Tomorrow in New York City the mayoral primary will occur after three terms of Mayor Mike. It is in certain ways a repeat of the 2008 Presidential primary (if the polls are to be believed) but there are some really important lessons from the races.
Before we get there, let's talk about the Moscow mayoral race which is a truly amazing set of events. First, Sergei Sobyanin won with 51% of the vote. He's a Putinite, and the current mayor. But there were 5 challengers, including Alexei Navalny. Navalny received 27% of the vote. Anything over 20% was considered to be a huge win. Navalny won't contest the vote, although he (and many others) believe the fix was in. Still, turnout was about 26%, so this is really great for the potential of actual candidates eventually winning.
Alexei Navalny is head of the People's Alliance, a sort-of political party opposed to Putin, and therefore, an unregistered party. He's a blogger, a lawyer, an activist, and recently released from prison. He'd been indicted on trumped up embezzlement charges (which in Moscow is more common than you might think), convicted, and then released pending appeal. (The jury's still out, as it were.)
Back across the pond...until late summer, Christine Quinn, current Speaker of the City Council, and also serving a third term, was the "inevitable" next mayor. And wow, the thinking went, the first woman mayor of NY and the first openly gay mayor of NY. (Ed Koch was theoretically the first gay mayor of NY.)
The line had been that Christine Quinn would win the primary, but with less than 40%, thus there would be a runoff. So the question was: who would face Quinn in the runoff: Anthony Weiner, John Liu, Bill Thompson, or Bill De Blasio. And then Carlos Danger imploded, Bill Thompson faded, Liu didn't get traction and Bill De Blasio ran a liberal campaign and may well cross the 40% threshold on Tuesday, and thus be the next mayor of New York City. (The Republicans don't count...that's over. There are also two additional Democratic candidates, neither of whom broke above 1% in the polls.)
So let's look at De Blasio. His campaign is based on the idea of two New Yorks: rich Manhattanites and everybody else. He is incredibly opposed to stop-and-frisk (currently being investigated by the FBI), is far left on every issue, and just take a look at this ad, his first to run on TV. (By the end of the ad, you should be able to figure out who the woman in the yellow shirt is...)
There are a number of issues, in addition to stop-and-frisk that De Blasio is progressive about: paid sick days (which Quinn opposed), a small tax on the wealthy to fund early childhood education, and public financing for elections. If you want to see where all the candidates stand on a variety of issues, click here.
Face it, if De Blasio wins tomorrow's primary, it will mean that a candidate espousing liberal ideas can win. Clear enunciation of the things we liberals believe in heart and soul. You may say "Well, that's NY, it wouldn't play in Peoria." Perhaps not, but potentially Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, to name a few.
Think NY has had liberal mayors? Um...David Dinkins in the early '90's, and before that, you'd have to go all the way back to the early years of John Lindsay in the mid-60's. Koch? Guiliani? Bloomberg? Not so much. It would be fantastic to see liberals getting a foothold at the municipal level. Remember, the past two years have been hell on regular people less because of the Federal government, and more because of what states have done. New York City, remember, has a higher population than all by 11 states. Think about the possibilities...
We'll see tomorrow.