The Race to Gracie Mansion Lethargically Crawls Onward
By: Declan Kassler
Though Election Day once again looms ahead on the calendar, one could be forgiven for not realizing that there are municipal elections to be held in November for city council and mayor.
Incumbent Bill de Blasio is running for a second term, and is currently focused on claiming victory in the Democratic primaries to be held on Tuesday, September 12.
In contrast to the fiery mayoral race of 2013, this year’s election seems much more muted.
He is challenged in his own party by Sal Albanese and Robert Gangi, neither mayoral hopeful has raised a sufficient amount of funding to effectively compete with Mayor de Blasio’s $4.8 million.
Although polls have been incorrect in recent history, a Quinnipiac poll admits that only 39% of potential voters think that he deserves a second term.
Many experts believe that the reason for this shift from the last election is how the state of society has changed in just four years.
In late 2013, while there was already some growing attention to groups such as Black Lives Matter, and to possible civil rights violations by law enforcement, the election of Donald Trump as president has only inflamed the situation.
Now, as a result of the current presidency, voters in New York City mostly care about electing a candidate who will stand for equality and progressivism. Mayor de Blasio has always positioned himself perfectly in this role, calling himself a populist, and promising New Yorkers an end to “The Tale of Two Cities”.
In addition, Mayor de Blasio’s interracial family grants his campaign an element of legitimacy and relatability to those voters who would likely receive his populist message warmly.
Of course, not all New Yorkers subscribe to this ideology. There are some New Yorkers who see Mayor de Blasio as a divisive, uncharismatic, and hypocritical politician.
A common complaint is his alleged flaunting of his partly black son, Dante, to pander for votes. Mayor de Blasio’s controversial standoff with the NYPD also cemented his poor image to many.
Here on Staten Island, local state assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is likely to be the Republican candidate for mayor. Malliotakis has said that leaders should not “Pit communities against each other.”
For the next few months, Mayor de Blasio will be sharing his achievements from his first term.
In just over three years, murders in New York City are down by 25% compared to Michael Bloomberg’s final term. This is due largely in part to increased NYPD patrols and activities as a result of recent terrorist attacks overseas.
The NYPD is one of the largest, most well-equipped, and most well-organized law enforcement bodies in the world, and de Blasio has relied heavily on them, despite the controversy earlier in his term.
Even though Mayor de Blasio has focused primarily on uplifting the working class, it is the working class who is subjected to the longest commutes in the city, often on public transit.
This has always been the case, with people coming into Manhattan from the outer boroughs to work, but it is only recently that the transit system has suffered so much neglect.
As a property of the MTA, a state agency, the subway and buses are not subject to the office of the mayor. Nevertheless, the frustration of commuters at deteriorating service is largely being directed at Mayor de Blasio.
An appearance was made on a subway car by the mayor, where his plan was to answer commuter concerns directly, but this stunt has largely been panned by local media as a publicity stunt for his re-election campaign.
Critics were quick to point out that the whole event was filmed and photographed by reporters, and de Blasio’s staff created an artificial environment in the space, one in which commuters truly couldn’t express their concerns fairly.
However this election goes, New Yorkers can expect their daily lives to change very little. This city is far more than its government.