New Yorkers sent far-left progressives a strong message via this week’s primaries: “Sorry, we’re not like you.”
On Tuesday, nine of the 11 challengers backed by the Working Families Party and four of the ones backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic Socialists of America-NYC succumbed to more moderate candidates. Ex-AOC staffer Jonathan Soto, for instance, fell to incumbent Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, who pointed to his rival as soft on crime — an issue tops on New Yorkers’ minds.
That Soto-Benedetto race highlights the progressives’ cluelessness. Sure, four years ago with Orange-Man-Bad in the White House, AOC managed to snag a seat in Congress and the lefties might’ve thought they had an opening. Their anti-cop, socialist agenda then got a big boost with the Black Lives Matter protests and the Democrats’ defund-the-police movement.
Yet even then, most sane people — Republican or Democrat, black or white — didn’t really want cops defunded. Polls showed overwhelming support for keeping police presence at the level it was, if not increasing it.
When crime began to rise (thanks largely to disastrous criminal-justice “reforms” at City Hall and in Albany), many New Yorkers began demanding a crackdown. Meanwhile, the progressives’ flat-out-socialist agenda never rose to the level of mainstream. Plus, after 2020, the Donald Trump boogeyman no longer drove enthusiasm as it once did.
The picture became clearer with Eric Adams’ victory in last year’s mayoral race after he focused on crime. In some ways, Tuesday’s races represented a proxy war between him and AOC over whose camp will control state and city government — mainstream Democrats or socialists.
The good news, if Tuesday is any guide: It won’t be the socialists. Their lefty agenda simply isn’t in tune with the concerns of normal Democratic New Yorkers, who just want decent schools for their kids, safe subways to get to and from work and the mentally ill and drug abusers to be looked after, rather than discarded on public streets.
“The left needs to understand where the majority of voters in the Democratic Party are,” warns political consultant Jake Dilemani. “They need to meet them where they are on the issues. The power of incumbency certainly plays a strong role, but in the open seats with no incumbent, the mainstream Democrat won.”
New Yorkers can only pray that, when it comes to loony AOC-style progressives, the party’s over. For good.