Good morning, it’s Thursday, July 1, 2021. Who will be the next mayor of New York City? The answer is significant. The city’s new chief executive will tackle of host of COVID-era urban challenges ranging from rising crime and low police morale to the exodus of children in public schools and the top wage earners who are taxed to a fare-the-well to pay for it all.
For now, however, New York City election officials don’t seem to be able to count the votes. The mayoral primary, which is tantamount to election in the near-monolithically Democratic stronghold, took place 10 days ago. But basic incompetence and at least one spectacular blunder have obscured the tally. The following morning, it seemed that the Democratic primary had been won by Brooklyn borough President Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain. Now, no one seems to know who is ahead.
Apparently, New Yorkers understood the potential for a train wreck more than the rest of us. They knew that the ability of the city to tabulate votes is not a given. It took two months to release the results of two close primaries in congressional elections last year -- even after the primary had already been delayed two months. In the run-up to the 2016 presidential primary, some 200,000 Democrats were deleted from the voting rolls without their knowledge, giving rise to suspicions in Bernie Sanders’ camp that Mayor Bill De Blasio (who had endorsed Hillary Clinton) was playing games.
“It is absurd that in Brooklyn, New York -- where I was born, actually -- tens of thousands of people, as I understand it, have been purged from the voting rolls,” Sanders said told supporters at a Pennsylvania campaign rally. “From long lines and dramatic understaffing to longtime voters being forced to cast affidavit ballots and thousands of registered New Yorkers being dropped from the rolls, what’s happening today is a disgrace!”
Hizzoner didn’t really deny it. “The perception that numerous voters may have been disenfranchised,” De Blasio conceded at the time, “undermines the integrity of the entire electoral process and must be fixed.”
But that did not happen. And the latest fiasco has accomplished the nearly impossible: It has resulted in Bernie-style progressives, Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” obsessives, and good-government advocates all singing from the same hymnal. As for those well-intentioned “goo-goos,” their immediate concern isn’t the success of any particular Big Apple mayoral candidate. Their worry is that the New York City Board of Elections has sabotaged public confidence in one of their most cherished reforms: ranked-choice voting.
One can also forgive establishment Republicans for skepticism that Democrats are to be trusted with rewriting the procedures for voting processes everywhere in the country. As for me, I’m still wondering if we’ll ever know who won the 2020 Democratic caucuses in Iowa.
With that, I’d point you to our front page, which aggregates, as it does each day, an array of columns and stories spanning the political spectrum. Today’s lineup includes John Fund on the aforementioned NYC Board of Elections (Spectator); Clarence Page’s thoughtful discussion of critical race theory (Chicago Tribune); and Jessica Tarlov on the ubiquitous presence in American public life of a certain former president (The Hill). Speaking of The Hill, on a personal note I’d mention the death of a great American, and one the co-founders of that publication. His name was Al Eisele, and his obit is here. Meanwhile, we offer a complement of original material from RCP reporters and contributors, including the following:
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RCP Poll: Patriotic Feeling Abides, But Its Expression Varies Widely. I examine RealClear Opinion Research’s latest survey, which tackles a pertinent topic as July 4th approaches and Americans are divided over how they view this nation’s progress.
White House Won’t Stop Governors From Sending Natl. Guard to the Border. Phil Wegmann reports on South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s plan to help Texas address the migrant surge, a step that has elicited a shrug from the Biden administration.
Philadelphia Reflects Big Cities’ Public-Safety Challenges. Charles F. McElwee explores the spike in crime that -- along with remote-work options for Center City employees -- has emptied out the once-vibrant downtown.
Senate’s Production Tax Credit Could Re-shore U.S. Solar Manufacturing. At RealClearEnergy, Jeff Ferry lauds the effort to ensure that America’s entire solar supply chain is independent of China.
Demonizing Amazon for Rewarding Its Vendors. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny takes issue with the insinuation that Amazon essentially forces its vendors to sell it shares at below-market prices.
Researchers Urge Americans to Focus on Loneliness Epidemic. Henry Kokkeler has the story at RealClearPolicy.
A Book That Speaks to Our Moment. At RealClearBooks, Daniel J. Mahoney praises Robert L. Woodson’s “Red, White and Black” for bringing together African American and other minority voices who reject the cult of victimization.
Digital Upgrade for U.S. Military Is Vital. At RealClearDefense, Frank Ponds highlights the need for “information assurance,” especially in contested environments with constantly evolving technology.
Americans Support Campus Due Process. At RealClearEducation, Edward E. Bartlett considers the findings of a new survey.
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Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics