The results aren’t official yet, because mail-in ballots and ranked choice voting will guarantee confusion, but Eric Adams will likely be the next Mayor of New York City. The frontrunner out of the gate, Andrew Yang, will not be. Andrew Yang finished an embarrassing fourth place, coming in third only in Staten Island. How did the 2021 NYC Mayor race turn out the way it did? How did a frontrunner with some celebrity status end up behind Maya Wiley, a certified lunatic who would be ten times worse than even Bill de Blasio, who NYC hates?
You can find the answers in my 2016 book Stumped: How Trump Triumphed. Eric Adams took advantage of some of the same persuasion triggers described at length in that book. We’ll now look at a few of them.
1. Adams Dominated Yang’s Space
Andrew Yang began the NYC Mayor 2021 race in the lead because of his 2020 presidential campaign. The group he needed to appeal to – Democratic primary voters, who are the most engaged in politics, knew who he was, even if the general public didn’t. Andrew Yang relied on that and his key offer of Universal Basic Income to make inroads. UBI might prove attractive as part of a post-Covid recovery, Yang reasoned.
It was not a bad idea, but Andrew Yang was done dirty by his year as a pundit in the corporate media. Corporate media is woefully out of touch with the real world and lives on Twitter instead. You are who you associate with. Because of his association with CNN, he missed the mood of the electorate. For voters, even Democratic primary voters, crime became the top issue. When they saw a shooting of a child in Times Square in May, they were reminded of the “Bad Old Days” of the 1970s and 80s.
Because he was not part of corporate media, Eric Adams remembered what Andrew Yang either never learned or had forgotten – Twitter is not real life. Majority-minority New York City cared about rising crime, not eccentric economic ideas or woke stupidity like defunding the police. Black and Hispanic Democrats are more socially conservative, even on race, than their white counterparts, who drive most of the conversation. Eric Adams understood this and dominated the space on crime control. His background as a retired NYPD captain helped him immensely.
When Andrew Yang spotted his error and tried to pivot to the crime issue, it was too late. Eric Adams had captured the energy of the moment and described his rival as a “Johnny-come-lately” to the issue. As such, whenever crime was discussed, it always came within the context of Adams, and crime was the issue everyone cared about.
The result is that Eric Adams came in third in Manhattan, the borough of the white elite. Yet, he cleaned up in the Outer Burroughs, especially in the heavily minority Bronx, where he won 45% of the vote. His performance resembles President Trump’s improvements in New York City. It is another sign of the arrival of the Seventh Party System.
2. Masculine Man vs. Beta Boy
It’s one thing to dominate the talk of an issue. It’s something else to embody it and solidify that appeal. Eric Adams had a background that helped, but his persona sealed it. For example, he talked about not needing security because he would carry his own gun.
During the NYC mayor 2021 debates, Eric Adams emphasized his masculinity by acting cool while everyone else fought around him for attention. Additionally, he has a low voice, which helped to solidify his character as a masculine man on the subconscious, visceral level. In other words, he has just the persona that you would want if you were under siege from criminals.
When Andrew Yang pivoted and began to talk about how he would be a mayor who was tough on crime, he was not as convincing because his personality was not as convincing. He also carried a hint of desperation. When asking the “who would you rather protect you from crime?” question subconsciously, Andrew Yang naturally came up short.
It also helped that Eric Adams went around New York City meeting people face to face without a mask on, while Andrew Yang, who already had covid earlier this year, wore one. It signaled fear and weakness.
When judging male leadership, especially in a time of danger, masculinity matters.
The only feasible move for Andrew Yang after Eric Adams secured the space as being the tough-on-crime candidate for NYC Mayor was to go further left, but that was a path he was never suited for. He would be lying through his teeth, because he’s not stupid or a True Believer. Several other candidates for Mayor, who were True Believers, emerged in that lane, notably Maya Wiley. The latter got the coveted (for “progressives”) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsement. Wiley is as lunatic as it gets, but she scrubbed up the woke lane, and was well-positioned to do so.
Andrew Yang had nowhere to go as a result. He relied on his celebrity status to get him into Gracie Mansion, but he simply didn’t have his finger on the pulse, and got outflanked.
Those in or who seek positions of authority cannot afford to make the same mistakes. Read Stumped now for more information.