Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DeBlasio's history making bid to be 1st liberal Democratic mayor since Dinkins

*Update: deBlasio possibly heading into run-off. Determination of whether passed 40 percent cut-off late this week.
We will see some weird UFT attempts to justify Thompson as better leader. But this stance will further make cement how out of touch leaders are from the rank and file. As noted at end of last post on topic, UFT members posted strong pro-deBlasio comments on UFT's Facebook entries re their nominee. Could inspire some members to vote opposite of UFT suggestion, as in Bloomberg's clear preference for Quinn.

The progressive site, AlterNet ran a favorable summary of Bill deBlasio's campaign.

Summarizing the highlights of Don Hazen's September 8, 2013 article:
How Bill de Blasio is Making History in the New York Mayoral Race
NYC Democratic Primary voters appear to be taking the steps to make de Blasio the first Democratic mayor in New York in 20 years.

Hazen emphasized how the public advocate has called attention to the two New Yorks of New York City, something that has been largely unmentionable in the last 20 years as the income gap has yawned.

But along the way he got in some barbs against mayor Michael Bloomberg's ally, city council speaker Christine Quinn. He referenced Ginia Bellafonte's analysis in the Times, suggesting that Christine Quinn let her liberal Greenwich Village base get away, an analysis that makes hefty reference to Quinn's role in the closing of St. Vincent's Hospital. (That article noted that Quinn's negatives have reached Anthony Weiner territory at 45 percent, a figure that neared 60 percent among union voters).

The AlterNet writer calls this the most important race for progressives since Elizabeth Warren's Senate race last year. He says that the final mix of votes, from the impact of various demographic groups puts the numbers in flux. In fact, few commentators are discussing the other major factor complicating election outcomes, in contrast to the polls: polls are based on landline phones. Growing numbers of people are going without the landline, relying only on cellphones. The pollsters are missing these voters.
So, we could be ready for some surprises Tuesday.

As the article suggests, several factors played in deBlasio's surge:
*Inequality: in New York City there are approximately 25,000 individuals in the city making more than $20,000 per week, and another 2 million making less than that figure a year. The reality of the disparity has begun to hit home.
(If there is a face-off between deBlasio and former comptroller Bill Thompson, who will emphasize that gap as an outrage? Not Reagan coattails senator Alphonse D'Amato-financed Thompson. He's actually campaigned with D'Amato in the last few days.)
*Paid Sick Days and Stop and Frisk. Quinn steadfastly echoed the Republican "jobs creators" argument and argued against these bills until the chorus of opposition grew too loud.
*Bloomberg Fatigue Syndrom
*Public Financing of Elections - Hazen argued that the candidates have about the same amount of money. Implicitly, this is in contrast to Bloomberg who showered New Yorkers with ads in the last election cycles. However, the AlterNet writer skipped over the need to have only public financing of elections: in the absence of that, all of the top three mayoral contenders have received handsome donations from the city's business elite.
*DeBlasio Stuck to His Guns - He argued over and over for a modest tax on the ultra rich of the city making $40,000 or more a week, towards financing early childhood education.

And touching a nerve among voters in the post-Occupy Wall Street crackdown era (Zuccotti Park is named for one of Bill Thompson's benefactors that gained $22.3 million rent breaks on his Battery Park condos after he and his company's associates made campaign contributions to Thompson) has been deBlasio's platform. Hazen wrote:

De Blasio’s “Tale of Two Cities” has found a very receptive audience – the specter of a city where middle class slides further down the economic ladder, unemployment stays high, and a very small number of people reap the benefits--while banks and corporations squeeze the population—and a feeble economic recovery produces  mostly low wage job. This is a powerful and accurate analysis put in play during Occupy Protests and still rings true to many.

De Blasio’s vision is strong. “Without a dramatic change of direction—an economic policy that combats inequality and rebuilds our middle class—generations to come will see New York as little more than a playground for the rich...a gilded city where the privileged few prosper, and millions upon millions of New Yorkers struggle each and every day to keep their heads above water,” de Blasio said in a May 30 address

And messaging has an impact. Hazen noted that the deBlasio children go to public school, and do so unchauferred. On both points, that writer and others are saying that hardly anyone can recall when a mayor last had children attending public schools. This can only strike a chord in an era in which the mass of New Yorkers can identify with this lifestyle, but are subjected to seeing the city transformed for the benefit of the super-rich.

But probably the most astute analysis of the race comes from Perdido Street School blog, for the blogger's chronicalling the dramatic race shifting from Quinn in front, to Weiner in front, to a free for all, then a deBlasio surge (once many left-leaning voters abandoned Weiner and Liu).

DeBlasio has raised what appears to be increasing among New York's elite in recent weeks. Hazen gave this link from the Nation: Mike Bloomberg and the 'Fortunate Ones' Versus Bill de Blasio.

Granted, deBlasio has received money from developers and has been short on education details for many city bloggers, including this one, but given the Merryl Tisch and Al D'Amato backing of Thompson, we have had enough of collaboration of the elite with the UFT or its favorite pols. Many of us are viewing deBlasio as progressives best shot for a kinder, gentler City Hall.