The choice of moderate Democrat Eric Adams in the mayoral primary shows that New Yorkers are fearful about the increase in crime.
“We are not going to recover as a city with tourism, which is a major driver for our city, if we’re having people shot in Times Square.” The statement is terribly obvious, but the fact that it was made by Eric Adams who has been nominated as the Democratic candidate for mayor — a result which pretty much guarantees that he will be elected — suggests there is a silent revolution taking place.
Due to the political climate in more liberal circles, especially after the events triggered by the murder of George Floyd by a police officer, speaking about the need to fight crime may testify to the most dreadful conservatism.
Adams has the track record to face the problem without fear of appearing like a coarse right-winger. He was motivated to join the police force by the abuse he suffered as a poor Black kid growing up, but does not support the defunding that the left preaches as a solution to cases of police violence.
He retired as a police captain, and was a state senator representing Brooklyn. He is vegan, and wrote a book about the crash diet that saved him from needing insulin when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
He is amiable and approachable with a contagious smile, and could never be accused of “white privilege” by proposing way to improve the fight against crime. On the contrary, he could campaign by saying that the more leftist policies are advocated by white and affluent young people, the more it will harm Black and brown minorities. (It is becoming common in the U.S. to use the term “brown” to define Spanish/Hispanic/Latino individuals and other people who are not white.)
As in Brazil, the bulk of crime in large American cities affects, above all, impoverished urban centers and neighborhoods where racial minorities live. All of these cities have had Democratic mayors for many decades and offer a good case for the Republican opposition to argue that such leadership is an example of administrative failure.
Chicago is the worst case, where more than 100 people were shot over the July 4 holiday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Chief David Brown are Black. Instead of making the usual accusations of racism and social discrimination, both now point to the judicial system for releasing criminals indiscriminately — another situation that resembles Brazil.
In New York, despite the drop in crime between last year and this year — probably due to the pandemic — assaults and homicides have been on the rise since Bill de Blasio, a left-leaning Democrat, took over as mayor in 2014.
Owners of small businesses are usually among the most affected, and many were outraged by the lenient form of justice that ruled property trespass was an infraction that did not mandate serious punishment, exemplified by the looters who took advantage of last year’s anti-racist protests. It’s another case of confusing social justice with criminal justice.
The situation isn’t better in San Francisco, an ultra-liberal city home to high-tech billionaires as well as a large number of homeless people. In 2014, California passed a law providing that the taking of property valued at less than $950 would not be prosecuted as theft.
That was another case where good intentions led to bad results. Recent videos show the ease with which thieves enter stores and, with the utmost ease, steal merchandise. One video shows a thief bicycling into a Walgreens pharmacy and helping himself to a garbage bag full of products. The security guards have already given up calling the police, as they know nothing will be done.
“As liberal activists orient their policies to combat white supremacy and call for racial justice, progressives are finding that many voters of color seem to think about the issues quite a bit differently,” wrote The New York Times, stepping on eggshells, fearful of offending racial sensibilities.
A political scientist interviewed by the newspaper described how Black voters “are more Eric Adams than AOC,” referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the deputy star of the American left who supported a New York mayoral candidate more in tune with her thinking.*
Adams has claimed a relatively centrist position, running the risk that the Democratic Party will lose the current majority in the House in next year’s midterm elections, which would seriously affect Joe Biden’s initiatives.
“I am the face of the new Democratic Party,” Adams said after the primary. “Look at me and you’re seeing the future of the Democratic Party. If the Democratic Party fails to recognize what we did here in New York, they’re going to have a problem in the presidential election.”
It is clear that the future mayor will not resurrect what were known as “broken windows” or “zero tolerance” policies for any infraction. These policies were used in the 1990s by Rudy Giuliani, who received acclaim for managing to drastically reduce crime in New York.
Times are different. Adams doesn’t have the sympathy of many of his former colleagues in the police department and will face a city that was hit hard by the pandemic, with more crime, more homeless people, fewer tourists and diminished belief in New York’s position as the richest, most powerful and influential urban center in the world.
The April edition of Visual Capitalist listed the top 10 billionaire cities. Beijing surpassed New York City by one, with 100 billionaires compared to 99 in New York; a reflection of China’s economic rise, the biggest phenomenon on the planet in recent years and nothing a mayor can change. But the ongoing shootings in Times Square will do nothing to help the legendary city recover.
*Editor’s note: The original article is available with a paid subscription.
**Editor’s note: This quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.