Tuesday's lopsided victory by populist Democrat Bill de Blasio in the New York City mayoral election could test the revival of liberalism in America's urban areas, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The city's new mayor is sympathetic to Occupy Wall Street and once volunteered with the Marxist Sandinistas of Nicaragua.
With de Blasio's victory, many of the nation's largest cities are now in Democratic hands, in contrast to 2000 when Republicans held some of the reins.
Progressive Democrat Ed Murray takes over in Seattle. Martin Walsh, a former union official, will be Boston's next mayor. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a strong defender of Obamacare, won re-election. Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Phoenix already have Democratic mayors.
Mayor-elect de Blasio ran on a platform — polls show New Yorkers reject several of his key positions despite voting for him — of raising taxes on the wealthy, opposing charter schools and ending "stop and frisk" police tactics.
"Make no mistake," de Blasio said in his acceptance speech, "the people of this city have chosen a progressive path."
He will be the first Democrat to hold the New York City mayor's seat in 20 years. Incumbent Michael Bloomberg is an independent. Rudy Giuliani had been a Democrat before he switched parties and became a Republican who sought liberal support in his campaigns.
In administering a city with an annual operating budget of $69.9 billion — and facing teacher, police, and firefighter union demands for retroactive pay increases — de Blasio's success in governing will test the revival of liberalism in urban American political life, according to the Journal.
Political scientist Larry Sabato cautioned that progressives like de Blasio could overstep their mandates if they move too far from the mainstream. "They could go too far left because there's a tolerance for moderation, not necessarily for liberalism. If they show themselves to be incompetent then they'll pay a price."
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