Sadly, the political calculation includes a racial element. Because de Blasio believes he owes his election to Al Sharpton and nonwhite voters, he often asserts that “I don’t need whites to win,” an insider tells me.
It’s a reprehensible attitude that reflects a divide-and-conquer strategy waged along race and class fault lines. Unfortunately, the mayor’s assumption may be right.
Taking into account changing demographics and the city’s lopsided liberalism, along with his care and feeding of the unions, the mayor could be invincible from his right.
The only obvious danger in 2017 is that he would be outflanked on the left. Seen that way, keeping Sharpton and the unions inside the tent goes a long way toward securing his re-election, and, therefore, it matters most.
The downside to the mayor’s litmus tests are obvious everywhere. Broad measurements of the quality of life show that most New Yorkers see it declining, and fear it is growing steadily worse. A gloomy view of the future, then, will be a defining characteristic of the next two years.
Unless de Blasio changes course. For that to happen, he’ll probably need to conclude that he’ll be a one-termer otherwise.
But even facing defeat, I’m not sure he would be able to change. The amiable back-bencher of years past is drunk with power and so comfortable in his bubble that he probably believes his own hyperbole about what great things he is doing and that he is important nationally. He seems ready to sacrifice incremental progress for wild-eyed fantasies of a socialist Utopia.
In that case, buckle up, New York. Life is likely to get much worse before it gets better.