Primary Election Day Analysis

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting in line to vote in Brooklyn, in the 2008 election. (April Sikorski/Wikimedia Commons)

Ester Fuchs, professor of international and public affairs and political science at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University and former advisor to Mayor Bloomberg, and Christina Greer, assistant professor of political science at Fordham University (Lincoln Center) and author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, discuss the results of yesterday's mayoral primaries, other city-wide races, and what voting bloc turnout says about candidates and issues.




Ester Fuchs

Comments [25]

And Quinn's Irish base?? Oh yeah, sure, all those Irish that fight like dogs to keep gays out of the St. Patrick's Day parade!

This guest knows zilch.

Sep. 11 2013 01:52 PM

The concern over "affordable housing" stems from the astounding, octopus-like power that the real estate industry holds in our city/state pols.

Has anyone been by 12th and 7th ave lately, ie, where St. Vincent's was? It literally looks like a block in Hiroshima, c. 1945. Real Estate LOVED the closing of St. Vincent's. To open up an entire block they could demolish so the rich could find a home in Greenwich Village? THEY LOVED IT.

So I voted firmly against all who let it--and the NYU anschluss of the Villages--happen.

Sep. 11 2013 01:51 PM
antonio from baySide

Sorry Sheldon, it's pretty sound!

What's his alternative? Going deeper into the Guilianni/Bloomberg play book?

Sep. 11 2013 12:52 PM
Mike from Tribeca

Tony from Canarsie -- You stole the words right out of my mouth!

Truth & Beauty -- I agree with Tony on this.

Sep. 11 2013 12:24 PM
Tony from Canarsie

Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn -- thanks for the clarification, but I disagree with all of your premises.

Sep. 11 2013 12:22 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Mike from Tribeca: I mean that people who know that his real last name is Germanic wouldn't be attracted to him by an Italian last name because that's not what he originally had. Since he's changed his name, he might have some appeal for the Italian community, but those who knew his original name would not initially be wooed by that alone.

In any event, he is not appealing to the traditional Italian community at this point. He's appealing to the very liberal upscale community despite the fact that his wife is black. Using his son for campaign purposes is as much a ploy as that used by any other politician. Find some way to appeal to as many voters as possible, or lose the election.

Sep. 11 2013 12:16 PM
Mike from Tribeca

Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn -- "DiBlasio actually changed his name from something Germanic, so forget the Italian identity."

(Eye roll) De Blasio took his mother's name. His mother's family, i.e., HIS family, is Italian-American. Are you saying that one's father's ethnicity is the only one that matters?

Sep. 11 2013 12:04 PM
Sally from Cobble Hill

SPR from Staten Island, NY -- historically, primary races always have low voter turnouts, though nothing compared to the shamefully low turnouts for School Board elections.

Sep. 11 2013 11:59 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Oops, in my comment below I meant Jobs 4 New York’s campaign against Assemblyman Alan Maisel's opponents, not their mailings for Margaret Chin. Different borough for one thing.

Sep. 11 2013 11:52 AM
SPR from Staten Island, NY

Unfortunately, although I am a registered voter, I am not a registered Democrat or Republican, and could not vote in this primary. I pushed my husband to vote, but he told me it was not a vote for someone as much as a vote against others. I want a SAFE city first, and worry that we won't get it this go-round. I'm a 1960's liberal who is turning conservative as I age. Perhaps the low turn-out shows not apathy, but the fact that voters don't really want ANY of those who are running! If write-in votes are permitted, I'd vote for Christine Quinn...if only to show that I don't want DeBlasio or Thompson, or Lhota. Heck, I'd even write in Bloomberg at this point!!!

Sep. 11 2013 11:49 AM
Barbara from New York City

Re Ester Fuch's (who has been an advisor for Bloomberg) take on Di Blasio's liberal pitch was that he could do that because Bloomberg created a nice city. Di Blasio's campaign was completely supporting the stop and frisk ruling, suggesting a different approach to improving public education, narrowing the gap between the rich and poor (NYC having the largest gap of any large citiy) and supporting paid sick leaves. This sounds a lot more like the liberalism of the 60's and 70's and is a direct repudiation of Bloomberg.

Sep. 11 2013 11:46 AM
Mike from Tribeca

Amy from Manhattan -- "Why is enacting policies that benefit the rich over the poor & middle-class *not* class warfare, but pointing out that those policies benefit the rich *is*?"

