NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams to fellow Democrats: Stop preaching, start doing

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New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams said Wednesday that Democrats need to back up progressive ideas and mantras with real solutions if they want to win across the country.

“Government is not supposed to preach to its citizenry, it’s supposed to provide,” Mr. Adams told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Mr. Adams said, for example, people talk about closing the troubled city jail on Rikers Island, but he wants to “close the pipeline that feeds Rikers Island” by improving the lives of people who end up there.

The mayor-elect doled out advice after offering Democrats a bright spot in an otherwise worrisome Election Night for the party, as Republican Glenn Youngkin romped to victory in the Virginia governor’s race and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was locked in a dead heat with his GOP opponent, Jack Ciattarelli, despite expectations he would cruise to reelection.

Mr. Adams beat GOP opponent Curtis Sliwa, 67% to 29%, in the liberal city. His big win came months putting together a diverse coalition that focused on the working class in the outer boroughs to survive a bruising Democratic primary that used ranked-choice voting for the first time in the city.

His campaign was labeled a centrist one, but Mr. Adams said many progressive reforms will be winners if they are targeted and executed in a way that gets results.

“I am practical and I’m progressive, we’ve allowed that term to be hijacked,” Mr. Adams said. “We need real issues to solve real problems to solve everyday problems in this country.”

A former police captain, the 61-year-old served as a state senator and Brooklyn borough president and resisted the progressive mantra of “defund the police” during the campaign. He says he will rebuild trust between the police and community and reach out to political rivals.

“We have a perpetual state of fighting. We’re like the Hatfields and McCoys. We forget the purpose of the election is so we can start electing,” he said. “We put on one jersey: Team New York.”

A vegan and avid cyclist, he wants to build new bike lanes and encourage alternatives to car travel. He’s proposed a 12-month school year, though implementing it would be unwieldy, and would like to keep a gifted and talented program despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to get rid of it.

Mr. Sliwa, a former radio host and founder of the Guardian Angels safety patrol group that dons red berets, painted Mr. Adams as out-of-touch with everyday New Yorkers and “Bill de Blasio” 2.0, pointing to worsening crime and issues around mental health and homelessness.

During a walking tour of the Chelsea neighborhood with The Washington Times, he pointed to graffiti as a sign of a slippery slope toward worse problems and found common ground with animal rights supporters and progressives worried about deteriorating conditions as the city tried to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Sliwa also sided with firefighters and other workers who opposed Mr. de Blasio’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Yet many pundits said the results of the contest were written in July, when a messy ranked-choice ballot process ended with Mr. Adams edging out former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia by 1 percentage point in the Democratic primary, making him the clear front-runner in the liberal city. 

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