Friday, June 25, 2021

Do the New York Mayoral Results Mean We're Past Peak Woke?

Well, Eric Adams, the moderate black candidate who emphasized public safety and most definitely was not the woke candidate, did rather well in initial results from the primary of a very large and very Democratic city. While we await the results of the ranked choice voting system, he seems quite likely to be the next mayor of New York City. From Andy Newman in the Times:
"Can Wiley or Garcia still win?
Mathematically, yes. Ms. Wiley could win if she makes it to the final round and is ranked ahead of Mr. Adams on around 60 percent of all ballots where neither is ranked first. Ms. Garcia’s threshold in the same situation is a few points higher.
What’s the likelihood of that?
Low. Mr. Adams would have to be enormously unpopular among voters who did not rank him first, and one of the few polls done late in the race showed broader support for him than for Ms. Wiley or Ms. Garcia."
Adams himself suggested that his (probable) election represents a new direction for the Democratic party:
“Look at me and you’re seeing the future of the Democratic Party. If the Democratic Party fails to recognize what we did here in New York, they’re going to have a problem in the midterm elections and they’re going to have a problem in the presidential election...America is saying, we want to have justice and safety and end inequalities and we don’t want fancy candidates...“We have allowed a group to hijack the term progressive....So what I’m saying to the Democratic Party — stop believing a numerical minority is what the numerical majority is.....New Yorkers and Americans want to be safe and they don’t want to exist on programs; they want to exist on possibilities and opportunities,” he added. “I believe my message is going to cascade across the entire country.”
Strong words! Anusar Farooqui on his excellent substack thinks Adams may be onto something.
"For a while it seemed that the woke shall rule the world. That hardline, theory-infused, color-conscious Boasian antiracism — the ideology of the cultural elites from the wrong side of the two cultures divide within the Ivory Tower — had emerged as the hegemonic ideology of the professional class. That turns out to have been too broad-brush. Turns out that there is resistance; not just from Tucker and the GOP, and the white working class behind nationalist populism — but from within the professional class and within the Democratic Party....
Early pushback began when Democratic politicians started facing severe penalties for espousing the hare-brained scheme of defunding the police. From the time the idea emerged from the bowels of prestige schools, Democratic strategists with a leash to reality, including yours truly, had warned that defunding the police was going to be a political and policy catastrophe. It was guaranteed to be a political catastrophe for Dems because poll after poll showed weak to non-existent support for the defund outside the narrow confines of the prestige-schooled professional class. And it was going to be a policy catastrophe because of its effect on police morale, resulting in underpolicing and greater violence in American cities — whose principal victims were going to be black. Both these predictions have obtained.
After yesterday’s mayoral election in New has become clear that defund is an unambiguous loser. If you can’t sell it in New York City, where exactly can you sell it? But before we turn to the election, I should also note another catastrophe that is brewing for Dems. The conflict over teaching theory to kids is coming to a boil. Resistance is growing not just among Republicans and working class, but also the middle class and Democrats.
In general, it is clear that the woke ideology will, in fact, not became hegemonic. Yes, it is not going to decline and vanish. But what I am saying is that we are past peak woke — the high tide of woke hegemony is behind us. Formidable forces, going all the way up to the White House, have now mobilized to contain the woke counterrevolution. In a sense, the message here is reassuring: the pushback from below has, through the electoral-strategic computations of Democrats, generated forces that will almost surely contain this corrosive elite ideology."
Farooqui backs up his case with some quantitative analysis of the election results:
"Rentiers, not renters, supported AOC-endorsed Wiley. Rentier support was even higher for NYTimes-endorsed Garcia.
Turning to economic class, whether we use median household income, median family income, or median gross rent, we find the same pattern: Garcia and Wiley found support in posh districts; Adams and Yang found support in poorer districts.
As we have seen many times before, and Piketty has shown more recently, education gives a stronger handle on political affinity than income in the United States. The share of the district’s populace with a high school diploma is an excellent proxy for the working class. We find that they threw their weight behind Eric Adams....Adams had unambiguous support from working-class New Yorkers; Garcia was the choice of the highly educated elites....
The story that emerges from this analysis is that Adams assembled a powerful coalition of working-class and middle-class New Yorkers to win the election. Meanwhile, Garcia and Wiley split the professional class between them."
Farooqui concludes, perhaps a bit too optimistically:
"The result of the New York mayoral Democratic primary is going to accelerate the process that has been underway since the presidential election. It will provide ammunition to the forces now committed to containing the woke counterrevolution. It will become harder and harder to find a Democrat willing to toe the woke party line. No Democratic politician is going to touch defund with a pole. Prestige-schooled woke education policy wonks seem unlikely to back down. But they will find a great deal of pushback; not just from without (GOP/FOX) but from within the Democratic Party.
The NYC election marks a decisive turning point not just for the woke counterrevolution but also for Democratic politics and the future of the republic. The prospects for an exit from the secular downcycle have improved as risks associated with the woke counterrevolution have receded. Perhaps Powell, Yellen and Biden can pull it off after all. This is excellent news."
Well, as we pundits say....only time will tell. But it's certainly possible this election could mark a sort of turning point. Here's hoping.

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