Eric Adams: An Opportunity for Centrism and Unity in NY’s 2021 Mayoral Race?

In several of my previous articles, including The Middle: The Genius of Goldilocks–Wisdom for the 21st Century, I wrote about the importance of finding the center with regard to both life in general, and political issues specifically. It seems New Yorkers have taken this philosophical approach as well by choosing Eric Adams as the Democratic nominee for mayor of the big Apple. As ABC News points out, Adams won by “appealing to the political center and promising to strike the right balance between fighting crime and ending racial injustice in policing.” 
Eric Adams Source:

In a hard fought contest that utilized the ranked-choice voting system, Adams bested his closest rival, Kathryn Garcia, the former NYC Sanitation Commissioner who resigned her post to run for mayor. Adams, a former police captain with New York City Police Department and Republican, presented himself as a centrist on the political spectrum. 

Adams: The Right Balance?

He seems to offer a sense of practicality in an era of partisan polemics, potentially stemming the tide of extremist thinking that continually divides us as a country. And perhaps no more issue is divisive than policing. Addressing the call for defunding of the police in response to the backlash of police brutality, Adams stated at his primary, “We’re not going to recover as a city if we turn back time and see an increase in violence, particularly gun violence. If Black lives really matter, it can’t only be against police abuse. It has to be against the violence that’s ripping apart our communities.” 

A recent Politico article captures this centrist ethos, stating, “Adams ran as a moderate and the central argument of his campaign was that he’s uniquely positioned to balance police reform while reversing a surge in crime. He excoriated rivals to the left he deemed ‘fancy candidates’ for tiptoeing around gun violence with academic and untried solutions.”

Yet, Adams is far from naïve. By striking a balance, Adams is weaving a fabric of broad political appeal, deftly pulling together the threads of a blue-collar populism, where the votes lie, and progressive idealism, where the money resides. Ross Barkan, writing for The Jacobian, puts it this way: “He is a machine mayor who is on the verge of assembling his own victorious coalition: working-class whites, blacks, and Latinos, along with the wheezing outer borough Democratic organizations and the oligarch cash raining down from the real estate and finance lobbies.”

Curtis Sliwa, New York Republican Mayoral Candidate Source:

But Adams is not without controversy. Adams, who chaired the state Senate’s Racing and Wagering Committee, an organization which was involved in the selection and bidding process for the Queens’ Aqueduct Racetrack project, accepted significant campaign contributions from “a politically connected group bidding for the gambling franchise,” according to an article in the The city publication. However, this is unlikely to be an impediment to his election. 

The former Brooklyn Borough President will take on the Republican mayoral candidate, Curtis Sliwa, founder of The Guardian Angels, who is also running on a strong security and policing presence as the answer to controlling New York’s out-of-control violence and crime trend, on November 2, in the general election. Given that the electorate is comprised mainly of Democrat voters, Sliwa faces an uphill battle. 



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