Can a White Libertarian Man Represent NY's Chinatown? Meet Dan O'Connor.


Meet Dan O'Connor, a self-described libertarian Democrat who wants to represent New York's District 12—which includes Chinatown and parts of Queens and Brooklyn—in Congress.

O'Connor spent six years living in China, so he feels a connection to the inhabitants of Manhattan's Chinatown, who he says share his views that taxes and regulations on businessess are too high, immigration laws too onerous, and school-choice programs too small. Those positions play well in the rest of the district across the East River too, he says. So does his belief that defense spending should be cut and troops brought home, that the Federal Reserve should be audited, and that politicians should be term-limited. Indeed, should O'Connor manage to unseat the Democractic incumbent, Nydia Velazquez, in September's primary, he's pledged to serve no more than four terms.

O'Connor faces an uphill struggle, for sure. Reason's Matt Welch spoke with him at last summer's FreedomFest in Las Vegas, and his ideas are striking for their uniqueness among office seekers calling themselves Democrats. This interview in no way represents an endorsement, but there's no doubt O'Connor is an interesting character with whom to spend a few minutes.

His website is here.

About 4 minutes. Shot by Jim Epstein and Zach Weissmueller and edited by Joshua Swain.

Held each July in Las Vegas, FreedomFest is attended by around 2,000 limited-government enthusiasts and libertarians a year. Reason.tv spoke with over two dozen speakers and attendees and will be releasing interviews over the coming weeks. For an ever-growing playlist, go here now.

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  1. that’s a bridge too far from chinatown to brooklyn esp when drunk. damn those 1930’s width lanes

    1. Huh?? It’s a straight shot over the Manhattan Bridge from Canal to Flatbush, you don’t even have to turn (or contend with spiral on-ramps like the BK Bridge); great for late-night runs on the motorcycle.

  2. yep, straight but narrow. obviously not designed for drunk driving

  3. Huh, my wife’s extended family still lives in Queens. I’ll now have her harrass them into voting for this guy.

    1. Your wife’s from Hong Kong, right? Is her extended family progressive?

      1. Actually they’re a-political so far as I can tell. But I don’t think they’re hardcore progs. I just assumed the ones who stayed in Queens when my wife and her immediate family moved to Texas were regular NYC machine dems.

  4. It would be great if this guy could get elected, but I doubt it’s possible in NYC. Nydia Velazquez might look very liberal to the rest of America, but she’s distinctly mainstream in NYC.

    1. Velasquez only wants to kill *some* of the Kulaks.

    2. One dude I became buddies with a while ago was an Italian-American from southern Brooklyn who was basically Ron Paul (except his pro-choice position) in ideology, almost issue-for-issue, and he said one of his reason for moving to North Carolina from NYC was everybody from his own family to his girlfriend gave him so much shit for being a conservative Republican. It’s a good thing none of us (John-esques and Epi-esques alike) live in NYC.

      1. I think there are a few.

      2. “It’s a good thing none of us live in NYC.”

        Heh, that’s funny.

        Velazquez and her ilk win thanks more to machine politics than anything else. New Yorkers, especially outside Manhattan, are far more diverse politically than the stereotype says.

      3. I live in NYC. There are more libertarians here than you’d think. Mostly we just live like Jews in Tsarist Russia, thankful for the small freedoms we do get and praying that the government doesn’t see fit to pay too much attention to us.

        1. Proud resident of The People’s Republic of Brooklyn since 2005 when the Army Corps of Engineers’ astoundingly shoddy levies collapsed and washed away my beloved NOLA neighborhood.

        2. tooch, is that you?

  5. Is this the same fellow who ran for public advocate a few years ago on a platform of “…show[ing] up to work just long enough to fire the staff and padlock the office doors closed“?

    1. Sounds like the department in “Parks and Recreation”

  6. He should have branded himself a Bourbon Democrat. They’re the only sort of Democrats, EVER, to have done shit in the right direction when given such high positions of power.

    1. The Bourbon Democrats were an important part of the implementation of Jim Crow, passed to ensure that poor blacks and their poor white allies in the Populist movement couldn’t threaten their political power. Nobody should claim to be a Bourbon Democrat.

