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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How much of an advantage do Democrats need to win in New York City?

Democrats hold a 5 to 1 edge over Republicans in registered voters in New York City, but it hasn't been enough to keep Republicans from winning the mayoralty for 16 years in a row now. In fact, it hasn't even been enough to keep the elections close, as Michael Bloomberg won by a full 20 points on the Republican line yesterday.

Indeed, polls showed Bloomberg would actually have won the Democratic primary by almost as much.

What's going on? The Democratic organization here has become so blatantly tied into race politics, special interests, and promises to increase spending and taxes (in the highest spending, most heavily taxed city in the nation) that it's lost all credibility even with Democratic voters.

The base strategy of the Democrat's candidate, Fernando Ferrer, was to campaign with the ever-attractive Al Sharpton to combine the Hispanic and black vote ... while the locally very powerful health workers union endorsed Ferrer only after offering its endorsement to Bloomberg in exchange for his putting 25,000 union jobs on the city payroll -- a ploy that backfired when Bloomberg revealed the offer to the public while rejecting it, which resulted in the union head standing by Ferrer saying "we don't get mad we get even" (New York may be a union town, but even Democrats don't like to see unions purchasing elections outright) ... and Ferrer promised to raise billions by taxing the stock market ... the list goes on.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg continued the Giuliani program of reducing crime, increasing the performance of the public schools (instead of just handing them more money), pushing fiscal responsibility, and making the city more friendly to business and job creation.

Result: An electorate that is 83-17 Democratic voted 59% Republican.

The irony is that Bloomberg is a Democrat, or was one until he switched over to the Republican line to run for mayor. And he made that switch only because it is now totally impossible for a centrist like himself to get past the Democratic special interest machine to obtain the nomination.

Ever since the days of Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt, New York's Democrats have led the way for the national party. Now one looks at the Deaniac radicalization of the national Democratic leadership, the loss without replacement of formerly influential Democratic centrists (Moynihan, Breaux, Nunn, S. Jackson ...), the loss of the Democrats' once significant lead in national voter registration, the rise of a self-described conservative plurality among voters as the national Democratic leadership moves leftward, and one can't help wonder, are the New York Democrats still leading the way?

16-Year-Loser Dems Must Try To Retake 'Center' Stage To Save Party

If the Democratic Party wants to end its 16-year losing streak at City Hall, political experts and party leaders say it must drastically redefine itself.

It has to become a more centrist party that appeals to the middle class, focuses on job creation and is concerned with protecting the public, many insiders told The Post.

"The perception is that there's too much division and too much relying on old ideas," said veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. "They ran a campaign for a city that is no longer."

Rep. Anthony Weiner, who lost the Democratic primary, said, "We can't expect that a criticism of the incumbent is enough. We have to have forward-looking ideas that focus on the middle class."

Many experts said Fernando Ferrer's attempted appeal to racial and ethnic groups typified the stale, wrong-headed approach that has shut the party out of power."He ran a 'favorite son' campaign as if he were saying, 'I'm the Hispanic candidate vote for me,' " said veteran consultant Joe Mercurio.

"They played the ethnic card that 'it's our turn,' as if they had a right to it. Ferrer got it backwards, though, because voters are generationally beyond that. It's like, 'Enough, we got it.' "

Many Democrats said it's high time after losing four consecutive mayoral races that the party moved to the center to win...

Former Mayor Ed Koch was one of many Democrats who supported Bloomberg and urged the party to become more moderate.

"The problem is that the people who speak for the party actually are far more liberal than the members of the Democratic Party," Koch said.... [NY Post]