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Can the movement behind the AOC conquer New York?



Candidates also receive support from Jamaal Bowman, who defeated the longtime rope. Eliot Engel in the latest primary, and Alessandra Biaggi, who sent a long-running Albany broker pack in 2018.

“Just a few years ago, people left me out of pictures when I was driving for lieutenant governor,” Williams said. “It’s a turn.”

Williams – who is running for re-election to a job that serves as a control of the executive – said he has not decided who to back. An outspoken critic of the NYPD, he said he will weigh leadership bonafides along with reforms.

He was one of two dozen interviews that POLITICO conducted with politicians, labor leaders and strategists who together produced a picture of changing political winds and a group of candidates running to keep pace with the changes.

The mayoral candidates are still calling the usual calls for the coveted influence of peddlers ̵

1; union leaders, congressional representatives, pastors. The support for 1199SEIU – the large healthcare workers’ association that took a risk to support de Blasio when he struck after the package in 2013 – is still considered a prize. But now people hoping to occupy Gracie Mansion must navigate a new terrain with people who do not play by the old rules.

“It’s about ordinary everyday voters who want something else, who are exhausted by just about every Democrat,” said Camille Rivera, a progressive consultant with New Deal Strategies. “They want Democrats who will tell the truth to the authorities; they want democrats who will fight for them every day. “

“Anyone who thinks they can go in the middle of the democratic primary must now change their strategy,” said Rivera, who does not work for any of the candidates.

Politicians circled to calibrate after Ocasio-Cortez’s victory and the ensuing deep blue wave that delivered Ramos and Biaggi to Albany. They began to swear by real estate donations – something they had long had content with – and began to demand comprehensive reforms for the NYPD.

But what would otherwise be a linear strategy for winning votes is complicated by an expected desire for a strong mayor during a time of deep crisis and voters who, by prioritizing it, want a message of control over values. Covid-19 lay bare inequalities in health care, flattened the city’s cultural and tourism sectors and left nearly one million unemployed. The crime is increasing and budget constraints are threatening municipal redundancies.

The city’s business community, hardly a force in local elections despite its resources, hopes to influence the conversation.

“There is great concern about the divisive policies that have characterized most of the democratic primary elections [the] business [community] believes is counterproductive to economic recovery, ”said Kathy Wylde, head of a prominent business consortium and porter for the city’s Wall Street executives. “I believe that a number of efforts will be made to try to mobilize greater voter participation according to the theory that it will lead to a more central approach to the challenges facing the city.”

Jordan Barowitz, spokesman for developer Douglas Durst, suggested that the candidates appeal exclusively to the left on their own danger.

“People who work for offices in New York spend more time talking to the Democratic Socialists in America than they do with the business community to get people back to work,” Barowitz said. “What is our concern? Collapse of New York’s economy, collapse of the city’s budget and ability to provide services, high unemployment, poverty. “

“To run the city, especially in a crisis, everyone needs a seat at the table,” he added.

But for all their resources, New York’s business leaders long ago lost their influence in bourgeois races. They are not politically organized and they represent the values ​​of many Democrats – especially after the Occupy Wall Street movement. The city’s strict campaign finance laws further limit their leverage. And the new 8-to-1 match in the city’s public campaign funding system makes it much easier for candidates to swear by big dollar donors.

At the same time, the Democratic Socialists in America have no public plans to support a city-wide candidate.

In a note to members received by POLITICO, a Queens organizer stressed the need to build DSA membership beyond its foothold in Western Queens and strengthen its internal structure. “To this end, I do not believe we have the ability to support a candidate where we would be the main source of institutional support and infrastructure this year,” it concludes.

But whether the group supports a mayoral hopeful or not, the movement in line with the DSA now includes tens of thousands of voters who are recently focused on local races.

Before the February 14 deadline to change party registration, 52,587 people joined the Democratic Party out of 103,093 changes in the city, according to a memo prepared by a consultant who specializes in polling data and trends.

Two-thirds of the new Democrats were not previously affiliated with any party, which meant that they could only vote in general elections, which limited their influence over city races, which are largely determined in primary. Another 18 percent of the new Democrats had been Republicans, according to the memo, which was shared with POLITICO.

All told, the Democrats doubled their loss of 32,020 outgoing voters the year before, according to the memo, which was prepared several months ago.