      1. How about Bourbon, Scotch and Whiskey Democrats?

      2. No, they didn’t. Nominal association with the Redeemers by party membership, considering this is one of the two primary parties in the country, doesn’t make what you’re saying true.

        1. You’re confusing the Redeemers, who ended Reconstruction, with the people who introduced Jim Crow. It took several years after the end of Reconstruction for the implementation of segregation and disenfranchisement (which I’m putting together but were two separate processes themselves). The Bourbons did so to eliminate the political risk to their own power by the possibility of a class-based populist party..

  7. “a self-described libertarian Democrat

    Does that still make him a cunt?

    1. Hes a politician isnt he?

  8. “a self-described libertarian Democrat”

    Does not compute.

    1. Maybe he is democrat the same way Ron Paul is republican. Using the party as a vehicle for the larger cause.

  9. Trying to figure out why he’s a Dem. Does he approve of any Dem policies?

    1. He wants to get elected in NYC. Thats why.

    2. “his belief that defense spending should be cut and troops brought home”

      Until January of 2009, this was a Democrat position…

    3. He approves of their policy of actually getting elected.

    4. Because getting elected with anything other than a ‘D’ after your name in NYC is slightly easier than climbing Mount Everest in your skivvies.

      1. Unless your name is Giuliani or Bloomberg, of course.

    5. I meet someone who called them selves a pre-roosevelt democrat. Which he admitted pretty much meant he hasn’t agreed with much of the democrat party has done since.

  10. OT: Paul Deen has diabeetus, gets paid millions for it.

    1. She’s no Wilfred Brimley.

      1. Heh. I was thinking of those Yul Brynner smoking commercials.

        “Hi, Ah’m Paula Deen and I’m dead now. Sugar killed me.”

    2. Someone sugeested to me a couple of years ago that she has sex with her boys. Since then, whenever I see her sons on the show I think, yeah, that sounds about right. She is disgusting.

    3. Someone sugeested to me a couple of years ago that she has sex with her boys. Since then, whenever I see her sons on the show I think, yeah, that sounds about right. She is disgusting.

    4. Someone sugeested to me a couple of years ago that she has sex with her boys. Since then, whenever I see her sons on the show I think, yeah, that sounds about right. She is disgusting.

      1. Look at the time stamps. What the fuck, squirrels?

      2. The squirrels either strongly agree or strongly disagree.

      3. Another Libertarian that will make a great juror

        1. I refuse to serve. Try again, bitch.

  11. But I repeat myself.

    1. I see what you did there.

  12. I keep mixing up Dan O’Connor with Dan Halloran, whom I hope to see tomorrow.

    O’Connor’s statement that you can’t get a Libertarian line on a ballot in NYC elections will come as a surprise to several council candidates who’ve done it. What he means (and is correct about it) is that it’s not worthwhile to get that Libertarian line, even though it’s probably easier than getting the Democratic one — you need more signatures, but they don’t have to come from party enrollees, and they probably wouldn’t be scrutinized as much, but the Libertarian line (which Dan Halloran had among other lines) isn’t worth spit.

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    1. But how do they feel about libertarian democrats from chinatown?

  14. I don’t think that Libertarians should be associating themselves with either political party. Personally I think that the Libertarian Party needs to seriously think about working to undermine the Democrat party. Republicans are unable to be convinced to set aside their social conservative agenda, and Democrats have been almost completely infiltrated by socialists through the higher education system. I think many moderate Democrats and independants are fiscally conservative. They are prime for the picking if the Libertarian Party did the ground work and started pulling their socially liberal base out from under them. I’ve come to the conclusion that to most people the fiscal issues for some ungodly reason are less important than social issues, and voters will glom onto whatever party represents their social outlook. This is a prime opportunity for the Libertarian Party to establish its social liberal credentials and create a solid base to start effecting elections.

  15. Are term limits a libertarian principle? Shouldn’t I be able to vote for whomever I wish for as long as that person wants to run for office?

    1. They’re populist, not libertarian.

  16. this guy is so misinformed he doesnt even know that the primary will not be held in september. he has ZERO chance. chinatown is a very small portion of a predominantly latino district.

  17. he’s white. there are just as many white people as latinos. also his opponent is puerto rican. the chinese, whites and dominicans will get behind Dan. They don’t like Nydia Velazquez

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