Thursday, July 8, 2021

After the Primary

The results of the NYC mayoral primary have now been finalized. In the final round of ranked-choice voting, Brooklyn Borough President and former police captain Eric Adams narrowly defeated former City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia

Adams led in the initial round with 31.8% of the vote. Maya Wiley came in second with 22.2%. and Kathryn Garcia came in third with 19.3%. The point of ranked-choice voting in situations such as this where no one candidate has a majority is to allow voters to indicate their second choice, thus hopefully producing a kind of consensus winner. In such a system, Adams' plurality need not necessarily have translated into an eventual majority, but in this case it narrowly did. by Round 7, with all but the top four candidates eliminated, Adams had 35.5%, Wiley 26.8%, Garcia 23.8%, and Andrew Yang 13.9%. Round 8 eliminate Yang and gave Adams 40.9%, Wiley 29.5%, and Garcia 29.6%. Garcia's narrow lead over Wiley eliminated her and resulted in the final round in which Adams won with 50.5% with Garcia second with 49.5%.

In the end, the result, while close, was clear. Adams carried every borough except Manhattan in the first-choice tally, and was the winner among working-class Black and Latino voters and also did well with white moderate voters who held more moderate views, which (as the NY Times noted) is similar to the coalition that gave the Democratic nomination to President Biden in 2020. 

Garcia was also popular with white moderate voters across the five boroughs, but dominated in wealthy Manhattan, where she appealed to highly educated, affluent voters, while doing less well with voters of color, but well enough overall to come in second over Wiley, the unambiguously progressive, left-wing candidate.

This would all seem to be further evidence of what we witnessed in the 2020 presidential primaries - the continuing role of Black voters as a moderating force in the Democratic Party, a party which has (largely though its own fault) lost much of its traditional white working class base, while meanwhile more and more of its more educated and affluent white non-working class voters have moved decisively in a direction that seems increasingly guaranteed to alienate much of both that traditional white working-class base that is gone and the (also predominantly working class) Black base that remains.

The lesson(s) for Democrats who would like to keep control of Congress in 2022 and want to keep Trump from being reelected in 2024 should be obvious. Given the importance of those goals for the survival of the Democratic Party and (more importantly) for the health of democratic and constitutional governance in this country, the relevance of these post-primary lessons should also be obvious.

(Image: The flag of the City of New York. The city's famous flag displays the Seal of New York City in blue in the white center bar of a blue, white, and orange vertical tricolor, representing the Prince of Orange's flag used in the original Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, which eventually became New York.)

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