Bill Thompson, A Most Worthy Challenger: Time To Unite Behind de Blasio
Kingmaker Dante has the most coveted afro in politics. Watch out for Lhota's scissors
[Black Star News Editorial]
It's Bill de Blasio to City Hall and Gracie Mansion. He's the one voters' picked to lead the Democratic ticket.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York. They must not take anything for granted.
The last two mayors, incumbent Michael Bloomberg and predecessor Rudolph Giuliani are Republicans. Joe Lhota won the Republican primary. Giuliani, who had the utmost disregard for African American New Yorkers, is his mentor and biggest endorser.
De Blasio won the September 10 primary with a slightly above 40% margin although 16,000 votes remain to be counted. A runoff occurs when no candidate clears 40%.
Runner-up Bill Thompson campaigned hard as did all the other candidates. Thompson is a gentleman candidate as even his opponents will attest. Perhaps he fell short, with 26%, because voters believed sometimes a strong stand on some key issues is required.
In politics, sometimes demeanor, sadly, also matters. It's hard to imagine Thompson looking angry; even when angry.
New York is an increasingly ethnic-majority city. African American citizens of New York want the mayor to address issues affecting them in the same way that he or she would address other communities. These critical issues include : quality education; affordable housing; security in their neighborhood and policing; access to affordable healthcare; and jobs with livable wages.
Many Black New Yorker's were victims of Mayor Bloomberg's and Commissioner Ray Kelly's unconstitutional and racially-selective police strategy called Stop-and-Frisk.
The people stopped and frisked were more than 80% Black or Latino. What made it even more appalling was that in 9 out of 10 cases the victims were let go because they did not carry guns or any contraband.
Yet Bloomberg and Kelly continued to argue, falsely and stubbornly, that the strategy prevented gun murders. A District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled the practice unconstitutional.
Both Thompson and de Blasio have said they would reform Stop-and-Frisk, which both said was abused under the Bloomberg Administration.
Candidate John Liu, with 7%, was the only one who said he would abolish the practice all together. Liu was the most tireless campaigner and connected well with ordinary New Yorkers. His campaign was pushed into a deep hole by the trial of staffers for reported fundraising violations. His campaign was targeted for selective prosecution. This meant in a 100 meters race he was placed 20 meters behind the starting lineup.
Liu is young and has a future.
Christine Quinn, with 16%, once a front-runner, faded terribly as she was identified too closely with Bloomberg. She also said she would retain Police Commissioner Kelly.
Anthony Weiner, with 5%, saw his candidacy repudiated because he never came out clean about his sexting controversy. He had been forgiven until it became clear he didn't disclose he had continued sexting after quitting Congress.
Now all the Democratic candidates must unite behind one person.
Thompson and de Blasio split the Black vote.
De Blasio was seen as being much more aggressive against Stop-and-Frisk, at least in his pronouncements. His ability to draw many Black voters was also helped by the fact that he's married to an African American. Mayor Bloomberg, it seems, believes that 16 year old Dante de Blasio's afro was also a game-changer. He used indelicate language to show his displeasure.
De Blasio took more chances than Thompson. He said New York City was a city of the have-a-lots and the have-too-littles. He vowed to tax the wealthy more in order to make this a city for all New Yorkers. Clearly de Blasio was able to separate himself from the other Democratic candidates, including Thompson.
Now is the time for all Democrats to unite.
Thompson could pick up the phone.