Dear Commons Community,
The debate last night right here at the CUNY Graduate Center between New York City mayoral candidates, Bill de Blasio and Joseph Lhota, provided a good indication of the passions that both candidates have for the positions they have taken. Charter schools, taxes, and past associations (de Blasio with David Dinkins and Joe Lhota with Rudy Guiliani) evoked spirited give and take on the part of both candidates. Their lecterns angled toward each other, the two men stared and pointed at each other throughout the night.
The most intense exchange came when the candidates clashed over an advertisement by Mr. Lhota that used imagery from the 1991 Crown Heights riots to portray the Democrat as soft on crime. “It’s race baiting and it’s fear mongering and you know it,” Mr. de Blasio said, adding: “Anybody who looks at that ad knows what he is up to” and compared it to the Willie Horton ad used during the Bush-Dukakis national election in 1988.
Mr. Lhota shot back. “Don’t tell me I threw out the race card,” he said. “Bill, you cannot stoop to that level.”
In my opinion, Lhota did much better during this debate than the first one but I don’t think it will change the minds of most voters. The city is tired of twenty years of Republicans leading the city and want new ideas and approaches. Thomas Edsall, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, and sometimes columnist for the New York Times, thinks that this might be because of changing, liberal-leaning demographics in the city and increasingly across the country.