Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why the Bill de Blasio Victory is So Astounding

Bill de Blasio, along with his multiracial family, is strengthening of real bonds among New Yorkers of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. 

The Bill de Blasio mayoral campaign reflects the new New York, writes Denis Hamill of the Daily News. 

For the first time in six decades, more people moved into New York City than out last year. And when I showed up at de Blasio’s victory party at Bell House in Park Slope on Primary Night, you could see new, energetic, optimistic young faces mixed with older natives. All were working for a new direction in a reimagined city.


“I come from California,” said Kelly King, 46, a de Blasio volunteer who moved from the West Coast to the East Village. “I was a white orphan adopted by a black father and an Italian-American mother from New Dorp, Staten Island. I was raised in California, but I moved to New York a few years ago after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was told people of my age had a 75% chance of dying.” She said she wanted to stay optimistic as she fought for her life, so she decided to volunteer for a mayoral candidate.

de Blasio won 40 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, a campaign that featured five major candidates, according to political blogger Ian Reifowitz.

Exit polls show that de Blasio won almost exactly 40 percent among white, black, and Hispanic New Yorkers, while winning 40 percent overall. John Liu won a plurality among Asian New Yorkers, according to other data, but even there de Blasio appears to have finished a respectable second to a groundbreaking candidate for that community. Additionally, de Blasio also won   40 percent among men and women, across all age groups, levels of education, and among the three major religious groupings (Jews, Catholics and Protestants).
Two Republican candidates have won the past five mayoral elections in the deep-blue city. To sustain the GOP winning streak, new nominee Joe Lhota must emulate both Rudy Giuliani, his political mentor, and Michael Bloomberg, who succeeded Giuliani, by picking off significant numbers of Democratic and unaffiliated voters, said Dan Janison of Newsday.

So a steep, uphill climb lies before the first-time GOP candidate, who is  running without either Giuliani's fame as a law man or Bloomberg's billions.

One seasoned Democratic strategist said: "Lhota has a steep upward climb. I'm not saying it's impossible for him. But it's tough to take Lhota seriously until he shows he can tap into the minority vote. You can't be elected mayor of New York any more and be shut out of that."

In 2009, exit pollsters reported 46 percent of voters identified themselves as white, 44 percent black or Hispanic, and 7 percent Asian -- the city's first "minority-majority" election, reflecting a long-term demographic trend.

Food for thought:
Compare what de Blasio accomplished in winning the race while effectively earning the same percentage among white, black, and Hispanic New Yorkers; with the results of the 2008 presidential primary. In 2008 Hillary Clinton did better among white and Hispanic voters than she did overall, and Barack Obama won the black vote by a very wide margin in an overall close race. In terms of who voted for whom, race mattered,  Reifowitz said.

de Blasio's big win stunned political analysts. They never imagined that an election winner could garner equal support among the city's three dominant ethnic/racial groups. Here's what Edison Research Executive Vice President Joe Lenski had to say:
“I don’t know if I could ever remember a race where a black guy is (close to) losing the black vote, the woman is losing the woman vote, the Jewish guy is losing the Jewish vote. It’s quite impressive....de Blasio did a good job of saying, ‘I’m one of you even though I’m not personally one of you.’ He was able to say, ‘my wife is African-American, my kids are multiracial."
De Blasio is of Italian-American and mixed European ethnic heritage. He and his wife, activist and poet Chirlane McCray, met while both were working for the Dinkins administration. They live in Park Slope, Brooklyn with their two children, Dante and Chiara.  Both children attend public schools.

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