Here’s something that is rarely if ever seen in American politics these days. In what looks suspiciously like a showing of actual bipartisanship, one of the most senior Republicans in the New York State government has publicly congratulated and expressed his support for the incoming Democratic Mayor of New York City. State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, a Republican, has offered his enthusiastic support for Eric Adams after the soon-to-be mayor stood up to leaders of Black Lives Matter when they threatened riots and bloodshed on the streets of Gotham. He also supported Adams’ call to repeal the bail reform laws that have turned the city’s jails into a revolving door for criminals. If these two can somehow manage to work together, just imagine what else might be possible. (NY Post)
In a letter Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt (D-Lockport) congratulated Adams on his landslide victory and said he hoped to work with the former Brooklyn state senator “as partners at a time when this critical issue has come to a head, with troubling violent crime rates all across our state.” …
Citing recent Post reports, Ortt hailed Adams’ “defiance” of the threat of “riots” issued by Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome over the incoming mayor’s plan to resume undercover anti-gun operations, as well as his call to roll back controversial bail-reform measures signed by since-disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2019.
Ortt said those actions “suggest our shared desire to protect all New Yorkers” and said he would “welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss our shared efforts to restore common sense and public safety across our state.”
While this is a welcome development, I’m not sure if this actually helps or hurts Adams going forward. The Minority Leader is obviously offering his support because Adams is endorsing policies that are already supported by Republicans and are aimed at dismantling things that were put in place by Democrats. He’s also obliquely criticizing Black Lives Matter, something that is generally considered taboo among Democrats. This could wind up causing friction between Adams and his own party as he attempts to enact his agenda next year.
This is probably an appropriate moment to remind everyone that Eric Adams isn’t your typical, run-of-the-mill liberal Democrat. He’s a retired police Captain who used to be a registered Republican before switching parties when he returned to civilian life. That means that some of the more liberal members of his current party have already been looking at him with a certain amount of mistrust. If he’s seen to be teaming up with the GOP to undo one of the Democrats’ signature “accomplishments” (the bail reform laws), some of them may refuse to support his plans to restore the NYPD to its former power and revoke their bail reform measures.
With all of that in mind, Adams will have to decide how fully he wants to embrace his new friends on the GOP side of the aisle in state government. The public generally tends to like the idea of bipartisanship and cooperation, or at least most of them claim to do so. But the machinery of New York City politics is ancient and difficult to tamper with. If Adams looks too much like he’s returning to his old Republican roots, he could wind up being a one-term mayor without many accomplishments to show for his efforts.
But what he should really be able to do is maintain the support of the public. This is a phenomenon I’ve been looking forward to for a while now without really getting my hopes up that it would happen. People of both parties in New York City are both frightened and angry over the surging crime levels and they are blaming the Democrats and their “reform” efforts for it. If Adams can deliver, he may generate enough intraparty support to make him one of the more successful and popular mayors the city has seen in some time. Here’s to hoping for the possibility, anyway.