“Democracy” in New York

The Story

Mayor de Blasio has announced the creation of a new, $165,000-per-year position in his administration. The chief democracy officer will be tasked with “engaging local and national partners to develop new ways to engage people civically,” with an eye toward boosting voter registration. But the real problem with voter turnout in New York City is not difficulty in registering but an apathetic electorate.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Primary: Ayirini Fonseca-Sabune, whom de Blasio has named as his first chief democracy officer, rarely votes herself. Read more.

  2. Finance: The mayor wants expanded public financing of campaigns, but evidence suggests that such efforts have not led to increased voter participation. Read more.

  3. Tammany: Ironically, voter turnout in New York City was its highest when city politics were dominated by the now-discredited party machines. Read more.

“How do you get more people to participate in politics without deceiving them about what political participation entails?”

Stephen Eide, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

When the Irish Ran New York By Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Spring 1993)

“When a great city ceases to build, it commences to die. Somehow Tammany’s success at building gave public works a bad name among those who followed.”

And in other news...

“The roads between Midtown Manhattan and LaGuardia Airport will become so congested over the coming decades that travelers may need to budget up to two hours for the 10-mile trip to the airport by 2045, LaGuardia’s operator has said.”