Bill de Blasio's rise to the top of the New York Mayoral polls should not be a complete surprise. In primaries voters will gravitate to the candidate that represents the cause worth fighting for. This can lead to the right's embrace of the Tea Party and New York Democrats' embrace of de Blasio. The cause in this case is a reversal of the Bloomberg years' focus on the rich and privileged and a return to focusing on the rest of New York. An end of Bloomberg's dictatorial ways and a return to the type of leader that will work collaboratively to find solutions to New York's problems.
De Blasio's consistent progressive record allows him to define himself in the minds of voters unlike many of his opponents. A Daily News article five days before the election highlighted that Bill Thompson after being the Democratic nominee for Mayor in 2009 and running since then still has many New Yorkers wondering about his core beliefs and his stance on many issues. No such problem for de Blasio. With his Tale of Two Cities he's the cause candidate of The Other New York.
He's the candidate of City workers who have gone years without a contract and are looking for a Mayor that will treat them fairly instead of handing out lucrative private contracts. He's the candidate of people who believe companies that get millions of dollars in City contracts should pay their workers a living wage and that businesses should offer employees paid sick days. He's the candidate of public housing tenants who can wait years for repairs while the head of NYCHA keeps his job and the only plan to help is to build luxury housing on NYCHA land. He's the candidate of small business owners that pay crippling fines and fees while big businesses get tax breaks. In short, he has become the candidate of those who felt their voices were not heard during the Bloomberg years but want a Mayor that will listen to them.
A cause candidate is one voters feel embodies their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. This candidate relates to them or to paraphrase Bill Clinton feels their pain. This candidate will attract passionate followers who will flock to his/her message. They are excited about voting for this candidate. For the longest time the Democratic Mayoral field lacked that candidate. I initially thought it would be John Liu but his fundraising problems brought down his campaign. In these last couple of weeks Bill de Blasio has emerged as this candidate with an appeal to all constituencies. This explains the rapid increase in support for him and why he leads Bill Thompson with African-Americans and Christine Quinn with women voters. Now that he has seized the mantle as the cause candidate, de Blasio should win the primary and have a strong committed voter base to help him in the general election.
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