It couldn’t and wouldn’t be done by white people in the big city. No, they were already too bought-in to signaling their virtue on matters of race and equity to turn tail and run back to the safety of their comfortable cribs and conventional liberal worldview.
It was only the subjects of white progressives’ bottomless cup of compassion who could flip the script and steer the Democratic party away from its ever more radical agenda. And with the results finally announced this week after prolonged tabulation, black voters made their voices heard in the race for mayor of the largest progressive city in the land, the proverbial Big Apple. They sent an unambiguous – and to the left, no doubt unnerving – message which could possibly signal a tectonic shift in not just the direction, but the perception, of a party gone off the rails even in victory.
The Democrats’ sharp turn leftward in 2021 can well be explained by a cursory cause-and-effect analysis (likely their own) of the presidential election. While supporting from the outset of the campaign not just radical ideas (think taxpayer-funded healthcare for illegals), but radically insane notions (think Julian Castro’s “reproductive justice for transgenders”), they nevertheless seized control of the White House and Congress.
Perhaps feeling the wind beneath his wings after inheriting a pearl of great price – the vaccine protocol – from the man he blistered as a bigot during the presidential campaign, Joe Biden began an immediate bow to his far left flank with a slew of executive decrees and proclamations about systemic racism and the like. Congressional Democrats reached for the moon and stars – federalizing elections, busting the filibuster, packing the courts – evidently interpreting their election sweep as a mandate for hard-left governance.
How wrong they were. Their signature promise to defund the police – proclaimed primarily by Caucasian progressives from the comfort of their gated communities or equivalent – has now produced predictable blowback. But it’s just who rejected the party’s anti-police, pro-Black Lives Matter agenda that must shock those newly woke souls and their handmaidens in corporate media: black voters.
Consider the primary victory of Eric Adams, made official this week, which in a city that’s 90% Democrats all but assures that he will follow Bill deBlasio in the mayor chair. The black former police captain, hardened by his own time in the trenches, positioned himself as the law-and-order candidate, ready to crack down on crime and, unlike the current mayor, opposed to defunding the police. And with all the votes now tabulated, it seems that logic, at least in the eyes of normal Americans, if not obeisant progressives and the elite media, prevailed.
Indeed, a deep dive into the final totals from the mayoral race reveals that Adams’s greatest support came from the poorest, most crime-ridden sections of the majority-minority city (24% black, 28% Hispanic). From the Bronx to Brooklyn, the votes of working-class blacks and Latinos put Adams over the top in a field of eight candidates, all to his left in varying degrees.
But the most significant takeaway in the here and now, if not going forward, is that the coalition that put Adams over the top is the same one that was most supportive of Joe Biden for president. Will Biden and his fellow travelers on the left actually get the clearly transmitted message from their most important voters and head back toward the center? Can or will they finally bring to heel the significant coalition in their midst still demanding force reductions or dismantling of police departments – among other left-wing fantasies – across the land?
Or will the official Democratic Party persist in believing it’s doing people of color a great service by calling for the defunding of police? Leftists are behaving as if they believe these constituents care more about being down with their paternalistic cause than the safety of their own communities.
Since Democrats have for decades relied on capturing some 90% of the black vote, the preferences of this bedrock constituency matter more than any other. The party cannot win an election without their support. And that raises another question: Given how working-class people of color in an ultraliberal city voted for a candidate whose platform more closely resembled Donald Trump than Joe Biden, is it not well beyond time that the GOP follow Trump’s lead and ramp up their efforts in minority communities?
The principal reason Democrats have ruled over such a massive swath of urban America is that Republicans have failed to show up, refusing to build on-the-ground operations in beleaguered communities. Perhaps it has much to do with the virtual one-party sub-state which Democrats have constructed over decades across the great cities of the nation. Whatever the reason, the crushing failure of urban Democratic leadership has not produced significant Republican opposition in the inner city, as if there were a political moat built around the Dems’ castle. But the reality is that only the active incursion of the Republican Party into inner city districts they have ceded for years is likely to force their opponents to answer for the legacy of decay and despair left in their wake.
Absent an urban alternative presented by the GOP, would a turn to the center by the Democratic Party not be likely to expand or harden their support? In the aftermath of an election, honest Democrats will admit that they got the biggest political break in memory – perhaps ever – an election year pandemic that wiped the peace and prosperity of the Trump years off the radar screen and allowed Trump’s opponents to pound away mercilessly at his every move to stem the tide of a deadly virus. But will the outcome months later in the nation’s premier city moderate their radicalism and convince them that they won because of unique historical circumstances rather than their sprint to the left? It is now up to them to listen to their most loyal constituents – or risk suffering their wrath.
Read more from Tim Donner.
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