Some of my leftist friends were a trifle worried by the recent election returns. They fretted that New York City might someday become a “red” city — shorthand for a hotbed of conservatism in politics.
I think maybe they’ve been eating too much kale, but let’s think about it out loud. Could it happen? Well?
Yes, I know, I know. New Yorkers elected Rudy Giuliani, a card-carrying Republican, to two terms and followed him up with Michael Bloomberg, a card-carrying billionaire — who talks and acts like a Republican whenever it is expedient.
I strongly doubt that the totality of the five boroughs would ever go all right-wing. Staten Island and Archie Bunker’s old neighborhood.
But think about it. Could New Yorkers of a certain pedigree — I don’t like toy say “age” — ever have imagined that Greenpoint would be the center of the cultural universe? It’s our own little Seattle circa 1990, CBGBs in 1976, or Liverpool in 1962; the place where a bloodless societal revolution would be taking shape.
And now — stay with me here — what if these New Brooklyn Hipsters, flush with their DUMBO entrepreneurial glow and tech startup millions suddenly become fat-cat capitalists, doing drugs in trendoid downtown clubs by night and counting their dough by day? They may well sharply turn right. Nah!
As Sinclair Lewis wrote, “It can’t happen here.”
Why couldn’t NYC transform itself its cultural identity? We like to think of ourselves as admirable, do-gooder lefties, don’t most of us? Remember, NYC was Republican-governed technically for 12 years not so long ago by two men who imagined themselves leaping from Gracie Mansion to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Perhaps we’ll have to wait two years to find out. It will be interesting to see how much the right’s rhetoric has made an impression on the City’s young financial elite. It looms right now as a Hillary Clinton vs. The World election (I wouldn’t bet the ranch just yet on Jeb Bush). Hillary can be as polarizing a political presence as she is galvanizing. Plenty of people simply do not like her style. And they still resent her husband, to boot.
Then we need to examine the seismic demographic shifts in our little town. Clearly the numbers and impact of Hispanic-Americans, from Brooklyn to Berkeley, is ever on the rise in the USA. New York is no different. To a lot of pollsters, this voting bloc is tough to get a handle on, whether it is likely to be more innately liberal or conservative.
I feel like the commentator on that ESPN show, which tries to write revisionist history by using such examples as asserting that it wasn’t really all Billy Buckner’s fault that the ball went though his legs in the World Series or that the Black Sox weren’t to blame for taking gamblers’ payoffs when they threw the 1919 World Series. We can use historical facts and data to reach any semi-logical conclusions.
OK, OK. I know. This is a lot of fanciful hooey, based on a few idle proclamations from paranoid liberals.
But don’t blame me when the GOP puts a tax on your kale. You’ve been warned!