How often do African Americans have to save the Democratic Party from its left-wing? With Black voters having just thrust a moderate ex-cop to the head of the pack in New York City’s mayoral race, it’s the second time in just over a year they’ve done it.
Making Brooklyn Borough President and former police captain Eric Adams the next mayor of liberal New York propels public safety toward the top of Democrats’ priority list. And it takes air out of the politically poisonous “defund the police” nonsense floated by a few on the left.
“I don’t hate police departments,” Adams, an African American who says he was beaten by police in his youth, said. “I hate abusive policing, and that’s what people mix up.”
The left’s candidate, activist Maya Wiley, is among the mixed up. She wants to slash $1 billion from the budget of the New York Police Department just as shootings spike. It also didn’t help Wiley that her family paid for a private security service after her partner was violently mugged.
It’s notable that Adams won over the Black and Latino working-class, whereas Wiley appealed more to educated white liberals living in relatively safe areas. Wiley supporter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other self-described socialists might ask themselves this: If working-class people of all colors greatly preferred Adams — who dispensed with ideology and talked about their actual lives — exactly what is the point of their preaching?
The liberal media bear much of the blame for inflating the importance of Ocasio-Cortez and comrades, who, because of social media, loom larger than they actually are. Here’s an example from The New York Times: “For months, it was Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s decision that had been one of the most consequential open questions in the mayor’s race.”
Oh, and what made her endorsement more consequential than that of Rep. Ritchie Torres, an Afro-Latino gay moderate representing much of the Bronx? Torres backed Adams, who swept his blue-collar borough. Torres’ district is 94% Hispanic and Black. Its median household income, $31,061, is less than half that of Ocasio-Cortez’s partly gentrified district.
In northern Manhattan, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, a Dominican member of Congress and powerful voice among the city’s Hispanics, also endorsed Adams. Blacks and Latinos have borne the brunt of increased crime, and guess what? They don’t like it.
The Times, meanwhile, had been brutally unfair to police in its coverage of confrontations with demonstrators. An editorial last year complained that “too often in recent months, instead of a balm, the Police Department has become another source of trauma.” (The same editorial criticized the NYPD for not stopping the destruction of property in Manhattan.) Last June, The Times published a piece entitled “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police.”
Blacks saved the Democratic Party last year when their primary voters catapulted Joe Biden from nowhere to front-runner. Until then, the leading presidential candidate was Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist who had not a prayer of defeating then- President Donald Trump.
Going forward, the Democratic Party should stop letting Iowa and New Hampshire start its presidential nominating process. Biden finished fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire. The white liberal gentry tends to dominate Democratic politics in both states, whereas nationally, working-class Blacks and Latinos are the party’s backbone.
After taking his commanding lead, Adams explained the stakes. “If the Democratic Party fails to recognize what we did here in New York,” he said, “they’re going to have a problem in the midterm elections, and they’re going to have a problem in the presidential election.”
How often must people of color save the Democratic Party from its left fringe? As often as they have to, unfortunately.
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at email@example.com.