Thank you to those of you who voted last week in New York City’s political primaries. Due to the newly implemented system of rank choice voting, we have yet to have any conclusive results as we wait for over 100,000 absentee ballots to come in and properly allocate votes to the mayoral front runners Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley, and former de Blasio Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. The ride is far from over, so now we wait.
So much is at stake with these results. Mayor de Blasio was first elected as the 109th mayor of New York City in 2013 and has enjoyed relative peace during his tenure. So much so, he used much of his second term as mayor spending time in Iowa and New Hampshire while running for president. However, COVID-19, rising unemployment, shuttered businesses, and rising crime have changed the tenor of his mayoralty as well as the priorities of the incoming mayor.
In addition to the changing of the guard in the mayor’s office, we will have roughly two-thirds newly elected city council members, a new comptroller, a new Manhattan district attorney, new borough presidents, and several new judges across the city. As we wait for the votes to come in (and then be certified) the city may have some of the most diverse leadership we’ve ever seen. If preliminary election projections hold, the city council could be majority female and Cy Vance’s replacement in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office could be held by an African American for the first time in the city’s history.
Speaking of Manhattan district attorney, preliminary election results look good for Alvin Bragg, despite his opponent giving her campaign over $8 million (and possibly not bothering to pay her taxes along the way). Bragg laid out a vision of inclusion and pragmatism that seemed to resonate with voters throughout the borough. The office of the Manhattan DA is currently grappling with or has dealt with cases ranging from Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, and young Black and Latinx men across the borough who have been accused of crimes large and small.
Bragg’s vision for the office is not only a recognition of the unequal and racialized roots of the office, he has also stated there needs to be a reckoning with how Black and Latinx citizens have been treated under the law. His understanding of the law, his resume, and his lived experiences in Harlem make his analysis and leadership so necessary at this moment.
So, until we have final results for all of these races, we must practice patience. We must also stay vigilant once these elected officials get into office. Political participation is not just on election day. And mark your calendar, the general election is November 2, 2021.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and also the What’s in It for Us podcast.