Bill de Blasio will leave New York City Hall in January 2022 after two successive terms at the head of the city. Faced with the multiplication of candidatures for the Democratic primaries which are held on June 22, no favorite stands out. One thing is certain: the future mayor will be on the same political side in this city considered to be a democratic bastion.
Bill de Blasio was seen as a progressive, a wing of the Democratic Party who could lose control of City Hall. The latter could go to a candidate from the “moderate” camp. A struggle that resembles the one playing out at the national level within the Democratic Party.
The candidate who will be elected during this primary will be the future mayor of New York. A week before the poll is held, this is the only certainty we have in this Democratic stronghold. Because if thirteen candidates try the adventure, no favorite stands out. Between “progressives” and “moderates”, people of experience and others who seem to want to embark on a political career, the range is wide and representative of a cosmopolitan and multicultural city.
Very varied profiles, like this city
Among these candidates, some names stand out all the same, in particular Eric Adams, a former black police officer, president of the borough of Brooklyn since 2014 and who, even if the subject of insecurity and criminality seems to dominate the debates, does not want to make it his hobbyhorse. Another candidacy that denotes that of Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur of Taiwanese origin, who presented himself in the primaries for the presidential election of 2020. A candidacy that is neck and neck with that of Eric Adams in the polls, even if these are not good indicators.
But if these investigations reflected reality, a candidate of the “progressive” camp stands out: Maya Wiley, a black lawyer specializing in civil rights who enjoys the support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the rising figures if not already the door -flag of the left wing of the Democratic Party. The influence of “AOC”, as it is called, is not negligible and could allow Maya Wiley to become the first woman elected mayor of “Big Apple”. It could also be Kathryn Garcia, dubbed by the New York Times, but which rather represents the continuity of the era of Blasio, she who made her entire career as mayor of New York.
Impossible to make a prognosis
One thing is certain, faced with the multiplication of candidates, the polls are difficult to read. A factor accentuated by the fact that abstention is traditionally high for these Democratic primaries. For example, only around 20% of registered Democratic voters voted in 2013 to nominate billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s successor.
And for this year 2020, to make matters worse for this game of predictions, a new voting system will be released. The latter allows voters to rank up to five candidates in order of preference. A system that will certainly complicate the count: suddenly, the winner could not be known until mid-July.
Campaign themes that divide
The other factor that complicates any prognosis relates to the choice of campaign themes that divide more than they unite. While the vast majority of New Yorkers are aware of the challenges facing their city after a health crisis which has cost the city’s finances dearly and caused a number of business closures and layoffs, many of them also want the problems of racial inequalities, discrimination.
While insecurity is for some the central theme of this campaign, for others it is not a cause for concern, as many predict a rise in violence in the months to come. Campaign themes that highlight the divisions that reign within the Democratic Party between a progressive wing which thought to have achieved the hardest in recent months by highlighting a program taken up in part by Joe Biden, and a “moderate” wing who feels comforted by the presence of one of its members in the White House.
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What is certain is that the future mayor of New York will have many challenges to overcome. Barring a cataclysm, it will be the candidate chosen during these Democratic primaries who will have the heavy task of reviving a city that was a real economic engine before the arrival of the Covid-19. A megalopolis which is also struggling to regain the aura it also enjoyed at the international level. The dice have been cast for a poll that has already started with advance votes since June 12.