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Morning Spew

It’s Wednesday and Another Mediocre Man Goes to Harvard

Plus: Primary results, dark money and the People's Republic of Astoria

6:54 AM EDT on August 24, 2022

(Bill de Blasio)

Today, the New York Times reports that perhaps the most mediocre politician in recent memory is headed to the most mediocre city in America to take the customary mantle of famous mediocre men: Bill de Blasio is headed to Harvard, where he will be a visiting fellow. As mayor, de Blasio was widely reviled for his failure to implement much of anything in the way of concrete policy through most of his term—of particular interest was his inability to stand up to the NYPD, despite having campaigned extensively on racial justice and police reform. Arguably the best moments of his tenure arrived on Friday mornings, when the then-mayor would appear on Brian Lehrer to be ritualistically flogged by his constituents. Thankfully, now that de Blasio is out of office and our mayor is a crooked cop, being the subject of that flogging has become de Blasio’s full-time job. It’s a small but satisfying comfort to watch him flail, recording an instant classic of a concession speech barely two months after announcing a bid for Congress and going on an extensive apology tour, the subject of which is his entire political career. 

What will de Blasio do at Harvard? According to the Times, he will “pass on the lessons he learned” as a wildly unpopular politician, teaching an eight-week class on leadership during major public health disasters. As several audits of New York City’s COVID-19 response have found, the City was unnecessarily slow to react to the pandemic. De Blasio himself had to be “persuaded” by aides in the spring of 2020 to shut business and schools down; several top health officials threatened to quit as the then-mayor gave press conferences encouraging New Yorkers to go about their daily lives. His decisions have been credited with the loss of over 15,000 lives.

All our best to the future Senators and CEOs at Harvard, who will reportedly be “mentored” by de Blasio and meet with him one-on-one. 

Anyway, perhaps you heard the big messy primaries happened yesterday? Incumbents Robert Jackson, Kevin Parker, and Jabari Bisport were all re-elected. Here’s what else is going on: 

  • Democratic Socialists of America-backed candidate Kristen González absolutely trounced Elizabeth Crowley in the state Senate primary, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to Crowley by the real estate industry. 
  • Denim heir Dan Goldman, a man who lent his campaign $4 million in the month before the election, defeated progressive Yuh-Line Niou in a closely watched Congressional race. Shortly after his win, the United Democracy Project, a super-PAC affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, announced it had lent “significant support” to his efforts: 
  • The party mayor’s pick for the 25th district, a baptist minister with a history of bigoted remarks, got crushed in the election and may even come in third. 
  • Gustavo Rivera won his seat in the Bronx despite being targeted by pro-charter school groups and real estate interests and opposed by the Bronx Democratic party. Moments before he announced his victory, Rivera quoted “The Wire”: “You come for the king, you best not miss.” 
  • An Oklahoma teacher has been placed on leave after providing her students with information about Books UnBanned, the Brooklyn Public Library’s free digital collection for people between the ages of 13 and 21. 
  • A Tuesday report from the Citizens Budget Committee says the MTA is rapidly crumbling because the agency is behind on a multi-million-dollar plan to fix necessary infrastructure. 

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