23 June 2021

There Was a Primary in New York Last Night

The Democratic primary for mayor was conducted by ranked choice voting (also called instant runoff voting), so the the results won't be certain for a few days,

It appears that the 2nd worst candidate has won, with Eric Adams getting about ⅓ of the first round vote.

Adams is a machine politician, and (among other things) expressed support for the restoring the NYPD's racist stop and frisk policies.

The worst candidate was Andrew Yang, the former Presidential candidate, who (among other things) based his candidacy on harassing the homeless, crypto-currency, and self-driving cars.

Eric Adams, who ran for mayor of New York City on a message intensely focused on issues of public safety, emerged on Tuesday with a substantial lead in the Democratic primary, but fell well short of outright victory in a race that will now usher in a new period of uncertainty.

With 82 percent of the results in, Mr. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, was the first choice of 31.6 percent of those who voted in person on Tuesday or during the early voting period, as New Yorkers chose a leader to steer the city’s reopening and economic recovery.

The initial outcome capped an intensely acrimonious campaign defined by debates over public safety and the economy, political experience and personal ethics, as the candidates presented sharply divergent visions for how they would lead New York into its post-pandemic future.

Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, was in second with 22.3 percent; Kathryn Garcia, a former sanitation commissioner, was in third with 19.7 percent. Either would become the city’s first female mayor.

Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate, was a distant fourth, and was the first candidate to concede on Tuesday night, a striking development after he had spent months as the dominant candidate in the race.

Yang was never the dominant candidate in the race.  He was just well funded, and presented a shiny bauble for the press to cover.

There was also the (not quite decided) race for Manhattan District Attorney, which is a classic first past the post where Alvin Bragg is leading Tali Farhadian Weinstein by about 3½% with 84% reporting.

I hope that Weinstein loses.  In addition to spending millions of her own dollars, ran ads which could be credibly reported as racist, being tied at the hip to Wall Street, and was one of the very rich people who were revealed to have paid next to no taxes.

Given that the Manhattan DA is at the center of many investigations agaings Donald Trump, Weinstein is ……… Problematic, to put it mildly.

Finally, in upstate New York, a black Socialist woman has defeated the incumbent in the primary in Buffalo:

India B. Walton knew her bid to unseat the entrenched 16-year mayor of Buffalo was a long shot.


A self-described democratic socialist, Ms. Walton, 38, has never held political office, and she was challenging Mayor Byron Brown, 62, who was seeking a fifth term, had served as chair of the state Democratic Party and was once was mentioned as a candidate for lieutenant governor. Few people thought she could win. Mr. Brown mostly tried to ignore her campaign.

But on Tuesday, Ms. Walton defeated Mr. Brown in the city’s Democratic primary, making it almost certain that she will become not only the first woman elected mayor in New York State’s second-largest city, but also the first socialist at the helm of a large American city in decades.

Her upset on Wednesday shocked Buffalo and the nation’s Democratic establishment as most of the political world was more intensely focused on the initial results of the still-undecided mayoral primary in New York City. Her win underscored the energy of the party’s left wing as yet another longtime incumbent in the state fell to a progressive challenger, echoing the congressional wins of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman.

If Ms. Walton wins in the general election in November — a likely result in a city that leans heavily Democratic — she would join the growing ranks of Black female mayors elected to lead other major U.S. cities, including Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, Kim Janey in Boston and London Breed in San Francisco.


Ms. Walton, whose campaign was backed by the Working Families Party and the Democratic Socialists of America, said she preferred not to get caught up in the semantics of labels — describing her ideology as focused on “putting people first.”

The last time a socialist was the mayor of a large American city was 1960, when Frank P. Zeidler stepped down as Milwaukee’s mayor. And it was more than a century ago when a socialist won a mayoral race in New York: In 1911, George R. Lunn, of the Socialist Party of America, was elected mayor of Schenectady, according to Bruce Gyory, a Democratic political consultant.

While rare, socialist mayors are not unheard-of: Bernie Sanders took office in 1981 as mayor of Burlington, Vt., a city one-sixth the size of Buffalo, before being elected to Congress nearly a decade later.

Ms. Walton ran an unabashedly progressive campaign in a Democratic city of about 250,000 people — about 37 percent of them Black — that had elected mostly white men as mayors for nearly two centuries. (Mr. Brown became the city’s first Black mayor in 2006.)

She said she supported implementing rent control protections. She pledged to declare Buffalo a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. And she vowed to reform the city’s Police Department, arguing in favor of an independent civilian oversight board and changing the way police officers respond to mental health calls.

“Our police budget is as high as it’s ever been, and crime is also up, so something is not working,” she said.

People suggesting that campaigning on reform of the police, take note.  It's a winner, at least in a Democratic primary.

Law enforcement in the US is broken, as is painfully obvious from this picture.


Mr. Brown’s actions suggested that he did not take Ms. Walton’s challenge seriously. He refused to debate her — “Maybe he believed pretending I didn’t exist was going to make the race go away,” Ms. Walton said — and he did not campaign vigorously, failing to fund-raise as aggressively as he had in previous primaries or spend on ad buys until late in the race.

“I think it was almost a perfect storm that was working against the mayor in this case, but it was brought about by his nonchalance in this race,” said Len Lenihan, the former Erie County Democratic chairman.

Rule 1 of politics:  People will not vote for someone who never asks for their vote.


Under Mr. Brown, Buffalo, in western New York, has undergone a resurgence in recent years with the construction of major projects in the downtown area. But the city’s poverty rate is more than twice the national average, and its unemployment rate, while improving, has not fully recovered to prepandemic levels.

Indeed, there was a sense among some residents who voted for Ms. Walton that low-income communities were not reaping the benefits of downtown development.


Upstate New York has large swaths of rural and conservative areas, but many of its cities are reliable Democratic strongholds with large minority communities that left-wing activists see as fertile ground to replicate the upsets they have staged downstate. So far, democratic socialists have picked up seats in the House, the State Legislature and the New York City Council, but Ms. Walton’s win would mark the first time a D.S.A.-backed candidate won a citywide election in New York.

This is a good start

Ms. Walton’s win was also buttressed by extensive support from the Working Families Party, which had previously endorsed Mr. Brown. The party helped her campaign set up an online fund-raising operation, a large field program with hundreds of volunteers and a text message and phone bank operation that made 19,000 calls on the night before the election — in a contest where fewer than 25,000 voters cast ballots.

This is an explicit "F%$# You" to "Ratface Andy" Cuomo, who has done his best to kill the WFP trough riders on legislation.


Ms. Walton is an organizer for activist groups that supported the state’s bail reforms and legalizing recreational marijuana. Last summer, she gained exposure marching against police brutality in the protests following George Floyd’s death.

She ultimately decided to run, she said, because Mr. Brown had failed to implement meaningful reforms at the Buffalo Police Department and because of what she saw as his poor response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Again, BLM is a winning cause, unless you are a Democrat cowering fear to Republican racists and corrupt police unions.

Her first step should be to reassure various developers who have incentive deals that the city of Buffalo will abide by their contracts, but that the recipients of taxpayer largess need to abide by the terms of their contract as well.

It is interesting how New York State seems to be the epicenter of Socialist political victories in the US.


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