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Democrats 'Not Divided' This Time Around, Says N.Y. Superdelegate


The national conventions are a week-long spectacle for the major political parties to formally nominate their candidates for President. Last week, Joe Biden celebrated the Democratic nomination, and President Trump is expected to accept the Republican nomination on Thursday at the White House.

Those nominations are made by delegates, who make their choices based on the outcome of each state’s primary election or caucus.

Bill Buchner, WSHU: Joining us now is Emily Giske, a Democratic superdelegate from New York. Emily, thank you for joining All Things Considered.

Emily Giske: It’s great to be here.

BB: So let's first clear this up. What does it mean to be a superdelegate?

EG: Well, by definition, a delegate is a person selected to represent a group of people. As a superdelegate to the Democratic Party, I got to cast the vote so who will represent the party at the DNC national level. I am particularly honored by this designation because I was the first lesbian superdelegate from New York State. I take it very seriously because I get to represent my community and the ongoing fight for equality for LGBT people at the DNC. I was elected to be a delegate by the Democratic State Committee, and I've been a delegate at six Democratic National Conventions.

BB: And who did you nominate at this year's convention?

EG: I proudly nominated both Joe Biden for President and Kamala Harris for Vice President.

BB: And what pushed you over the edge to choose Biden? I know in the beginning you were a supporter of Kamala Harris. Did her role as vice presidential nominee have any influence?

EG: As soon as Kamala dropped out, I supported Joe Biden and I was thrilled that he selected Kamala Harris as his Vice President, but I have been supporting Joe Biden since the beginning of the year.

BB: Divisions within the Democratic Party hurt its chances in 2016. How do you think the party's nomination reaches both ends of that divide this time around with both progressive and moderate values?

EG: Democrats are not necessarily divided. They just have intense discussion. This, first of all, was the most progressive platform I have seen from the Democrats. So, I do believe that progressives like myself feel their ideals and voices are being heard. And I think this cycle where everything is very clear at what's at stake. Moderates, progressives and independents might not agree on everything, but a whole lot of us agree that we cannot afford four more years of Trump. And I think that Joe and Kamala are the team to unite.

BB: I'm thinking about the electorate on Long Island, which includes wealthy investors from Wall Street, a white working middle class, and a vocal young minority population looking for change.

And let's just take the issue of police and police reform. New York has both first in the nation police reform and staunch defenders backing the blue. So how do you recommend Biden and Harris unite the party on this issue when it's so divided?

EG: Well, New York is a very strong police reform state, it’s a very strong gun law state and it's also very supportive, especially Long Islanders and everyone in New York State, about the men and women in blue. We were 9/11 hit at the World Trade Center that impacted everyone in the country, but particularly on Long Island.

BB: The message coming out of the Republican National Convention so far this week is that a vote for Biden/Harris will be a vote for “socialists utopia”. How do you respond to something like that?

EG: I mean, the Biden/Harris ticket and the Democrats are for uniting the country to improve, continue to improve health care, to help Long Islanders in terms of battling the virus, to battle police brutality and they're very angry about police brutality and racial tensions that Trump has stirred up. And of course, Long Islanders are very upset still about the SALT deduction that Trump has undoubtedly failed his home state.

Emily Giske is a Democratic superdelegate from New York. She backed Joe Biden for president at last week’s Democratic National Convention.

On Wednesday, WSHU’s All Things Considered host Bill Buchner will speak with New York State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy about the Republican National Convention and President Trump’s run to win his home state of New York.

Bill began his radio journey on Long Island, followed by stops in Schenectady, Bridgeport, Boston and New York City. He’s glad to be back on the air in Fairfield County, where he has lived with his wife and two sons for more than 20 years.