When “social democrat” Bill de Blasio was elected mayor in 2013, he was “anointed … as the standard-bearer for a new progressive movement,” the left-wing magazine The Nation recalled in 2016.
New York under de Blasio was to provide a model for the rest of the nation about what “progressive” or “democratic socialist” governance could look like. And he certainly governed as New York’s “most progressive mayor in decades,” winning re-election in 2017 to a second term.
Today, looking back on the de Blasio era, the lessons of “democratic socialism” in New York are clear. The city has lost thousands of residents due to the coronavirus pandemic — but it was in a downward spiral even before the outbreak. The mayor backed the Black Lives Matter movement, exacerbating a rift in relations with the New York Police Department (NYPD) that once enjoyed the backing of de Blasio’s predecessors, who brought the city’s