Welcome to 2017, a local election year. Before a season of campaign ads and political speeches as fake as Mariah Carey's New Year’s Eve performance, let's start with a resolution to stay vigilant of a few predictable themes come November’s mayoral election.
Democrats Will Use The Trump Card To Distract You
Progressive NYC lawmakers jockeying to be seen at news conferences in front of Trump Tower to protest the president-elect have been a hallmark of the post-election season. But behind the finger wagging are some inconvenient truths. The city's affordable housing plan is wildly unpopular. Criminal justice reform has gone next to nowhere under City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, while the Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to bow down at the altar of the NYPD. Throw in a panic about the city's IDNYC program, which lawmakers steered toward immigrants here illegally but now may provide information for federal officials, and it's obvious why Democrats want the attention on Donald Trump and not themselves. Few, if any, city pols deserve our vote so they'll resort to bashing Trumpzilla instead.
The De Blasio Hangover
You'd think with stories about federal investigations into de Blasio’s campaign fundraising dropping almost every other week, there'd be challengers lining up around the block. De Blasio's first three years have been uninspiring, to put it politely. With the failure of Democrats at the national level, perhaps we'll see a mayoral candidate who isn't tied to developers and who can actually hold the police department accountable. Such a person may not exist within the city's lackluster Democratic roster, but after last year's presidential election, anything would seem possible. At several anti-gentrification and police-brutality protests there's been one recurring chant: "One term mayor!" That energy has to be channeled somewhere. Another four years of de Blasio would be agonizing.
A Pay-to-Play City?
Maybe the worst part of city politics is how transactional it is despite all of the "progressive" rhetoric. Berlin Rosen, the public relations firm at the center of controversies surrounding the mayor, has been employed at one time or another by progressive political players in the city: unions, social justice advocacy groups and liberal nonprofits alike. Most will fall in line with de Blasio and other incumbent Democrats as this year’s mayoral election gets closer. The name of the game is access. If you don't have the money, you don't get to play.
You do have a vote. If you plan to use it, then use it to monkey wrench the system. What the heck, run for office yourself. I'd rather vote for you than what's currently on the menu.
Josmar Trujillo is a trainer, writer and activist with the Coalition to End Broken Windows.