview on the topic, even as more centrist Democrats are now using the subject as a cudgel. [Continue reading…]