USA – After a year of crisis, New York City still has the most dazzling skyline in the world, but it also has a bunch of less glamorous problems. Although the pandemic is less and less noticeable in times of opening, the corona crisis and its aftermath are preoccupying the eight-million metropolis more than ever before the election of its new mayor: the economy is down, violent crimes are on the rise highest level in at least a decade.
At the same time, the progressive movements “MeToo” and “Black Lives Matter” are more present in New York than in most other regions of the United States. Tuesday will therefore become the directional decision between moderate and progressive forces, in which the debates of the US present are reflected: Then the cosmopolitan city determines the top candidates for the Republicans and Democrats in the primaries – with the result in the democratic stronghold as a preliminary decision for the actual election to succeed Bill de Blasio in November.
The news that shocked New York came in mid-May: More than 500 people had been victims of firearms by that point in 2021 – more than in ten years. Other crimes have also skyrocketed since the pandemic began. The violence didn’t even stop at the heart of Manhattan, Times Square. A toddler was even shot there a few weeks ago.
These are conditions that the authorities could not have imagined a year and a half ago. The crime rate had reached a historic low at the time – but then came the pandemic, the lockdown, thousands of restaurants and shops closed forever. In New York’s problem areas, including Brooklyn, an always tense situation turned into an escalating one.
Experts do not expect the trend to reverse in the near future, even if New York recently lifted all corona restrictions due to a successful vaccination campaign. And in addition to the increasing number of crimes, there is a lack of income, especially from tourism, which is still largely paralyzed. That also puts pressure on the budget. New York City is pretty broke.
“Nobody comes to New York with its multi-billion dollar tourism sector if three-year-old children are shot in Times Square,” says Eric Adams firmly. The 60-year-old is an ex-police officer and Brooklyn district president and is currently the most promising Democratic candidate in polls – which are considered unreliable. He and businessman Andrew Yang represent an image that they can improve public safety and New York with it can also be traced back to economic prosperity.
Opposite them are left-wing candidates whose campaigns are driven by the ideals of the anti-racism and equal rights movement. The civil rights attorney Maya Wiley, who is relying on a radical new beginning after the crisis and is clearly against the friendly line towards the police, did particularly well there. She wants to cut the huge NYPD budget of more than five billion dollars by one billion – based on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which demanded the cops for the funds after the brutal killing of the African American George Floyd by a white police officer revoke.
“We cannot have security at the expense of justice,” says Wiley, who recently received high profile support from influential left-wing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Their position is diametrically opposed to the plans of the “law and order” Democrats Adam and Yang. In between there are a number of other moderate candidates with good chances, above all the former commissioner for the public cleaning of the city, Kathryn Garcia.
But in which direction the metropolis is going in the near future, even after the election on Tuesday, it may remain unclear for days. Due to a complicated new voting system in which each voter can determine up to five favorite candidates in sequence, final results could, according to the media, be at least a week in coming. It should be known quite quickly which candidates received the most first votes. However, because of the weight of possible entries for second place, this does not mean that this person has also won. New York City is taking its time with its choice of fate – its result should have a signal effect.