“Although this is an incomplete picture of the entire state, it points to a strong grassroots investment in important areas where progressives have gained strength and voters under 40 have increased their share of the vote. as well as in moderate university-educated centers where democratic registration is also growing, ”concludes the memo.

“There’s a newer section of Democratic voters who are engaged, attentive and self-informed, and they tend to be a little more anti-establishment and a little more left than the traditional primary voters in New York,” said Luke Hayes, who led the Bowman campaign.

He said that newer voters are worried about climate change, debt and health care costs and began to adapt to local politics after the 2016 election. Even if they are not affiliated with the DSA, they are not shut off by the socialist label, he added.

“Post Trump, I think a lot of people were, how did this come about?” Hayes sa.

The tension between the organized, resilient left to the left and the more traditional forces of the city’s democratic establishment is accelerating the candidates’ strategies. They will need to marry the values ​​of the left with the pragmatism that more centrist Democrats are hungry for, say strategists. It can prove challenging in a crowded field with limited time for challengers to define themselves. Voters will probably not adjust to the race before the presidential election in November, leaving only seven months until the primary.

Right now, the field’s top level is divided between three career politicians and a former lawyer for de Blasio will likely jump into the race:

– Brooklyn Boroughs President Eric Adams, a former black police officer, has close ties to the Democratic machine, but has seen his ability to vote decline significantly in recent years. He is a relatively moderate who has undoubtedly made pro-gun comments and supports his laws and orders.

– City Inspector Scott Stringer has diligently received support among political newcomers with early approvals that pay off. Ramos, for example, said she is absolutely confident of supporting him. He also hails from Manshan’s influential political network on the Upper West Side and has infiltrated black communities.

– City Council spokesman Corey Johnson has a charisma and New York pride that has served him well, but becomes less significant as the city’s part declines. He was the first candidate to publicly refuse donations from property managers. he recently emerged from a bloody budget debate and reconsider its strategy during the campaign season.

– Maya Wiley, who served as de Blasio’s chief lawyer and legal analyst at MSNBC, is black, would break ground as the city’s first female mayorand also ran the city’s police department – the Panel on Civil Complaints – under de Blasio. Her ties to the mayor – who is under fire from the left for his handling of police protests – are an election responsibility.

– Shaun Donovan, who ran agencies in the administration of Obama and former mayor Mike Bloomberg, has gathered and hired staff for his own bid. Bill Hyers, who handled de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, and Amelia Adams, who worked for former Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, have signed.

Both Johnson and Stringer expect the election of voters, who will make their debut in the city next year. The two Manhattan Democrats will win a number of white liberals and will at least come in second place among black voters, which is crucial for all elections in the city.

Meanwhile, the president of the Open Society Foundations, Patrick Gaspard, one of Blasio’s oldest and closest allies, has called people on Wiley’s behalf, according to four people familiar with his ancestors. Among his first talks was in 1199, where he previously worked as political director before becoming President Barack Obama’s ambassador to South Africa.

City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, de Blasios is squeezing in times of crisis, is considering jumping in because of her extensive government experience, according to three people who know her thinking. Other lesser-known candidates include Dianne Morales, who runs a non-profit organization, and Loree Sutton, de Blasio’s former veterans commissioner.

Lupe Todd-Medina, a Democratic consultant who has so far not been linked to any of the candidates, said older black voters are cautiously skeptical of progressive positions. The gap, which has played out in elections throughout the country, was reinforced by the recent debate in the City Council on how to compete in the NYPD’s budget. The calls to “defeat” the agency – heard by protesters after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis – were rejected by members of the Council’s Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.

Todd-Medina said that the power of black churches is a cornerstone of local races and a place where moderate voices are still well received. “Technically, pastors can’t approve, but you know who’s with whom,” she said. “Everyone comes to church but there is always one person who comes a little more.”

Nevertheless, the growth of the left in addition to Ocasio-Cortez 2018 has remained upset.

“People have been tired for a while and in 2018 I think it finally boiled over and enough people said they would not take it anymore. And that’s why we saw a wave, Ramos said. “This is the first city election since that wave began and I think it is inevitable that we will have a big influence on who our next mayor will be.”

This article is part of The Fifty, a new POLITICO series that looks at how state and local leaders are responding to current national challenges, from the pandemic to the economic crisis to the bill of race. More coverage of these issues here.


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