With an Important Election Nearing, Some Voters are Too Overwhelmed to Give it Due Attention
New York City — In Stephen Covey's classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he devotes an entire chapter to the importance of putting first things first. "Effective leadership is putting first things first," Covey writes. Indeed, given that we each serve as the CEO of our own lives, quite naturally we subconsciously apply this rule.
From high unemployment to dealing with the lingering effects of a pandemic, many New Yorkers feel overwhelmed.
Quite simply, voters putting first things first overrides mayoral concerns. No wonder, then, when leading candidate Andrew Yang recently showed up to an event in the Bronx, according to the NY Times, his arrival merely "annoyed" some of the locals.
Perhaps Ena Farquharson — a retired nurse — best illustrated why putting "first things first" has become an anthem for many.
In Farquharson's attempt to visit friends, she encountered a blocked sidewalk. This only added to her frustrations. No wonder when asked about the mayor's race, Farquharson replied, "The only thing I’m thinking about is Covid.” Indeed, the pressures of day-to-day life make it challenging for some to focus on candidates.
Perhaps Howard Wolfson, a Democratic political strategist, was onto something when he recently told Bloomberg Opinion the following:
In a lot of ways, this campaign began last year in a different New York. Covid has been such an overwhelming presence in our lives that it’s understandable that candidates were running in its shadow. But the spring of 2021 is not the spring of 2020. And I do wonder whether all of the candidates have adjusted to the new reality that we face coming out of Covid.
After a year of quarantine and the constant threat of contracting a potentially deadly virus, it's understandable that some New Yorkers have shifted their priorities to first things first.
“There are a lot of more pressing issues, it doesn’t really leave too much space,” said Kevin Nimmons, a paralegal in Brooklyn. “Racism, classism, nationalism, sexism.” In other words, the inclination to put first things first has somewhat taken priority over the upcoming election.
Even the recent polls tell a story of sluggish voter enthusiasm. NY1 and Ipsos seemingly confirm the lukewarm feeling at the moment. But NYC isn't alone in suffering from this "COVID hangover." A recent headline from Fort Worth's leading daily newspaper says it all:
Low turnout means a few hundred votes could decide who will be Fort Worth’s mayor.
Despite the obstacles and somewhat sluggish reactions so far, New Yorkers still acknowledge the importance of the upcoming election. "Arguably the most consequential New York City election in decades," said veteran reporter Michael Wilson.
In short, with two months left before the Democratic primary for mayor, hopefully the recent drops in COVID positivity rates — to levels not seen since last year — along with the reopening of venues will help to shift voter focus from "first things first" to a big picture view.