Hear hear!

Sep. 11 2013 11:41 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

DiBlasio actually changed his name from something Germanic, so forget the Italian identity.

Quinn lost because she is an opinionated loudmouth; nothing to do with ethnic identity. She towed the Bloomberg line, including circumventing the law to permit him a third term, and he was as beholden to her as she was to him.

We want candidates who are clean, scandal-free, relatively intelligent, able to determine what the city's problems are and to create solutions. Period.

Sep. 11 2013 11:40 AM
Alan from Manhattan

If the final vote count allows Thompson to oppose de Blasio in a runoff, I hope he chooses to do so and uses the opportunity to educate New Yorkers about the extremely serious dangers to public health of going forward with Bloomberg's 91st Street Waste Transfer Station. See the superb article on this poorly-understood subject in the Huffington Post at

This horrendous project can still be stopped. Thompson opposes it but de Blasio supports it. Public outrage can cause de Blasio to change his position.

Sep. 11 2013 11:39 AM
Christine from Westchester

"There are no more Irish in New York" says your guest. Okay it's not like it was at the turn of the century but that's an odd statement. Did someone drive out all the Irish?

Sep. 11 2013 11:39 AM
Tony from Canarsie

I'd like to hear your guests address the issue of lobbyist PAC money. For example, the real estate industry's ironically-named Jobs for New York spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the primaries -- my mailbox sagged from the weight of the mailings aimed at defeating Margaret Chin's opponent -- and is expected to spent millions in the general election supporting Lhoti.

Unless the press fumbles the ball (as is their wont), I suspect this will be a major issue in the mayoral election.

Sep. 11 2013 11:39 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Antonio, Lhota never has to run in a democratic primary. Your thesis falls flat.

Sep. 11 2013 11:38 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'll put it here too: Why is enacting policies that benefit the rich over the poor & middle-class *not* class warfare, but pointing out that those policies benefit the rich *is*?

Sep. 11 2013 11:32 AM
Scott from Prospect Heights

I guess I would agree with Ms. Fuchs when she states de Blasio is more of a pre-fiscal crisis liberal. To me he sounds more like Lindsey than anyone else.

Sep. 11 2013 11:30 AM

A suggestion to address voter fatigue: one-stage elections. Replace plurality voting with approval, pairwise-ranked or score voting, and the would be no need for multiple stages.

Sep. 11 2013 11:27 AM

Why do your guests keep citing that only 350,000 democrats voted in the primary. Do the math of the votes from the WNYC homepage. With 98% in over 600,000 democrats voted. Still low but almost double the number your guests keep referencing.

Sep. 11 2013 11:25 AM
Jill from brooklyn

I have a VERY hard time accepting voter fatigue as a reason not to vote in the primary. We vote maybe 1-2 times a year. And it takes literally 5 minutes to vote- maaaaybe 15 if there's a line. (and there's never a significant line for primaries.) The many, many 9-5 office workers have time before or after work to vote. I get that maybe 5-10% of voters cannot make it to the polls due to work commitments. But for the other 90% of us, NO excuse, and if you don't vote NO reason to complain about how the city is run!

Sep. 11 2013 11:24 AM
Lothar Brieger from Manhattan

I agree that turnout was low, but the NY Times says over 640,000 votes were counted already in the Mayoral primary. You guest cited a much lower figure.

Sep. 11 2013 11:21 AM
EA from Harlem

Regarding Dickens v. Morgan in Harlem. She has name recognition, and had the money to send out crazy amounts of mailers (including pathetic ones trying to link Morgan to Sarah Palin). I knew little about her (other than the fact that every time I tried to reach her office about a concern, the phone rang without answer, and there was no email address-- so much for wanting to hear from the people you represent), but went to a debate between the candidate. Morgan was composed and respectful, Dickens (and her supporters) yelled and screamed through the whole thing. It was disgraceful. If that's how she acts on the counsel, no wonder nothing gets done. She needs to go. I'll be writing in Morgan.

Sep. 11 2013 10:45 AM
antonio from baySide

Despite what Joe Lhota said in speech, I suspect he'll reassess and move more to the left.
Why? Because look at Christine Quinn; She was essentially running as a moderate and she was trounced. The cities OWN analysis backs up the disparities Deblasio has been running on. Lhota can't win unless there were 2 Staten Islands...

Sep. 11 2013 10:12 AM

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