Opinion: 2009, Today, Tomorrow

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As I and others have noted, there’s been a lack of polling for the upcoming mayoral primary election. Polling is a snapshot that can tell one where things stand, but it can also be a big part of where things end up (aka winning the election). There are many reasons for this, but a big one is that people, especially if they’re unsure who to vote for, want to vote for who they think will win. Another reason is that if people opposing a candidate feel voting against them won’t matter; they are less likely to vote.

This is not an inspiring aspect of the democratic process, but it’s very real. 

It may seem crazy now, but in 2009, NYC elected a Republican for the 5th consecutive election largely due to this strategy of releasing internal (aka paid for by the candidate) polls to reinforce a sense of inevitability. 

Who was that Republican? Why the richest man in New York City, Mike Bloomberg, of course. Who ran his 2009 campaign? Bradley Tusk

I’m not asking and answering those questions for civic trivia. I ask because one can have a greater understanding of this year’s mayoral election by knowing that. Especially with the answer to one more question, who is running Andrew Yang’s Mayoral Campaign? Bradley Tusk.

I didn’t support Bloomberg and don’t support Yang. However, I can’t deny it’s a good strategy and don’t begrudge Tusk for using it. In 2009 powerful people and organizations, like some unions, avoided endorsing Bloomberg’s opponent, William Thompson, due to the sense Bloomberg was a lock to win. Mike Bloomberg spent over 100 million dollars on his campaign and, after eeking out a 5 point win, it averaged out to close to 200 dollars a vote. 

Andrew Yang, and his campaign, has tried to run as an earnest and happy campaigner who loves the city despite having left it during a pandemic and having never bothered to participate in a Mayoral election before this one. The Yang campaign has also tried to make him appear to be the favorite to be the city’s next Mayor, and until recently, it was working. That failing strategy has now been altered as it has been reported that change is occurring. Andrew Yang is now going negative. He’s calling out Eric Adams for experience (where is his?) and trash-talking (no pun intended) former sanitation Commissioner Garcia. 

The comments about Kathryn Garcia are not just ill-advised, but as I pointed out last week, they’re hypocritical and revealing. After months of insisting that he’d hire Garcia as a deputy mayor, he’s suddenly backtracking. Of course, he’s allowed to backtrack, but he’s doing so not because of any revelation about her but because he knows he’s losing. 

How do I know that? Because if he weren’t, he’d release a poll saying otherwise.