I’ve often noted that my general voting rules are: don’t vote for any Republicans at the federal level, don’t vote for any Democrats at the New York City local level, and don’t vote for any incumbents from either party in the New York State Legislature. Recently, I followed a link to a timeline of New York Times endorsements for Mayor of New York, and found I may not be the only person who thinks that way, at least for the first two rules. The timeline shows that in 32 mayoral elections going back to consolidation, the Times endorsed only 9 NYC Democrats. This includes two endorsements of Ed Koch in 1981 and 1985, when he was also the Republican candidate. I’m not sure that counts. And two endorsements of Jimmy Walker in the 1920s. I think they’d like to have those back. That brings it down to 5 out of 32. And 15 times the Times endorsed third party or fusion candidates, nearly half the total. This is the organization that opposed non-partisan elections?
This is the liberal, Democrat loving Times? Yes, if you are talking about Democrats from somewhere else. At the national level, in 33 elections since 1884 the Times has endorsed Republican candidates for President only six times. And one of those was a local, Thomas E. Dewey. I’m not sure that counts, given that Dewey was probably popular with the Times’ readers. That brings it down to 5 of 33. Heck, the Times didn’t even endorse New Yorker Teddy Roosevelt. The Times has not endorsed a Republican for President since Eisenhower in 1956. There was also one third party/fusion endorsement. The rest, 25 out of 33, were Democrats.
It isn’t just the Times. As I wrote here, the people of New York City have voted against the candidates of the Democratic establishment in eight out of nine Mayoral elections since 1977. Even in elections where the Times endorsed the Democrat, as in 2001. And I’ve read all kinds of excuses and recriminations as to the reason. Perhaps the Democrats might want to think about what the real reasons are.
And perhaps ask themselves this question. What does it mean to be a so-called “progressive” in a city where the state and local tax burden, as a percent of city residents personal income, is already 50 percent higher than the national average and higher than just about anywhere else, where debts are already high, and where many needs are nonetheless unmet?