New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared his lopsided primary triumph a “resounding victory” and a mandate to pursue his self-proclaimed “progressive” agenda.
In fact, he received 74 percent of the vote last week; his closest challenger drew a mere 15 percent. Yet as was the case with his general election victory in 2013, the numbers are misleading. Just 14 percent of registered Democrats voted in the primary, so the mayor’s 74 percent of the votes that were cast does not reflect the preference of some 86 percent of the city’s Democratic voters.
Similarly, in the 2013 mayoral election Mr. de Blasio garnered 73 percent of the votes cast and touted those seemingly overwhelming numbers. Left largely unremarked, though, was the fact that only 24 percent of registered voters came out to vote. So when that 73 percent number is looked at in the context of very low voter turnout, it loses much of its gloss.
This is not to suggest that Mr. de Blasio is anything but a legitimately elected mayor. It is, however, to question his claim that his election represented a popular call on city government to join a “progressive” revolution, with him leading the charge.
This is more significant than ever before inasmuch as the mayor seems intent on making the election campaign a referendum on President Trump’s political agenda rather than his own record in office.
Thus, the mayor has gone to great lengths, including a trek to Germany to stalk Mr. Trump, to establish himself as a leader in the anti-Trump “resistance.”
Describing his campaign focus, Mr. de Blasio said: “It’s very simple: Assembly Member Malliotakis [the mayor’s Republican opponent in the November general election] is a pro-Trump Republican, and the fact that she even has to wonder if she wants Donald Trump’s support speaks volumes…. People of this city reject Donald Trump…. We will have, in the next eight weeks, a strong contrast between a progressive Democrat and a pro-Trump Republican.”
So the mayor feeds the disenchantment of the minority communities, repeatedly declaring himself a champion of illegal immigrants, disparaging the NYPD, marching in a parade with a convicted Puerto Rican terrorist, touting the redistribution of wealth by ending income disparity but saying nothing about spurring economic growth, proposing “tax the rich” policies to pay for ever-growing spending, woodenly championing rent control without a word about how it undermines the city’s housing stock, and imposing “affordable housing” quotas on tax revenue-producing developers regardless of the negative impact of such quotas on profits and growth.
And of course Mr. de Blasio’s record will always be stained by his strong support for the Israel-bashing congressman Keith Ellison when the latter sought the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. Also not to be forgotten is the de Blasio administration’s $500,000 grant to the notorious anti-Israel militant Linda Sarsour along with his silence over Ms. Sarsour’s invitation by CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health to deliver a commencement address this past June.
Plainly, to this point Mr. de Blasio has no mandate from most New Yorkers for his ideological crusade. Hopefully, Ms. Malliotakis will call him out on that, as well as on his record when it comes to the everyday issues that beset New Yorkers –issues he seems not the least bit interested in discussing with voters. As she says, “This election is not about Donald Trump. It’s about traffic, trash, and the quality-of-life issues that have deteriorated.”