Connections: Primary Colors

Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren are my kind of candidates. They both gave long interviews on TV the other night, and I was glued to the set — convinced either could take the country back to having an intelligent and thoughtful president instead of the carnival barker who holds the office now. (Although, if we’re using circus terminology, it might be more appropriate to call him a clown. After all, it isn’t just Krusty the Clown in “The Simpsons” who is in disrepute these days: Today, everyone talks about being scared of clowns. But they have always been, it seems to me, as menacing as they are amusing. Children seated around me alternated between screams of laughter and just plain screams when a family friend introduced me to the Barnum & Bailey Circus as a child. But I digress. . . .)

We had first heard of Ms. Gillibrand decades ago, when she was a candidate for the House of Representatives. East Hampton’s Judith Hope, who was then among New York State’s political leaders, told us about her. And, after all, she not only was a Democrat, but — like my son David and his late father, as well as, in four years, fingers crossed, my eldest granddaughter — a Dartmouth graduate.

It was probably always obvious that I had Democratic leanings throughout my 20-year tenure as the editor of The Star, although then as now we hew to what might be considered the antiquated and very rigorous rules of journalism, and  I always eschewed formal party registration. The idea is that it is vital for a journalist to retain political independence. 

Many readers over the years would think this all was a ruse, that we were trying to trick them — people’s capacity to believe in elaborate tricks and conspiracies rather than the simpler truth has proven, over the last two years, quite astonishing — but to this day I am not a member of a political party. Perhaps that’s a good thing, given today’s internecine fighting among local Dem­ocrats, squabbling that has propelled one man and his friends to establish themselves as the Reform Democrats. Anyway, I am unable to take part in primary elections, which are often at least as significant as the main show; this seems to be the case this year, when the East Hampton Town Board is already 100 percent Democratic. 

Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren have similar ideas about what the country needs today. Ms. Gillibrand’s aura is feminine, even when her speeches are in high gear. Ms. Warren’s language is straightforward and hard-nosed, befitting her professorial background. She leaves no room for you to question her credentials.

Now that I am what might be called editor emeritus at The Star, the time may have come to speak for myself. The actual editor’s opinions are consistently expressed here on the editorial page of The Star, as are those of The Star’s most long-lived writer, Jack Graves, who tends to wax exoteric. Neither David nor Jack has committed himself to Ms. Gillibrand or Ms. Warren — yet. Frankly, I hope they do.