Crime is the biggest issue in the New York mayor’s race, according to both candidates and the moderators of Tuesday night’s debate. No one bothered to pretend the current mayor, Bill de Blasio, has been anything other than a complete disaster. In just seven years, de Blasio turned the safest big city in America into a vast, lawless, festering homeless shelter. His successor apparent, Eric Adams, is a former police officer and the current Brooklyn borough president.
New Yorkers mostly put up with the decline of their city, not wanting to acknowledge the failures of their aloof, ruling monoparty. But with the orgy of violence and unrest in the summer of 2020 over, the wealthy, white liberal base, who spent the months ahead of that year’s general election cheering on looters and tossing Molotov cocktails into police cruisers, are crawling out from their bloodlust hangover and feeling on edge. Even they like the idea of a former lawman running things.
Adams, at first, appeared to be one of those old-timey Democrats, so outdated from the current party you’d expect to only see him photographed in sepia. I believe the term is “moderate.” But, of course, such a person doesn’t exist, as we see time and time again. The current US president is only the most prominent example of the Democratic trickster who runs, successfully, as a balanced, middle-of-the-road guy. Then, from day one in office, it’s all ideological purging, jailing PTSA moms, medical apartheid and transgender admirals.
Even Republican and Independent party challenger Curtis Sliwa seems to know he doesn’t have a chance in Hell. And, realizing that, he appeared to spend the debate on the offense, more pundit than candidate, urging Adams to do good. This, of course, speaks of Sliwa’s passion for New York and its people. The man has a huge heart. He’s a colorful, emotional, anti-politician and has been an instantly recognizable figure in New York for decades.
A viral video of Sliwa consoling a mentally ill homeless man outside Port Authority over summer may have been the most powerful moment seen in a generation in local politics. It was the sort of clip that could win an election, if New Yorkers were a little more open-minded when it came to Ds and Rs. During the debate, Adams, attempting to appear compassionate, referred to New York’s glut of drug-addled zombies, the homeless, as “our neighbors,” as though leaving a dump on your doorstep is the same as borrowing a cup of sugar.
Adams is supremely unlikable, and that was on full display at the debates. Sliwa, a former radio host and founder of the Guardian Angels, spent the entire evening in profile, rarely addressing the camera but only his opponent or the moderator. Adams never once looked away from the camera, and barely, if ever, acknowledged other people were in the room. Sliwa, and the working-class New Yorkers he represents, are a joke to Adams. I’m not sure the smug vegan even blinked; instead he just stood there in a perpetual state of holding back laughter. His pinched perma-smirk resonated more than anything he had to say, which wasn’t much. He thinks Sliwa, and anyone who looks or speaks like him, are clowns.
But none of that matters. Sliwa won the debate, hands down. Yet Adams, who didn’t really appear knowledgeable about any one thing, will still waltz into the mayor’s office, “wined, dined, and pocket-lined,” as Sliwa described him, without really trying or a care in the world.
“There’s something interesting happening in government,” a friend said recently. “When I worked for the US Forest Service we saw it all the time: these problem employees no one wanted to deal with, people who were difficult, I guess we would call them ‘woke’ individuals now. You can’t really fire them so they’d just move up the chain, to get rid of them, and before you know it, they’re the boss, running complete departments.”
“Now we’ve got an entire Democratic party full of these individuals who think their agenda is the right way, when really they probably just need to be punched in the face,” the friend said.
If you knew nothing about Eric Adams, you might get the impression from Tuesday’s mayoral debate that he spent his entire life as one of these disagreeable co-workers with the loneliest lunch breaks, persistently nagging his way into higher office.