Saturday, September 7, 2013

Does Bill de Blasio's Rise Foreshadow a Progressive Turn in U.S. Politics?

Bill de Blasio has upstaged the democratic primary in New York City, and it now looks like he will be the democratic candidate.

What six months ago looked like the longest of long shots suddenly looks plausible. Can a Progressive Make It to Gracie Mansion? Matt Taylor, a Brooklyn-based writer asks in the latest issue The American Prospect:

Bill de Blasio running for New York City
Public Advocate in 2009. Photo: Hans Sandberg
"A self-styled movement progressive with a biracial family from Park Slope, Brooklyn, de Blasio has seized the mantle of change in a city where many residents appear to crave it after a decade under billionaire incumbent Michael Bloomberg’s cold vision of financial capitalist technocracy. With just a few days left before the September 10 Democratic primary, de Blasio is way out in front of his rivals; in the latest Quinnipiac poll, he crossed the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a run-off and advance directly to the November general election."
Mayor Bloomberg has been a strong leader and pushed Health and Green issues, but he has not touched the Power and wealth he shares with his fellow plutocrats.
"His signature campaign pledge is to raise taxes on those earning more than $500,000 annually to fund universal pre-K and expanded after-school programs for middle schoolers, which the latest research suggests is one of the best ways to reduce income stratification."
What happens if de Blasio wins the primary and then really becomes the mayor of New York City? If he fails in that job, he will be seen as an anomaly, a nice guy who couldn't deliver. But if he succeeds?
"De Blasio, then, represents the inevitable turn leftward in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans six to one—and where the new candidate of hope and change is charged with the task of making up for the shortcomings of the old one," Taylor concludes.

Also read: Eric Alterman's take on de Blasio in The Nation magazine:

Bill de Blasio and the Rebirth of Economic Liberalism

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