Nov. 7 will be the day you exercise your right to vote. In the Bronx there are 11 contests (not counting citywide), most of which have already been won, thanks to the power the September primary has on the Bronx. The general election simply formalizes those victories.
The race for Mayor is largely along the same line. In the August 31-September 13 edition of the Norwood News, we wrote that the incumbent, Mayor Bill de Blasio, is likely going to win the general election namely since the two challengers, Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, and Independent Richard “Bo” Dietl, carry very little support. Plus, the current antagonism towards President Donald Trump doesn’t help much as both of de Blasio’s rivals were shown to have voted for Mr. Trump nearly a year ago.
With a week to go before the general election, here’s a quick breakdown of the candidates:
De Blasio: De Blasio has pounded the drum on progressive politics that have included major reforms within the NYPD, mental health system, and housing matters. His platform over the last four years have either caused him to gain or lose supporters. In the Bronx, we hear less positive things said about de Blasio and more antagonism lobbed at him, mainly for his propensity to dump homeless shelter after homeless shelter in a borough that’s already saturated with them. He is not your blue collar mayor, but one edging towards elitism ripe with an I-know-what’s-best-for-you mentality that has turned off working class Bronx residents. But as the Norwood News said before, de Blasio will win this one.
Malliotakis: Malliotakis presents a largely general Republican agenda that includes auditing the New York City Department of Education to determine mismanagement of its contracts, investing in senior housing, and assigning independent-minded officials to the MTA board. Her solution to fix the homeless crisis by building more supportive and affordable housing is merely putting a Band-Aid to the overall issue of homeless who are mentally ill. Her name recognition is extremely slim. Honestly, how many New Yorkers knew about Malliotakis before she ascended to grab the Republican nomination for mayor? She’s stuck to the eastern section of the Bronx, the most Republican sections when compared to the rest of the borough. But to win, sometimes candidates should get out of their comfort zone.
Dietl: It’s hard to tell whether Dietl has an actual agenda or if he’s shooting from the hip. The Independent candidate (who voted Republican but says he’s a registered Democrat) shared very little ideas at the first mayoral debate, opting to randomly shout toothless counter-arguments that turned the debate into a circus (it wasn’t helped by cheers and jeers from the faceless crowd). His official website for mayor is vague on ideas or outright ludicrous (his proposal to nix the two-year college requirement for NYPD officers could open the door for the bad old days of police corruption, where knucklehead officers used the badge to run their own criminal enterprises). This quixotic run deserves more scrutiny. Does his raucous, flippant and troglodytic presentation remind voters of anyone?
Let’s put our take aside. What are your thoughts on the general election? Who will you vote for? It’s a question that should be on the minds of the borough’s 795,402 registered voters from across all party lines including the very fringe. Unfortunately, the prospect of voting was only on the minds of 71,084 voters, or 8.9 percent, this past primary in the Bronx.
There’s a quote from Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, who said, “You are only as good as the people you hire.”
In a way, voting is a type of hiring. It’s prevalent in the phrasing of candidates who feel they are “the right person for the job.” So the question goes: Who do you want to hire?
In a nation freer than most countries around the world, the power behind voting should be commonplace. You have the power to decide who wants to run you. So use it.
But if the numbers seem to indicate anything, voters will once again stay home. Incumbents seem to love that.
Polls on Election Day are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. The New York City Campaign Finance Board has a voter guide available at http://bit.ly/2yMGQqZ.