When class trumps identity

“Just looking at voters over $100K misses something. $100K is zilch in Manhattan,” Rosenthal observed. Christine Quinn, the city council president, “basically carried all the precincts bordering Central Park East, South, and West” – some of the richest precincts in the city.

It turns out that Rosenthal’s point is well taken. Democratic politics in New York City — a cauldron of self-destructive ethnic and gender conflicts for the past 20 years — may be on the cutting edge of a post-racial politics…

One of the most interesting conclusions that can be drawn from the primary results was that class trumped race, gender and sexual identity, all factors that have played strong roles in recent Democratic contests.

“Any racial vote for Thompson simply disappeared,” NYU’s Rosenthal noted. “Gender and sexual orientation were of at best marginal benefit to Quinn. So I think the election was largely about redistribution,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal suggested that the differences in voting based on income point to internal party conflicts between what could be called the investment banker wing of the party and its less affluent counterpart, what Rosenthal calls “the tension between Steve Rattner and Citigroup (Robert Rubin, Peter Orszag, Jack Lew) Democrats and the mass of voters.” The outcome, in Rosenthal’s view, was “a repudiation of the money wing of the Democratic party.”

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