As Jazz pointed out last weekend, Mayor de Blasio has been desperately trying to keep up with the demands made by activists. The short version is that after signaling some initial opposition to defunding the NYPD, de Blasio reversed course and announced plans to shift funds to other priorities. But de Blasio’s flat-footed response to the demands has apparently worn out some of his black supporters. Today the NY Times reports many are choosing to abandon him. The change in tone was evident at George Floyd memorial in Brooklyn last week:
Mayor Bill de Blasio looked out into a sea of protesters at a memorial with George Floyd’s brother in Brooklyn last week and delivered a bold promise: He would transform the New York Police Department. “Change that you can see and believe, because you will see it with your own eyes,” he declared.
The response from many of the black protesters was withering.
Obscenities and chants of “resign” and “I can’t breathe” filled the air, drowning out Mr. de Blasio. Some demonstrators turned their backs on him as he spoke. After 90 seconds, he turned the microphone over…
[Rev. Kevin] McCall futilely pleaded with the crowd to show the mayor some respect. The problem, he said, was that the mayor had lost his credibility with New Yorkers, especially in the black community.
The AP has posted video of this and it really is brutal. You almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost:
But according to the Times it goes beyond that one tough crowd:
“You can no longer hide behind your black wife and children, not anymore,” Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate, said last week during an online news conference. “You’re exposed now.”
Mr. Williams, who is black, added, “We are at a time when we are asking you to do the things you said you were going to do.”…
Mr. de Blasio has spent the last few days consulting with black leaders to try to salvage a relationship that has buttressed his political career. Last Sunday, he met at Gracie Mansion with Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner; Mr. McCall; and Iesha Sekou, the founder of the Harlem anti-violence group Street Corner Resources, among others.
The mayor is now said to be re-calibrating his message. The about face on defunding the NYPD was part of that.
I would say that de Blasio is in deep trouble but let’s face it, Ralph Northam is still Governor of Virginia. If he can turn around a blackface scandal, Mayor de Blasio can probably recover from this. Then again, part of this may be about the national mood. Would Northam still be in office if the blackface photo surface this week? I don’t think so.
Addendum: Here’s a CBS New York report on de Blasio’s vague plan to cut funding to the NYPD. That’s going to be a real challenge in the midst of a spike in crime compared to last year. The only thing you can be sure of is that whatever cuts de Blasio announces, they won’t be nearly enough for the activists.