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Wow, Were White Guys Ever Wrong About Eric Adams!
Nope, sorry, Adams was never the future of the Democratic Party.
Eric Adams is a decent enough Republican, except for how he’s supposedly a Democrat. The New York City mayor is aggressively pro-cop, equates COVID mask wearing with rising crime, defunds libraries, and dismisses the separation between church and state.
Yet, he was the great Black centrist hope. Nate Silver and his shattered crystal ball declared in January 2022, “It’s probably foolish to think a NYC mayor will successfully translate into being a national political figure, but I still think Eric Adams would be in my top 5 for ‘who will be the Democratic presidential nominee after Joe Biden?’”
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Vice President Kamala Harris erasure is an ongoing issue, but statistically (you know, using that math Silver likes) Harris is a strong contender for the 2028 Democratic presidential nominee. Silver would’ve had us imagine that a former New York City mayor would defeat a former vice president who was once the senator from a major state. I’m admittedly bearish on Harris’ chances, especially against a successful swing state governor like Gretchen Whitmer or Josh Shapiro, but past New York City mayors — including both Rudy Giuliani and Bill de Blasio — never made much progress in their party’s primaries.
This was a just-plain goofy statement for Silver to make publicly, and it got worse:
“He’s going to be good at getting media attention and he has a chance of carving out a niche that’s different from what other Democrats are offering. That’s a potentially powerful combination given how primaries are conducted nowadays. Also, the competition isn’t great.”
He nails the Harris diss-mount at the end there, even though an incumbent vice president is pretty stiff competition. Silver also ignores Raphael Warnock, who won what seemed like a gazillion different elections/runoffs in Georgia and is a far more disciplined and honorable politician than Adams. If Harris had ever made a video as creepy as Adams’ “popular knapsack” classic, we’d never hear the end of it.
Now, let’s throw our heads back and laugh at all the “media attention” Adams was so good at delivering for himself. Barely a couple weeks after Silver’s Twitter rave, Adams was in the news for old-fashioned nepotism, when he gave his brother a cushy job as deputy police commissioner. Adams quickly disproved Lord Henry Wotton’s assertion that “there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” Adams has been at the center of so many absurd scandals, both serious and silly. The worst thing Harris has done is reject the convenience of Bluetooth headphones.
Silver wasn’t the only white dude who crushed hard and early over Adams, but from the start Adams’ victory was imbued with far more significance than it deserved. Tim Miller at The Bulwark declared in apparent wonder, “New York City—supposedly the country’s progressive Mecca filled with Brooklyn hipster socialists. So why does it seem like the city might elect a moderate mayor?” I lived in New York for 15 years and neither Bernie Sanders nor the ghost of Hugo Chavez was ever my mayor. During the mid-1990s and early aughts, New Yorkers elected Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, who were both pro-corporate and pro-police. All that distinguishes Adams is that he’s so very bad at his job.
Paul Alexander wrote in his 2021 article “Is Eric Adams the Democrats’ Next National Star?”:
While conventional wisdom says the left has all the mojo in the Democratic party—think the Squad, Bernie Sanders, the Progressive Caucus—Eric Adams is proof a centrist can create sizzle and even win in a liberal bastion like New York City. His victory has also put him on the radar screen for moderate Democrats across America looking to get behind a centrist who could have a national profile.
Centrists and center-right anti-Trumpers were desperate for a Democrat who wasn’t simply a moderate but one who openly repudiated progressive policies and politicians. Adams could articulate their own resentments, and it certainly helped that he’s Black. Compare the “future of the Democratic Party” articles Adams generated to the centrist/center-right coverage of Warnock’s recent victory in Georgia. Dennis Aftergut insisted that this didn’t mean Georgia “has turned purple yet” — the state has two Democratic senators and Biden flipped it in 2020! No, Georgia is still red. It’s easier to blame Donald Trump than credit Warnock for defeating Kelly Loeffler and Herschel Walker (twice!)
New York City was never a liberal bastion in the first place, and Adams did not pull of some miraculous upset victory. He’s lucky if he serves a second term, and despite Nate Silver’s past fantasies, he’s no serious competition to Kamala Harris or any competent Democrat in 2028.
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