City council could turn progressive and socialist after primary vote
“There is a good shot of twenty to twenty-five winners,” said Tobias. “There are quite a few who are aligned with progressive issues beyond that and there is the opportunity to work on those issues with a larger caucus. “
Some people involved in the fundraising world see this shift in voting patterns as emerging from the 12 years of Michael Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the world who ruled as a moderate technocratic mayor.
“Progressive values, issues and priorities are very popular with the electorate,” said Daniel Altschuler, co-executive director of Make the Road Action, an independent spending committee that works to elect 20 progressives to city council. . “In a city that has become increasingly unequal, the desire to prioritize the needs of the working class and low-income people has become more apparent to a wider range of the electorate. “
While moderates like Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang emerge as the favorites to become the next mayor, left-wing caucuses like the Democratic Socialists of America, the Working Families Party and the Justice Democrats are investing in city council as a means of push New York in a direction markedly to the left.
“We are hoping for at least a significant plurality of seats, hopefully a majority,” said Chi Anunwa, founder of the Democratic Socialist for America section in New York. “We want to create a council that is far enough to the left to really put pressure on the more moderate forces of the city council and possibly the mayor’s seat, depending on how it goes.”
While the council legislature generally leans to the left, given that Brooklyn alone has 1.2 million registered Democrats, the opportunity presented by the redistribution and term limits has created increased pressure on moderate forces. of the party so that they cling to their gains and avoid any loss. .
For example, moderate city councilor Robert Holden is engaged in an uphill battle for his re-election to the 30e Queens District against progressive insurgent Juan Ardila, as moderate city councilor Mark Gjonaj steps down from his District 13 seat in the Bronx and his successor is likely to be progressive candidate Marjorie Velazquez, though four other challengers fight for headquarters.
Moderates like Margaret Chin, Robert Cornegy Jr. and President Corey Johnson are retiring or showing up for other offices, also leaving the door open to new blood in their districts.
“There will be an opportunity in the new council for a powerful progressive caucus because there will be more members working with grassroots activists to displace lawmakers in a way that just hasn’t happened in the past.” Tobias explained.
The battle for city council pitted big business against this grassroots activism in a fundraising war.
Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s “Courage to Change” PAC serves as a donation portal for controlled progressives, who must sign a pledge that encourages police divestment and the rejection of private sector money. PAC’s questionnaire for potential applicants has a shameless anti-business slant, as it asks whether a campaign has accepted contributions from real estate developers, real estate PACs, or executives and board members of real estate companies.
Our City PAC from Tobias raised $ 265.00, while Road to Justice from Altschuler, an affiliate PAC, raised $ 222,000, according to the Campaign Finance Board.
Conversely, Common Sense NYC, a PAC founded by businessmen Stephen Ross, Ronald Lauder, Isaac Ash, and Jack Cayre, raised at least $ 2.14 million and spent $ 834.00 on ads targeting six progressive candidates as “too dangerous” to be elected.
“Unfortunately, Wall Street and the real estate industry have obviously raised money and spent money in a way hostile to these progressive candidates and I think that’s a deeply dismal act,” Altschuler said.
Some leaders of the Democratic Party are pushing back the progressive wave dreaded by so many moderates. Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State Democratic Party, believes Socialist Democratic candidates can only win six city council seats, at most, and that the body will remain fairly moderate after Tuesday.
“This is the hype that the far left is very good at, especially on social media,” Jacobs explained. “On Twitter you’re overwhelmed with the far-left chatter, they threaten the moderates, and it creates this image of a formidable left-wing force when, for the most part, we look at a paper tiger.”