On January 1st, Eric Adams was sworn in as New York City’s 110th mayor, marking the end of Bill de Blasio’s administration — and with it, the city’s eight-year trial run with progressive politics.
Adams is considered a moderate, and while the platform he ran was fueled with charged progressive rhetoric, it was certainly closer to the center than that of some of his Democratic counterparts. During his primary campaign, Adams’ condemnation of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and his refusal to gut the NYPD were all it took to earn him the “moderate” label. While that certainly posits a grim assessment of the state of our politics, it should be noted that his electoral victory in the city that produced Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just a few election cycles prior was also a major victory for pragmatists outside his party.
Centrist Democrats are an important bulwark against the party’s growing progressive wing.
A prime example of this is what we’ve seen over the course of the Biden administration. Since the president enjoys a near-trifecta with a Democratic House and 50-50 Senate, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have provided him his only real political pushback, having repeatedly broken with their Democratic colleagues in voting to strike down big-ticket items on their party’s political wish list.
Moderate Democrats provide Republicans with the unique security of political leverage in places they can’t formally win. Instead of trying in vain to get Republicans elected in urban centers and blue states, some on the right have tried throwing their weight behind Democratic candidates who don’t pander to the far left to mitigate the damage.
We saw the chair of the New York State Republican Committee endorse Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s write-in campaign. Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson ran a segment early last year characterizing Adams as the most sensible of New York City’s viable mayoral candidates. The New York Post also endorsed Adams for similar reasons. Instead of throwing their weight behind lost causes like Curtis Sliwa, some Republicans opted to do damage control on behalf of the Democrats with the objective of nominating the most mainstream and least transformative candidate.
Sometimes it works. 2021 saw a string of progressive losses in races that would have been slam dunks for them just a year before. In addition to Adams’ primary win, the mayoral race in Buffalo saw four-term incumbent Byron Brown cruise to victory as a write-in candidate after losing the Democratic primary to Squad-endorsed India Walton. In a special election primary for Ohio’s Cleveland-centric 11th congressional district, Shontel Brown defeated Our Revolution president Nina Turner, a progressive with massive name recognition and the endorsement of virtually every Sanders-aligned politician and organization in the country.
The takeaway here is clear: Republicans shouldn’t abandon unwinnable races in big cities, because that’s where the progressives have room to grow. If the progressives have room to grow, the Overton window will inevitably shift leftward, forcing conservatives to cede even more ground than they already have.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.