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A breakdown of NYC’s huge vote of confidence for Eric Adams

How the Brooklyn Borough President won a historic election for NYC mayor

November 3, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Democrat Eric Adams cruised to victory in the race to become New York City’s 110th mayor on Tuesday. The race was called shortly after the polls closed, and Adams was leading GOP contender Curtis Sliwa by nearly 40 percentage points as of this morning.

The historic victory positions Adams to become the second Black mayor in NYC history, after Mayor David Dinkins.

The victory over the outspoken Guardian Angels founder and Republican nominee Sliwa was hardly a surprise, with NYC Dem voters outnumbering GOPs by a 7-1 ratio. But Eric becoming the Democratic nominee and winning support from voters during one of NYC’s most precipitous eras in history, amidst a shifting progressive political landscape and an extremely competitive primary was hardly a given. Here’s a breakdown of his victory:

Winning the hearts and minds of working-class and disenfranchised New Yorkers

While addressing supporters at last night’s victory party in Brooklyn, where he serves as Borough President, Adams highlighted a narrative that he repeatedly used during the race to inspire Black, working-class, and ailing New Yorkers.

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“This campaign was for the person cleaning bathrooms and the dishwasher in the kitchen who feels they are already at the end of their journey,” Adams said. “My mother cleaned houses. I washed dishes. I was beaten by police and sat in a precinct holding cell, certain that my future was already decided. And now I’m going to be the person in charge of that precinct. And every other precinct in the city of New York.”

Adams overwhelmingly won Black and Latino voters in the crowded Democratic primary and general election, and his message strongly resonated with struggling New Yorkers as the city faces economic peril.

Getting NYC back to business

With wealthy NYers fleeing a city that faces an outsized 9.8% unemployment rate (as of September) and lagging growth, Adams’ embrace of big business was a welcome contrast for many voters (and major donors) from his predecessor Mayor de Blasio and further-left progressive primary contenders. Adams went as far as to say in July that he was “running against a movement” and that Democratic Socialists of America were looking to block his victory

While addressing NYC’s business elite, Eric Adams promised that “the city will no longer be anti-business.” He also vowed to personally go down to Florida and bring the wealthy “back to New York.”

It marked a seismic shift from Bill de Blasio’s two-term “tale of two cities” approach, where he said “I am not going to beg” for the wealthy to return.

Adams, a self-described moderate Dem, also distinguished himself from progressive mayoral contenders. Maya Wiley, who the far-left coalesced behind in the primary, campaigned on raising taxes on the wealthy and slapping taxes on Wall Street transactions.

Adams’ “100 Step Foward Plan” also focused on boosting the life sciences, green jobs and start-ups, which is not only appealing to big business but also the desperate New Yorkers looking for a leg up. And Adam’s blue-collar background and strong union ties sent a clear message that the working-class would also rise along with the tide.

Defunding Police Versus Combatting Crime

Murders in New York City shot up a shocking 45 percent and shootings went up 97 percent in 2020 and have continued to rise this year. Maya Wiley, who came in a close second for first-round votes in the primary, adopted a defund the police narrative, along with other competitors.

Eric Adam’s 22-year history in the police may have turned off some voters, but crime became the single most important issue for voters during the primary, according to an NY1 poll.

His promised return to proactive police tactics and shunning the reduction of policing resources stuck a chord with voters and remained a defining battle with Curtis Sliwa (who has quite a storied, and controversial history with fighting crime).

As George Arzt, a veteran New York Democratic consultant said, “I think that suddenly the pendulum has shifted from the cries of ‘defund the police’ to, ‘wait a minute – we’ve got to have more and better policing, We’ve got to have more police in the street and in the subway. We’ve got to stop this crime.'”

Eric Adams is taking the helm of a city emerging from the throes of a pandemic and a staggering set of challenges. Only about 30 percent of NYC’s offices are actually occupied by humans, and the world’s tourism and business capitol isn’t faring very well on either front as crime still looms.

Yet as Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodenyse Hermelyn Bichotte said, “Eric possesses the judgment, drive, and experience to help restore the city’s economy and make our streets safe again.” Let’s hope so.

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