New York City voters will head to the polls tomorrow to pick the Democratic and Republican candidates for mayor. The Democratic contest is, essentially, the mayoral election — in a deep blue city like New York, the Democrat will probably win in November.
The job of running the country’s biggest city is always consequential. But the election this year carries more weight: It’s one of the first major contests to be held as the pandemic recedes, and it could be a bellwether for Democratic sentiment on issues like police reform, housing and education.
A day before the election, it’s still anyone’s race. Polling has been scant, and the introduction of ranked-choice voting (which David Leonhardt wrote about last week) has made the outcome difficult to predict.
With help from Katie Glueck, who covers New York politics for The Times, we’ve put together a primer.
“The New York Democrats running for mayor are in general quite progressive compared to Democrats elsewhere in the country, but there are some clear political differences between the candidates, especially when it comes to issues like policing, real estate and the business community,” Katie says.
There are eight leading candidates:
Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former city police officer. Endorsed by: The New York Post’s editorial board and a major service workers’ union.
Shaun Donovan, a former housing secretary in the Obama administration. Endorsed by: Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans.
Kathryn Garcia, a former Sanitation Department commissioner. Endorsed by: The Times’s editorial board and several teamster and sanitation unions.
Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup executive. Endorsed by: Spike Lee, Jay-Z and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner.
Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive. Endorsed by: Sunrise Movement NYC.
Scott Stringer, the city comptroller and former Manhattan borough president. Endorsed by: the city’s largest teachers’ union.
Maya Wiley, a civil rights lawyer and former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Endorsed by: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the state nurses’ union.
Andrew Yang, a former presidential candidate and nonprofit executive. Endorsed by: the police captains’ union and the firefighters’ union.
What’s their experience?
Adams, Garcia and Stringer all came up through city government or local politics. “They are making the argument that to get anything done, you need to know how to navigate a sprawling bureaucracy with complications at every turn,” Katie said.
Then there are candidates who fashion themselves as outsiders. Wiley has won the backing of high-profile progressives, while Morales is seeking to be the standard-bearer of the grass-roots left (though her campaign has struggled with internal dysfunction). McGuire is making the case that he’s the outsider businessman who can best revive the economy. And Yang may be the ultimate outsider: Not only has he never worked in city government, he has never voted in a New York City mayoral election.
What are the top issues?
The next mayor will lead New York City out of the pandemic. The task involves nearly every part of government, from education to evictions to economic revival.
But the clearest ideological divide may be on policing, an issue pushed to the forefront by both the national protest movement and the recent spike in crime. “Public safety has become a defining issue of this race,” Katie said.
Adams, Garcia and Yang prefer a relatively moderate approach, advocating some reforms but calling for the police to have a more expansive role in public safety. Stringer, Wiley, Donovan and Morales have all talked in varying degrees about cutting the Police Department’s budget and focusing on mental health and other social services. Here’s where each candidate stands.
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Supporting small-scale musicians
Though Twitch began as a site to livestream video games, it has recently gained popularity among musicians. That’s because for small or niche artists, the platform can be more lucrative than traditional services like Spotify and YouTube.
On Twitch, musicians who average a few hundred viewers at any given time can earn about $50,000 a year. On major audio streaming platforms, that payout might take five million to 10 million streams.
What makes Twitch ideal for smaller musicians is the connection it enables between performers and their audiences. “Fan interactions — which pour across the screen in a river of song requests, inside jokes and ‘emotes’ (Twitch-specific emoticons) — are as much a part of the show as the artist onscreen, conveying the sense of a tightly knit, mutually supportive community,” Ben Sisario writes in The Times.
That fan support can translate to income through monthly subscriptions or donations — akin to a street musician’s tip jar.
It also requires a lot of effort. Musicians must maintain engagement with their audiences by making content regularly, going online several times a week for hourslong stretches. One economist told The Times that it was like operating a taxi: You make money as long as the meter is running.
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What to Cook
David Leonhardt is off this week. He’ll be back on Monday, June 28. See you tomorrow.
P.S. The first Ferris wheel, created by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. for the Chicago World’s Fair, opened 128 years ago today. “Nobody was afraid to get on board,” The Times reported, but some “experienced a disagreeable sensation in the motion of the wheel.”
Here’s today’s print front page.
Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.