Opinion | Might Andrew Yang Actually Be New York’s Subsequent Mayor?

The operative phrase is would possibly. It’s nonetheless very early within the race. Ten weeks earlier than the 2013 mayoral main, it seemed like the highest candidates have been Anthony Weiner and Christine Quinn, then the Metropolis Council speaker. This 12 months can be New York Metropolis’s first time utilizing ranked alternative voting in such a main, and nobody is aware of fairly what that’s going to imply. It might assist Yang as a result of he’s so well-known, main supporters of different candidates to select him as their second or third alternative. Or it might damage him by consolidating the votes of constituencies Yang has alienated.

John Mollenkopf, director of the Middle for City Analysis on the Graduate Middle of the Metropolis College of New York, is skeptical that the Yang increase will final. His “intestine feeling,” he mentioned, is that the vitality round Yang is generally based mostly on the press appreciating “how he’s interacting with folks once they see him, and never a lot past that.” Mollenkopf argues that mayoral primaries are exhausting to ballot, since solely a fraction of Democrats — round 20 % in 2013 — vote in them.

And he believes that movie star and pleasure don’t win Democratic main elections in New York Metropolis. What does? “Having an natural relationship to the constituencies that comply with metropolis politics and rely on metropolis politics,” he mentioned, significantly “the varied unions that characterize people who find themselves immediately or not directly depending on authorities cash, contracts, assist for nonprofit organizations and so forth.”

In Mollenkopf’s evaluation, the town’s politics, not like the nation’s, are nonetheless mediated by a thick net of institutional relationships. Yang agrees that this has been true prior to now. He simply thinks that this time can be totally different.

“The extra the citizens expands, the higher it’s for somebody like me,” he mentioned. “And I feel the citizens will increase this time. And that is figuring out full nicely that almost any time a candidate makes the case that the citizens will increase and that’s how they’re going to win, they lose.” He’s satisfied that “there are lots of people who haven’t been plugged into New York Metropolis politics who’re really going to vote this time.”

Not lengthy after Yang mentioned this, a younger man strolling by the restaurant did a double take, eyes widening. He pointed at Yang: “I’m so excited so that you can be the mayor, man!”

Luke Hawkins, a 36-year-old actor and dancer, described discovering Yang on the Joe Rogan podcast. “I want he have been the president,” he mentioned. “I can’t stand pandering politicians. Simply the truth that there’s no BS, he’s simply fully real.” Hawkins mentioned he leans left however doesn’t like what he calls the “woke stuff” and seen Yang as a “problem-solver.”

So, I requested, would he undoubtedly vote within the main? “I frickin’ hate politics,” he mentioned. “However I’ll vote for him.” Then he requested, “When is the first?” It’s June 22. The way forward for New York Metropolis could hinge on what number of voters like him keep in mind.

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