Odd-numbered years in a majority of our 50 states mean municipal elections. Some of these cities, because of their size and relative importance to the rest of the nation are considered bellwethers. New York City is one of these. Some interesting bells are ringing in NYC this week, after the top 3 finishers in a field of 15 Democrats are each standing on more centrist and moderate platform planks and ground. The current leader, by nearly 10 percentage points is former New York City Police Captain and Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams. Adams is black, and after 22-years as one of New York’s finest, he was the first candidate in the field to acknowledge that the city was facing a crime wave and that New Yorkers deserved to feel safe in their own homes, neighborhoods, and streets.
New York is experimenting with a new run-off system called ‘ranked voting.’ Voters were to express their preferences among the field of 15 ranked 1-5. IF there is no clear majority nominee, a runoff later follows, among the top 2 finishers, that slate is still being determined, according to the New York City Board of Elections, the final ranked results of a Tuesday, June 22, 2021 Primary won’t be available until July 12, 2021. What could go wrong?
The GOP primary included only two candidates and New York is a state which requires party registration for voting, Democrats in NYC outnumber Republicans by roughly 6 to 1. And though the math and/or algorithms involved in tabulating rankings may cause some questions later, the top three finishers, prior to the rank tabulations were all three running as more common sense, moderate centrists, moored to the realities of governing big cities.
Adams, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia (who espoused the return of an NYC that was both ‘clean and safe’) and former Democratic Presidential contender and entrepreneur Andrew Yang collectively received 67 percent of the primary vote. Adams coalition drew heavily on African-American voters, also frustrated by crime disproportionately impacting their communities and the ongoing victimization of their businesses and families. Adams spoke not only of the need to crack down on the crime but almost daily to the plight of crime victims.
In 2018, New York City, in the bluest of Blue States became the nexus of the Progressive Movement, as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated a moderate incumbent, Congressman Joe Crowley in the Bronx. We should also note that Progressives did better on Tuesday in down-ballot races than in the big-ticket Mayoral contest.
But the Progressive solution to the Big Apple crime surge was ringing a bit hollow for New Yorkers in almost every borough - AOC at a Town Hall last July, just as violent crime was beginning to spike - “Do we think this has to do with the fact that there’s record unemployment in the United States right now? People are ‘economically desperate.’ Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money so...they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.”
New York is fortunately not experiencing a tsunami of shoplifting, but just through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, homicides in the Big Apple were up to 165, compared to 134 the year prior, a jump of 23 percent. A demoralized police force also recently received some good news with the restoration of a $92-million new police precinct, axed last year at this time as part of $1-billion in public safety spending cuts.
Andrew Yang, a non-New Yorker who finished a strong third-place, said in the final Mayoral debate prior to voting, “People should not have to worry about being assaulted by a mentally ill homeless person.” He spent much of the entire next day and news cycle being told to apologize. Apologize for what?
Urban crime? The Progressive solution box includes - defund the police, de-institutionalize prisons and pursue de minimis prosecution. Their suggested replacements, psychologists and social workers, addiction recovery support, and greater economic equity. IF ONLY that was the world we actually live in versus some fantasy land like Oz.
The nation does not always follow New York City’s lead, but it almost always notices its direction. Let’s pray that ranked voting tabulations aren’t rigged and watch closely for round-two and the eventual Democratic Party nominee and most likely next Mayor of NYC. And this time...it’s about crime.
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