While analysts of last week’s elections focus on the fight for the soul of the Republican Party, they pay little attention to Democratic divisions. Yet, it would be hard to find two winners more different than Bill de Blasio, mayor-elect of New York, and Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s next governor. Pundits hold their noses when discussing McAuliffe, a smarmy backroom dealmaker who outspent his Republican opponent by $15 million. De Blasio is an unabashed liberal who makes no apologies for his support of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas and whose campaign focused less on the middle class than on the forgotten poor. McAuliffe’s first post-electoral act was to call up Republicans – to reach across the aisle. De Blasio plans to tax the richest New Yorkers to provide universal pre-school education. Yet only 4% of Virginia’s Republicans voted for McAuliffe, whereas, the Daily News noted, de Blasio “captured the majority of hearts and minds in New York, winning virtually every kind of resident – blacks, whites, rich, poor, Jews, Christians – in his sweeping victory.”
Both candidates won over 90% of the black vote, which is now critical to the Democratic Party. But centrist Democrats aren’t addressing the critical issue for the black community: the millions of young men, particularly in America’s big and troubled cities, who have dropped out of the system. They have become invisible to us, except as symbols of society’s “takers”. De Blasio seems intent on reaching them – and in doing so recapturing the soul of the Democratic Party.