NYC voters calling out Yang-Garcia "collaboration" for what it is

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

We’re down to the final hours before the Democratic primary in New York City’s mayoral race and some of the contenders who have been lagging in the polls are clearly getting desperate. Most surveys show Eric Adams, the retired police officer and former Republican, leading the field. Earlier in the year, failed presidential candidate Andrew Yang had held the top position, but his support appears to have softened considerably. That might be why he adopted the unusual tactic of spending the weekend campaigning with Kathryn Garcia, who is also running for the same position. This certainly has the smell of dirty pool, and Adams was having none of it. Multiple leaders from both parties were quickly calling out the tactic, accusing Yang, who is Asian, and Garcia, who is white, of trying to team up and block a Black candidate from winning. They are also describing this as a form of voter supression.

The intention of the scheme was to use the city’s new “ranked-choice” voting method as a way to drive up their own numbers while weakening Adams. But Yang quickly learned that his new “partner” wasn’t nearly as generous as he was trying to appear. While Yang encouraged his supporters to write Garcia’s name for their second pick, Garcia failed to co-endorse her partner in return. (New York Magazine)

New York City mayoral candidates Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia campaigned together on Saturday, forming a late alliance in an effort to increase both their chances in the final days of the race against the presumed frontrunner, Eric Adams.

The candidates, who have been co-campaigning across the city over the weekend, did not cross-endorse each other, however. While Yang asked his supporters to rank Garcia as their No. 2 choice behind him, and the campaigns handed out fliers featuring them side-by-side, Garcia said she was not endorsing Yang. She only pointed to how their supporters could vote for both of them if they wanted, but said she would not tell her voters who else to support, and would not reveal how she herself intended to vote.

As I already mentioned, the strategy being rolled out by Yang and Garcia is too obvious to ignore. They’re trying to use this controversial voting system to their advantage in the hope of potentially causing the candidate who receives the most votes to still lose the election.

I’ve been lobbying against this bogus ranked-choice voting scheme for years. Despite claims that it makes the results of an election “more reflective of the popular will,” what it really does is allow one party (or, in this case, a wing of one party) to flood the zone with candidates who aren’t viable and dump whatever votes they manage to attract to someone who the voters would not have chosen in a normal, straight-forward election.

The breakdown in New York City isn’t between the two major parties but there is still an obvious schism along ideological lines. The progressives who are still pushing the “defund the police” message are taking a beating from Adams, who is promising to restore the NYPD in both funding and capabilities. Yang has also been fairly supportive of the police, but he’s viewed as the more progressive of the two. And clearly, Andrew Yang seemed to feel that he was somehow entitled to the nomination because of his national standing as a former presidential candidate.

In this crowded field, if Yang comes in second and enough voters who supported the other progressive candidates write in his name in the number two slot, he could wind up blocking Adams even if he receives the most votes. This isn’t some hypothetical idea we’re talking about. As soon as Maine adopted ranked-choice voting, they immediately had an election where the Republican candidate “lost” despite having received the largest share of first-choice votes.

This system is a scam, and now Andrew Yang is trying to play it to his advantage. If you can’t attract the largest number of votes on election day, you’re not supposed to win. But then again, New York City doesn’t exactly have much of a history in terms of establishing a fair political playing field.