Analysis & Comment

Opinion | The Mike Pence Saga Tells Us More Than We Want to Know

By Gail Collins and Bret Stephens

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every week.

Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. I was hoping to pick up where we left off last week, with the New York City mayoral primary and our new ranked-choice voting system. Assuming Eric Adams holds on to his lead, what do you think his win says about the state of the city — and of the Democratic Party?

Gail Collins: Bret, this is why I love conversing with you. I’ve been hearing Republicans howl about the negotiations with Joe Biden on spending, and I was dreading a discussion on that subject.

Bret: Biden gets out a little over his skis with a dumb remark, publicly admits he screwed up, pledges to keep his word on a bipartisan bill. Imagine that.

Gail: Well, the city election is definitely a more interesting topic. and I can see why Eric Adams intrigues you. He’s a Black former police officer who ran on his crime-fighting skills. Politically he’s a moderate — by New York standards, anyway. And talking with his supporters after the vote, I did get the impression that some were most concerned with blocking off Maya Wiley, the only real leftie with a chance of winning.

Of course while the left was getting bad news in New York City, regular Buffalo Democrats were discovering their longtime mayor had lost the primary to a Black female socialist. Hoping to hear a lot more discussion about India Walton as we slowly make our way through this political year.

Nothing is for sure yet in the city — thanks to our new preferential voting system New Yorkers may not get the final word on who won the primary for ages. But if it’s Adams, it could send a cheerful message to people like Chuck Schumer, who’s up for re-election next year. There’s been speculation about whether Schumer might be challenged by a progressive.

Bret: New system or not, I still don’t understand why it should take forever to know the results of a municipal election. But I’ll be happy if Adams holds on to his lead, for lots of reasons.

One good reason to cheer an Adams victory is that it would demonstrate yet again that the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez left doesn’t represent the Democratic base. “Defund the police” is not a working-class interest.

Gail: Yeah, but having unarmed, trained mediators who could respond to complaints like family fighting might get a good response.

Bret: I used to think that was a good idea. Then several of our readers explained to me that family altercations are often violent and require more than a social worker.

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