A sadder and more disappointing decision in the race for the next Brooklyn D.A. could not be imagined. After Charles (Joe) Hynes claimed several times that he would not run as a Republican and, instead, prepare the way for a smooth transition for the next District Attorney–almost certain to have been Ken Thompson–he has allowed hubris and perhaps a need for revenge to color his thinking. By running as a Republican, Hynes reveals a lack of loyalty to his party and brazen dishonesty. Whatever reasons he gives, Hynes is 77 years old and his office is in disarray over several issues, amongst them favoritism toward the Hasidic community by squelching child abuse cases until it was no longer possible to do so and many wrongful murder convictions. The primary voters rejected him by a full ten percentage points but only a small percentage of Democrats ever vote in the primary. He has been convinced by opportunistic Republicans that he would have won the primary with a larger turnout.
Even if the above were true, Hynes should not be running again; in fact he should have resigned before the primary. A man his age, even one with a stellar record, should be willing to step down and allow ‘new blood’ to take over. He has held his office too long, a good twenty-five years, partly as a result of his being a Democrat and partly through voter indifference. Surely his record is not so good as to justify deserting his own party. Hynes’s decision to run with a new party is akin to a man dumping his wife of fifty years to take up with a twenty-something model. How can such a man be trusted? Perhaps the loss of trust is indicative that he never should have been trusted in the first place. Has he ever been anything different than what he appears to be now? I hope the people of Brooklyn are able to see his vanity for what it is and vote for Thompson.
An even worse form of cynical politics is likely at play here as well. While Hynes is using the Republicans, they are using him. Why, however, do they think that Hynes might win? The answer is, as they say, hidden in plain sight. Most people vote for minor elected office on name recognition. The Republicans are banking on the possibility that Democrats will simply pull the lever for the candidate who’s been in office for twenty-five years, not even caring or knowing what his office has done. (And neither do the Republicans themselves give a damn about the Brooklyn DA’s office, only about getting power.) Given the dysfunction in US politics on display right now, they may well be right. It will be up to the Democrats to surface these possibilities before the election.