Baltimore There’s something happening in New York City as candidates enter the last stretch in the primary elections for Mayor there. Contrary to most expert assumptions and conventional wisdom, voters across all age groups, races, and political persuasions are responding to a candidate who is willing to say there needs to be more equality in the city and is willing to fight to make that happen. The candidate is Bill de Blasio, currently the elected Public Advocate, and this is suddenly makes this election worth watching for politicians everywhere in the country and gives voters across America hope.
De Blasio is not new to this argument after 8 years on the City Council representing the left coast of New York City around Park Slope in Brooklyn and throughout his career DeBlasio had many friends for his willingness to stand tall with unions and community organizations including ACORN and the Working Families Party. He also has real skills rather than just a rap, having managed Hilary Clinton’s race for the US Senate for New York as well.
Running for Mayor, De Blasio has campaigned on consistent messages on two issues that have caught fire. One is the “tale of two cities,” where he has finally been willing to speak of the 800 pound gorilla in the city, where the rich and superrich on Manhattan have benefited wildly from the Mayor and his pro-Wall Street policies and billionaire bias. New Yorkers are responding to his calls for more affordable housing, taxes on the rich to pay for improvements including pre-school and after-school policies for everyone. Furthermore his aggressive, strident opposition to the Mayor’s stubborn support of racial profiling through “stop-and-frisk” policies which the court has now ruled unconstitutional have given him majority support among African-American voters even with a serious African-American candidate in the race. Running for the 99% against the 1% is getting traction. Running for equality and against privilege has meaning. Running for affordable housing not tax breaks for McMansions is picking up votes.
The race is not over yet, but politicians beware. Take notes and learn something. The voters are ready for fighters like Bill DeBlasio and Wendy Davis, the Texas filibuster. As Jim Hightower used to say, there’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow lines and dead armadillos.