"Every election is determined by the people who show up" —Larry Sabato
Pic: screenshot provided by author, from Twitter
Perhaps Finding a Secure Candidate is Hard for Voters During Unsecure Times
New York City — Fewer than 100 days stand between now and NYC's mayoral election primaries. Unfortunately, half of the likely voters still don't have the foggiest notion of who they're voting for.
According to the latest poll by Fontas Advisors and Core Decision Analytics, "50% of likely voters are undecided in the Democratic primary." Perhaps an amusing headline from the NY Times put it best:
N.Y.C. Mayoral Poll Finds a Clear Front-Runner: Undecided
For all the talk of a return to glory for The City That Never Sleeps, with bars back to buzzing and crowded subways back with vaccinated riders, the new New York suggests — though the pain is invisible, the wounded can't hide the scars.
A year's worth of pandemic, a year's worth of quarantine and a year's worth of life turned upside-down hardly lends itself to voter confidence. Not to mention, for all the talk of post-Covid, if you're among the candidates confronted with "traditional no longer being traditional," needless to say it's been an uphill climb.
Long gone are the traditional campaign methods. After all, smiling candidates hoping to greet subway riders have been met with fewer New Yorkers riding trains. And then there's the problem of trying to win over audiences from Zoom forums.
Trying to win over a voter via Zoom is about as personal as going on a first while via FaceTime! To put it simply: nothing can replace human interaction in real-time. Perhaps this partially explains the underwhelming numbers for likely voters so far. And then there's the issue of mayoral candidates.
Not only is this year's field crowded but most of the mayoral candidates are — ahem — "beautifully flawed," as are we all. First, there's the current front-runner Andrew Yang.
"Yang Is Driving the Race Right Now," reads the New York Magazine headline. Yang's passion, to put it simply — is downright infectious! "He ran through a gauntlet of supporters, slapping elbows all the way." Perhaps such theatrics best capture why Yang's greatest strength may also be his greatest flaw.
From declaring he wants to legalize magic mushrooms to promising "free cash" if he were ever elected president, Yang has to be careful not to violate why Shakespeare warned to "mend your speech a little, lest it mar your fortunes."
As for Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president who currently sits in second place, at roughly 10 percent, he's strong where Yang is weak and weak where Yang is strong. Adams — the somewhat more polished candidate of the two — has to be careful with taking a holier than thou stance on “decriminalizing” possession for small drug amounts.
Given that this is Holy Week for most of the Western world, perhaps Adams would be served well to remember why Jesus of Nazareth declared: "He that is without sin among you — let him first cast a stone!" Perhaps rehabilitation, not "correctional," is the way to go.
As for the less notable candidates, such as Wiley (ex-counsel to Mayor de Blasio), Stringer (the city comptroller) and McGuire (a former Citi executive), they've yet to move the needle. In fact, judging by half of the likely voters still undecided, it appears the whole field has yet to move the needle.