Responding to Dicker, Sharpton urges Democrats not to be ‘inflexible’

Cuomo and Sharpton. (Savulich via www.nydailynews.com)
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In Fred Dicker's column this morning, the reason Governor Andrew Cuomo, four members of the Independent Democratic Conference, and two other state senators elected on the Democratic Party line, may help Republicans keep control of the State Senate is because of "[t]alk-show host and racial agitator Al Sharpton’s 'stupid' involvement" in the dispute.

Sharpton had scheduled a meeting this weekend with lawmakers to discuss the uncertain future of the upper chamber, but canceled the meeting after it was reported by the Daily News. (Sharpton said it was turning into a "media circus.")

"Sharpton’s efforts and the announcement of a planned Harlem meeting intensified a long-existing racial divide among Senate Democrats, a dozen of whom are African-American," Dicker wrote this morning, citing unnamed sources.

"There's terrible racial tension in their ranks," he said on his radio show earlier today.

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But Rachel Noerdlinger, a spokesman for Sharpton, downplayed the racial dynamics when asked about Dicker's report, and said Sharpton would urge black and Latino senators to make "allowances" in order to keep conservative Democrats in the fold, and not to be "so inflexible that they can't agree" on whichever leader is chosen.

Noerdlinger emailed in response to my questions:

"One, Mr. Dicker made the entirely false assumption that Rev. Sharpton was meeting to support an individual candidate. He is not supporting any one candidate. The collective was meeting and still will privately to urge to Blacks and Latinos not to fight among each other and to make allowances for conservative Democrats as has been done on the national level so the majority can be maintained. Rev. Sharpton supported most of the Senate Democrats and is appealing to them to not be so inflexible that they can't agree on whomever is chosen. Secondly, in reference to the comment that Rev. Sharpton is a paid member of the media, why is he being singled out? Like Rev. Sharpton, Fox News Channel's Mike Huckabee has his own television show and he was a main speaker at the Republican National Convention. What bars a TV host from working to a unify his or her party? The same entity that owns Fox News Channel owns the New York Post where Mr. Dicker works. There should be the same set of standards."

Cuomo and Sharpton have a long and complicated relationship.: supportive at times, occasional spats in public, often strategic and, when necessary, transactional.