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New York becomes new battleground for Democrats’ ideological struggle

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Eric Adams, a former centrist police officer, is expected to become the city’s second black mayor, but the margin of his victory will serve to gauge his strength against the party’s left-wing.

The city of New York, the largest in the United States, elects its mayor on Tuesday, a post of immense importance and authority in the country’s economic and cultural engine that, in many instances, serves as a springboard for more ambitious political careers. That struggle is practically settled in a city that has become a progressive bastion, as it has been in recent electoral cycles.

Eric Adams, the Democratic contender, is a clear favourite to defeat Curtis Sliwa, a colourful Republican who founded the Guardian Angels, a volunteer crime-fighting organisation, and is a radio broadcaster.

When the primaries were contested and the various Democratic currents were measured in June, the race for New York was decided. Adams, a former centrist police officer who has fought the leftist sector’s agenda of “cuts” or “abolition” of the police since last summer, was issuing a caution to sailors in the party: possibly the leftists have more clout among the media and political elites than among the public. Now, in the race against Sliwa, his margin of victory – a loss would be a major shock – will define Democratic opposition to policies that have sparked public outrage, such as mandatory vaccination orders for all city officials.

Adams, who will be New York’s second black mayor and has described himself as a “pragmatic moderate” and a “true progressive,” was seen as a voter response to national party figures like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the Bronx and Queens boroughs of New York.

Fierce Fight in Buffalo

In Buffalo, New York’s second-largest city, which also elects its mayor, the reaction might be different. There is a public feud between India Walton and Byron Brown, the current councillor. The first is a member of the so-called ‘democratic socialists,’ such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won the primary elections. Brown has requested voters to put his name on the ballots, despite the fact that he will not be on the ballots, in what is yet another conflict between the party’s two spirits, the leftist and the moderate.

It’s the same problem that Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had with Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020, and it’s the same problem that is now unseating Democrats in Congress, who are unable to progress their ambitious spending proposals due to their differences. Brown has been referred to as a “Trump puppet” and “too dangerous” by Walton.

Image Credit: Getty

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