In just a few weeks, New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary will offer the nation its first major opportunity to gauge how Democratic voters are thinking about their party and its policies — six months into the Biden administration.
The city, an ethnic, religious and socioeconomic mélange, where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 7-to-1, is the perfect place to take the temperature of a large swath of Democratic voters in the lead up to the 2022 midterms. Because, though they lean left, New York City voters are best known for their practicality — particularly in times of crisis.
When the city was engulfed by a crime epidemic in the 1990s, New Yorkers put aside party allegiances and voted in Republican Rudy Giuliani, a former prosecutor who had taken on the mob and promised to clean up the city. After September 11, with lower Manhattan still smoldering, New Yorkers chose our former boss, Michael Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat who ran as a Republican, in the hopes that a business executive could rebuild Lower Manhattan and get the city back to work.
Now, with Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio’s second and final term coming to an end — and the city just beginning to reemerge from a global pandemic that claimed the lives of some 30,000 New Yorkers — voters will be once again casting their ballots during a time of crisis, where the twin vectors of economic recovery and the social justice issues surrounding race and policing will be front and center.
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