The top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said there are parallels between the conservative reaction to President Barack Obama and the Republican Party a decade ago and the leftward tilt of newly elected lawmakers today.

Melissa DeRosa, the secretary to the governor and top staffer in the administration, called the veiled threats of primary challenges from progressives to incumbents perceived to be too moderate as “dangerous” and “counterproductive” to accomplishing a broader agenda.

“I think they have a place in democracy. I think that they are useful,” DeRosa said at a Crain’s breakfast event on Thursday morning.

“I think it actually makes you have to exercise muscles you may not otherwise exercise. But I think that the casual threats and the ‘I’m going to primary you if you don’t agree with me,’ sitting in my safe district when you’re in another state or in another district when I don’t necessarily understand the people that you represent or the dynamics and by the way they may not agree with you. So that’s what I was speaking to.”

Democratic incumbents in both Congress and in the state Legislature are already bracing for the possibility of primary challenges from an active progressive grassroots.

Adding fuel to the potential primaries was a state budget that for some new lawmakers did not go far enough on issues like changing the state’s campaign finance laws. Lawmakers and Cuomo agreed to the creation of a commission that will determine regulations and provisions for a public financing system for campaigns.

Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, disappointed by the budget deals, released an email to supporters last week saying lawmakers beholden to special interests have been identified.

But DeRosa pointed to the dynamics of the state itself — a politically complicated collection of liberal enclaves in New York City, with more moderate and conservative voters in the suburbs and upstate.

“I think the scary thing that’s happening right now is we have Democrats in safe seats that are imposing their own beliefs and their own ideological purity tests on other Democrats and saying, ‘If you’re not willing to go far enough, then I who have the luxury because I sit in a safe seat am going to spend my time trying to damage you and take you out and potentially raise somebody else up in that seat who I think is better who by the way may or may not have a better chance of winning in the general election.’ And then what happens when you lose the majority?” she said.

Cuomo himself turned aside a primary challenge last year against Cynthia Nixon, an actress and education advocate.

But incumbent lawmakers, including those in the Independent Democratic Conference, lost their primary races last year against challengers on the left.