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Spitzer loss: Rich Manhattan Democrats vote their class interests against bank regulation

Spitzer (with almost all the votes counted) lost the Democratic primary by 22,851 votes. From a handy New York Times interactive info-graphic, here they are: Manhattanites over $150,000.

44,660 - 20,610 = 24,050. There you have it. That's Stringer's margin.

This story becomes even more stark when we turn the income knobs up to 11. Look at the Upper East Side with the slide moved to filter out all but the wealthiest:

I'll take as a given that rich Manhattanites are, in the main, either banksters or servicing banksters, since New York is the capitol of global finance.

The alternative narrative is that the story is about race. WYNC's interactive info-graphic, which has no income slider:

I think the first two graphics show that in this election, the race map is a proxy for the class map. I mean, come on. We're not hearing Toni Morrison calling Eliot Spritzer "New York's first black comptroller," are we?

Other explanations:

1. The press, from the Times to the Post, was uniformly in favor of Stringer, a grey-colored Democratic apparatchik and timeserver. Uniformly. I wouldn't be so crass as to imagine a phone call went out to the publishers; by Occam's razor, all they would have to do is come to "independent" conclusions based on the interest of those who own them. Also too, we don't want any unpleasantnesses at the next charity ball or on the Vineyard. However, if you take the view, as I do, that Manhattanites with incomes over $150,000 swung the election, this would have had no effect; their minds were already made up. If anything, the press was insurance.

2. Mrs. Elliot Spitzer (Silda Wall Spitzer) wasn't by her husband's side, and didn't even issue a statement ("problems in our marriage") about

3. Spitzer's hooker scandal while

4. Anthony Weiner shitting the bed on his own sex scandal couldn't have helped any. I don't think, no matter what might be said for public consumption, that this would bother Manhattanites with incomes over $150,000 at all; they of all people know that the wheels of Wall Street are greased with hookers (and powered by blow).

The only other variable I can see is the kind of campaign Spitzer ran. Granted, he probably faced a news blackout in the press, but certainly he didn't generate any buzz, and I do try to keep track. I think if you want to talk the populist talk, you've got to walk the populist walk, and that entails taking a risk of some kind; putting your body on the line in some way. (Grayson is good at this; outright opposition to a President going to war? That takes stones. Warren's not so good; asking pointed questions and calling for simpler paperwork doth not a populist make.) Spitzer seemed awfully relaxed for a man making a comeback; it was as if he expected to be handed the nomination because of his record. Surely he could have done more? Performing a citizen's arrest of Jamie Dimon in his own boardroom might have been a little over the top, but people are ready for gestures on that scale; that's what the income class divisions on the first two maps show. With the right campaign, this race wouldn't even have been close.

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Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

may no longer be able to win by "just talking about" populist ideas.

(Agree with your example of Grayson versus most Dems.)

I am always amazed by the hyperventilating that goes on in some of the progressive blogosphere (like DKos) when a Dem candidate or politician just "mentions" a vaguely or slightly progressive policy--Jeeezzz!!!!

During the Spring of this year, when the "Grand Bargain" was front and center for weeks, I saw glowing "reviews" of various Dem candidates' stances, even though most of them did not even go so far as to state that they would not vote against the implementation of the "Chained CPI," or raising the eligibility age for various social insurance programs,etc.

Go figure.

At any rate, I have to also wonder if Bloomberg's wealth (and self-funding of campaigns) has not caused a bit of a backlash against other candidates who do the same (as Spitzer did to some extent).

And then there was the "union vote," which may have helped Stringer a bit.

In our neck of the woods, there has been a "sea change"in the attitudes of educators toward the Democratic Party, after five years of a Democratic Party Dept of Education that is bent on the destruction of public education. (And has achieved a great deal more harm than Bush's Margaret Spelling ever dreamed of, LOL!)

IMHO, the Democratic Party needs to stop recruiting so many extraordinarily wealthy candidates. This was a Rahm Emanuel (and DLC) scheme to bring in more corporatist Dems, and help the Democratic Party's campaign "coffers."

Personally, I am not vested in the results of the NYC elections, as long as they don't spawn another Third Way/No Labels Dem candidate. ;-)