In hindsight I see that I correctly analyzed what would be Bill Thompson's dilemma in this election. We all know that one of his main arguing points in his campaign was that Mayor Mike Bloomberg snatched away the people's democracy by extending the term limits that were put in place by New York City voters through two referendums during the 90's.
But Mayor Bloomberg did not act alone. He needed city council. So it would be correct to say that the Mayor and city council snatched away the people's democracy by extending term limits from two terms to three terms after the New York City electorate decided through referendum that term limits would be set at two terms. When I saw that city council was omitted in such accusation I realized then that this would be Bill Thompson's main dilemma.
The term limit argument was a strong one. Around this time last year the mayor and city council's actions infuriated the voters. Certain city council members who voted against the measure even took the matter to court. But somewhere along the line this argument got weakened, which I will explain shortly. It pretty much got killed when the voters, who would be Bill Thompson supporters in the General Election only, by turning the switch next to his name and pulling the lever, however, nominated many of the same people who created this mess in the first place in the Primary to be able to run in the General Election.
Thompson was advised that having people visibly supporting him that in essence were okay with extending term limits without a referendum would be political suicide. Even for them. Therefore the image of Democrat solidarity was absent.
But Thompson kept on. He built a team of sincere supporters, I being one of them after the Primary. And that's because I was backing Tony Avella. I backed Tony because he supported many of the causes we were fighting for in Harlem among other qualities. I told Thompson aides that if he wins the Primary I would get fully behind him. On day one after Thompson's Primary win I told him that I'm on board and we marched together through Washington Heights.
In my opinion Thompson was doing good. He was getting solid advice and utilizing it too. But I saw the term limit issue being the reason that would cause him to lose if he were to lose.
To prove my point, I got a couple of calls from people asking me why I was canvassing for Thompson while I was campaigning for my own race. That's a normal thing to do by the way on a local level. But the callers were more concerned with the fact that on some of Thompson's campaign literature he was being endorsed by Council Members Jackson and Dickens, two of the city council members who voted to extend term limits. And these folks knew that I had an issue with those council members who were in cahoots with the mayor on this issue. In fact, on a city council campaign level I was using the same campaign mantra as Bill, "Eight is Enough." So to them I was appearing to be hypocritical.
When I looked at the flier they were talking about I couldn't believe it. True their names appeared in small print. But it didn't get passed these callers. I had a hard time trying to explain it away. But I had to because the bigger picture in all this was to have Thompson win.
So here we have the closing chapter of this mayoral race with Thompson losing by 5 points. That amounted to 50,000 + votes. Yes it is somewhat true that if more people had turned out Thompson could have won because more than likely those voters would have been African American. And maybe if Obama had given Thompson a healthy endorsement instead of a flim flam one that could have been just the spark needed to get more Thompson voters believing and actually voting. But what kind of resounding message would have been sent to Bloomberg if the voters who did vote during the Primary Election did not nominate the city council members who voted to extend the term limits in the first place? THAT EIGHT IS REALLY ENOUGH!
Bloomberg would have been back peddling. And even if Thompson still were to barely lose, the impact of such votes were cancelled out by the fact that many of the same voters voted such council members back in office. At least there would be hope that Bloomberg could be contained. But right now you have pretty much the same city council, at least in the areas that are being gentrified, and the same mayor for four more years. [With that illogical voting scheme did I even stand a chance?]
Yet the fact that Thompson still nearly won has its rewards. Thompson showed courage and was not afraid (It must be a Brooklyn thing). He stood his ground like a man. And there will be a somewhat different council too. It will not be majority white. Whether the new council members will have some backbone remains to be seen. If some of that Thompson courage rubs off then maybe Thompson is really the winner after all. But we should not think that the fight is quite over. There is so much that still needs to be done. I will continue doing my part.
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