To NYC Absentee Voters: Lhota for Mayor

Alanna Weissman

The New York City mayoral election, which will be held next Tuesday,

November 5 (some of you are probably filling out your absentee ballots as we speak) is interesting in that the two candidates are stark opposites: one is arguably the most qualified candidate in mayoral history, the other the least. One held a high position under New York City’s best mayors, the other under one of the worst. The former, Joe Lhota, is a pragmatist and the latter, Bill de Blasio, an idealist whose far-left rhetoric has quickly won over a city that votes based on party affiliation instead of giving thought to the practical implications of

his platform.

Full disclosure: I’m a right-leaning Libertarian who probably would have voted for Lhota no matter what, but count me among those who would have been perfectly fine with union darling and former frontrunner Bill Thompson as mayor. Indeed, Thompson almost beat Bloomberg four years ago and nearly had enough votes to prompt a runoff in this Democratic primary – and there likely would have been a runoff if the absentee ballots had been counted before the Democratic party

pressured Thompson to drop out of the race  –  and the

distribution of votes in the primary likely would have been very different had Anthony Weiner, a relatively capable politician, been able to keep his personal life in order. While I suspect that there are a fair number of voters like me – centrist and moderate Republican voters who wouldn’t have opposed Democrats Thompson, Weiner or even the corrupt John Liu, but find self-described Sandinista supporter de

Blasio utterly unpalatable as a mayoral candidate – de Blasio still leads the polls by a wide margin. Given de Blasio’s extremist leanings and marginal aptitude as a politician, that’s something I find truly scary. The culprit is probably “Bloomberg fatigue,” as some local newspapers have dubbed it. Tired after 12 years of an overbearing mayor under whom wealth disparity has increased, the

progressive label alone is enough to win the election for de Blasio. While I understand the

frustrations of voters, it is important to look at the candidates as more than just red-versus-blue.

De Blasio’s platform centers on the promise that he will raise taxes on the rich and redistribute wealth. What his campaign ads don’t mention is that he cannot do this without approval from Albany, approval which even the de Blasio-endorsing New York Times admits will not be forthcoming. His other plans, such as creating hundreds of thousands of units of affordable housing and making Pre-K universal, may be admirable, but they will be almost impossible to implement. The opposition, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) chairman Lhota, may have little to offer by way of de Blasio’s soaring rhetoric, but he does have feasible, practical ideas (e.g. better infrastructure and increasing small business) and the track record to back it up (note how quickly the flooded subway system recovered after Hurricane Sandy). For those of you (understandably) worried about having a Republican in such a position of power, fear not: the pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, pro-marijuana legalization Lhota is a far cry from both the far-right children who caused the government shutdown and the paternalistic, meddlesome Bloomberg. Lhota may not be perfect, but as far as mayoral candidates go, he’s about as close as one can get and, unlike de Blasio, he won’t even try and stop you from buying an

extra-large soda.

In all seriousness though, for those of you filling out your absentee ballots, I implore you: look at the candidates as more than just Democrat and Republican. Look at their records of public service, look realistically at the chances of their policies being implemented. If you still want to vote based on party lines, fine: look at New York City, the safest, most successful (and still liberal) big city in the world after nearly 30 years of progressive Republican leadership, and look at various municipalities under hyper-leftist rule: Detroit, for example, or ’70s-era NYC. Don’t be won over by de Blasio’s pretty speeches and empty promises. Keep in mind that, up until just a few short weeks ago, no one had the slightest idea who de Blasio was. If you ask me, it should have stayed that way. For all his bold talk of unitingNew York’s “two cities,” de Blasio may just tear the city apart.

Contact Alanna Weissman at [email protected]