It'll take a few days to determine whether Bill de Blasio hit the 40 percent threshold to avoid a runoff in yesterday's Democratic primary, but with a wide margin in a city where Ds outnumber Rs six to one, it sure does look like he's the frontrunner to be New York City's next mayor. So how did he do it?
The ad exploded, transforming the fortunes of a fourth-place campaign and confirming the convictions of a long-shot politician who had banked his candidacy on a series of big bets: that a relentless critique of the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactic would resonate with white New Yorkers, not scare them off; that in a city of tribal politics an Italian-American could win the hearts of black voters; that a tired-seeming message about a tale of two cities would stir those people still hurting after a traumatic economic recession; and, most of all, that there was far greater unhappiness with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg than polls had registered or Mr. de Blasio’s rivals had realized.
... Underlying it all was a message of indignant liberalism, sketched out by Mr. de Blasio at a Manhattan restaurant in 2012, that was simple, sellable and penetrating enough to transcend class, gender and race.
Yesterday's election was a slap in the face to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And it was intentionally framed that way by de Blasio's chief strategist John Del Cecato:
Annoy Bloomberg. Vote de Blasio....today. — John Del Cecato (@delcecato) September 10, 2013
Even as editorialists and other serious people here pine for a Bloomberg-like approach to downtown Seattle's image problems, NYC's voters are rejecting his legacy. Taxing the rich, universal preschool, affordable housing, economic inequality, and police reform—those are the aggressively liberal issues that are resonating with actual voters in the NYC mayor's race.