the New York Times Maya Wiley declared “left-wing standard-bearer in New York City mayoral race” after being endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on June 5. “If we don’t come together as a movement, we will have a New York City built by and for billionaires, and we need a city for and by workers,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the rally. support. “So we will vote for Maya # 1.”
As you might expect given AOC’s very high profile, Wiley’s campaign immediately received a massive boost. Other progressives in the local and national political arena subsequently announced their own support: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. Jamaal archer (D-NY), and New York City Public Counsel Jumaane Williams, among others.
The first poll taken after approval by Emerson College and PIX-11 suggested Wiley edged out Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia to take second place, behind Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
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Regular MSNBC viewers know Wiley because she was a paid contributor and analyst during Trump’s day. She also served as Bill de Blasio’s senior legal advisor during his first two and a half years as mayor, and chaired the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board, a police oversight body, from July 2016 to August 2017. . -professor of politics at the New School since 2016.
As the Times As pointed out, Wiley’s sudden rise in the New York mayoral race was not inevitable. Until recently, she had always polled single digits and struggled to compete in the so-called “progressive lane” with Controller Scott Stringer and nonprofit CEO Dianne Morales.
Stringer’s candidacy, however, fell apart after being charged with sexual assault in April and a second time more recently. Morales has not recovered after dismantling his own campaign staff and stories of general campaign workplace toxicity have come to light. As much as the AOC endorsement, Wiley can attribute his rise to attrition among his progressive rivals.
Until recently, Wiley systematically polled single digits and struggled to compete on the so-called “progressive path.”
Wiley hopes to rebuild and reinvent the five boroughs through large public spending and reforms. According to his campaign, his $ 10 billion New Deal New York plan will create 100,000 jobs through repair and improvement of infrastructure, while earmarking $ 3 billion for climate infrastructure. Wiley also promises to provide “guaranteed affordable rent” and eviction protections for impoverished tenants; strengthen the New York City public school system; and supporting paid and unpaid caregivers.
Wiley also has a “universal health coverage plan,” although she seems to implicitly acknowledge that in her mind health care is a state and federal matter and that there is little she can do as a matter of fact. as mayor. Rather, its New York health insurance plan is a palliative option contracted out to a private affiliate, which would be free to residents earning less than $ 25,000 per year. Anyone above this amount would pay a “declining premium” capped at 10 percent of income. Bill Hammond, of the right-wing think tank Empire Center, praised the plan in Politico, calling it “mainstream” and seemed genuinely excited about its modest but unmistakable “co-payments, bonuses and deductibles”.
It can be seen why Wiley’s willingness to use government money to solve long-standing problems might attract left-wing voters, especially given the lack of better alternatives. One of the reasons it probably took Wiley so long to gain traction in this race is that his campaign highlights have been on the outskirts of the race; the focus has instead been on the NYPD and the so-called police reform.
The common media narrative, though unproven, is that favorites Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang, who are all pledged to increase the police budget and proudly present themselves as “tough on crime”, are more and more popular. phase with voters as Wiley, who is pushing for a billion dollar budget decrease. Wiley is looking to shift that money to other areas, such as public education and funding for “low income caregivers.”
Wiley says she will remove controversial NYPD Vice Squad, an institution that has been criticized for corruption and abuse, and remove NYPD from mental health crisis management, traffic law enforcement, security in schools and immigration application. She would also like to conduct a full audit of the entire police department, “to assess how funding is currently being distributed and make any additional cuts needed,” and freeze NYPD cadet classes for two years. And she would renegotiate the contract between the city and the powerful Police Benevolent Society.
Given the power of the NYPD and its supporters, Wiley has come under heavy criticism for these proposals, especially as her stature has grown. “Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Maya Wiley want to cut the police department’s budget and downsize the police force at a time when black and brown babies are being shot on our streets,” said Eric Adams, the preferred right-wing candidate. . New York Post and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “Wiley hates the police,” said the New York Post editorial board Sunday. “She vowed to cut the NYPD budget because the ‘trauma’ of dealing with the cops is a bigger problem than the crime.”
Wiley recently came under scrutiny for her involvement in two conflict of interest scandals while she was chief counsel to Bill de Blasio.
But those who worked for Wiley on the Civil Complaints Commission challenge the perception that their former boss is a radical renegade capable of meaningful reform. Last week the Daily News published an editorial by several NYC-CCRB alumni. The writers – John Teufel, John DeBary, Debra Cleaver and Sheena Otto – wrote that they found Wiley “hopelessly flawed” and “functionally toothless,” and that her tenure was marred by “dysfunction, political intrigue and a refusal to challenge the NYPD.
There is also the thorny question of his role in the administration of Bill de Blasio during his first term. All the association with De Blasio is a political responsibility at this stage. Wiley recently came under scrutiny for her involvement in two conflict of interest scandals while she was De Blasio’s senior advisor from early 2014 to mid-2016. One involved De Blasio using the mayor’s office to raise funds for a private, non-profit political organization; the other concerned informal meetings held by De Blasio with private donors on issues related to the city. In either case, Wiley was viewed by some as a facilitator and cynical maneuver, rather than a responsible whistleblower.
“All I’ve done is give advice to a client and that client makes a decision,” Wiley explained during a televised debate last week.
“You were at the forefront of two mayoral corruption scandals,” replied Scott Stringer. “You have allowed unrestricted access to lobbyists and consultants. And then there was a whole pay-to-play investigative problem… the writing and covering up was probably worse than the potential crime.
It should be noted that Wiley’s campaign staff are largely made up of former De Blasio collaborators.
Progressive voters might be willing to ignore the flaws in Wiley’s record next week – if they are aware of them in the first place – when considering right-wing alternatives. Wiley has no shortage of interesting and ambitious ideas, and it is hoped that she can implement various meaningful public spending campaigns. However, some of his plans fall short of what progressives believe are necessary. And given his association with De Blasio and his staff, in addition to criticism from former Civilian Complaints Commission employees, there are reasonable concerns about his ability to functionally lead.
If progressives lose the race for mayor, it will be inevitable that their agenda is unpopular, or that failure to support a consensual candidate has spoiled an opportunity to be won. It could be that the crop of Democratic Socialists who have steadily won city-wide victories over the past two election cycles were not quite ready to embark on a mayoral campaign, and that the progressives who did. have been too compromised or not talented enough to be successful. New York’s future could come down to a timing accident for the left.