My conservative cousin from New York writes occasionally for Power Line about the City in which he has lived his entire life. In this post, he reflects on the election of a new mayor:
The landslide election of Bill de Blasio appears at first glance to have changed dramatically New York City’s political landscape. By selecting as Mayor a man of the left, voters may have ended the 36-year dominance of a generally competent pragmatic centrist approach to municipal governance led by Mayors Koch, Giuliani, and Bloomberg. Even the four-year interlude of David Dinkins from 1989-1993 seems moderate compared to the unabashed Marxist slant of Bill de Blasio.
Our next Mayor is the son of Communist sympathizers. His mother was dismissed from her post for subversive activities during the Truman Administration.
As a young man de Blasio was a strong supporter of the Sandinista Nicaraguan Revolution. Gotham’s next Mayor claims that a visit to Nicaragua in the time of Sandinista rule inspired him to see government as a way to protect and enhance the lives of the poor. In 1990 while raising funds for the Nicaraguan Solidarity Network, de Blasio said his political goal was to bring democratic socialism to America.
While working in a low level position in the Dinkins administration, he met his wife Charlayne McCray, a lesbian activist and Black nationalist. The couple honeymooned in Cuba defying a State Department travel ban. De Blasio finds much to admire in Fidel Castro’s regime particularly the health care system.
On several occasions de Blasio has spoken of the need to build alliances with Islam. He has predicted that the Faith will soon be a dominant force in politics.
Does the election of this unabashed leftist mean that New York City has turned into an East Coast version of The People’s Republic of Berkeley? That may be much too simplistic.
Both the Democratic primary and general election saw historically low voter turnouts. De Blasio won the primary largely because his more moderate opponents (by New York City Democratic standards) imploded. In the general election he faced a GOP standard bearer who made Mitt Romney look like a warm charismatic campaigner.
Some voters also were drawn to the optics of de Blasio’s mixed race family which was endlessly featured in his campaign ads. Only 25% of eligible voters bothered to come to the polls. (No Eric Holder isn’t investigating voter suppression).
De Blasio’s support was less than overwhelming among Whites where he won 54.8% of the vote. He lost the shrinking White ethnic precincts of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island but won by landsides in wealthy areas of Manhattan and gentrifying parts of Brooklyn. De Blasio won only 53% of Jewish voters who had historically been a mainstay of New York City’s liberalism.
While de Blasio won big in Black, Hispanic and Asian areas of New York, this coalition may not be very lasting. The rapidly growing Asian and Hispanic demographics do not share the values of warmed over Communists. Many have come here to escape Marxist regimes.
Gentrifying New Yorkers who have bought million dollar condos in once blighted areas may find a regression to the days of high crime and municipal breakdown quite distasteful. If de Blasio governs as a Marxist and living conditions deteriorate, a non-ideological Hispanic or Asian candidate for Mayor running on a pragmatic centrist platform could well sweep this leftist out of City Hall.
I’m not planning on leaving New York yet but it may be four long years.