Have you been to New York City recently? If you have, you know the truth: It’s awful — awful in a very recognizable way.
New York today looks like New York in the 1970s, but without Studio 54. The city has once again become dirty, chaotic, and increasingly dangerous. The parks and train stations look like refugee camps for mentally ill drug users. Just as in the 1970s, a lot of people who live in New York are fleeing. Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe you’re reading this right now, maskless, from your patio in Ft. Lauderdale or Naples, a glass of wine in hand, and thinking to yourself: "Why should I care about what happens in New York? I voted with my feet and got out of that place. Let it rot."
And, honestly, that’s a fair point. But consider another perspective. New York is the biggest city in the United States. More than eight million people live there, including Americans. What happens in New York affects all of us. In the end, we’ll have to pay for the damage anyway, so we might as well root for the best outcome.
Right now, believe it or not, something good might be happening in New York. In fact, something good is happening. Bill DeBlasio is heading for retirement. We know that for sure. The single worst mayor in the history of representative government has reached the end of his second, disastrous term. The long municipal nightmare is over. DeBlasio’s leaving. So, the question is, who replaces him?
Until recently, we assumed it would be Andrew Yang, the guy who just the other day was running for president. We talked to him as he ran, and we found that unlike a lot of the 2020 Democrats — we’re talking about you, Beto O’Rourke — Andrew Yang is not stupid. In fact, he’s legitimately smart. At times he’s been insightful and willing to talk about interesting ideas in public. Unfortunately, in the end, the weight of Yang’s life credentials — Exeter, Brown, Columbia Law School — pulled him back to the poisonous culture that produced him in the first place, and he embraced, probably inevitably, the dumbest kind of identity politics. At this point, the only real difference between Andrew Yang and the next unhappy lady browsing the aisles at Whole Foods in a mask, is that Andrew Yang is slightly more articulate. And that’s sad. Another one bites the dust. Still, we assumed that Yang would win the Democratic primary in New York because it’s the Democratic primary in New York. But we were wrong. He may not win. It turns out, New York is changing. All the urban decay seems to have awakened voters to actual issues.
According to a new poll, Andrew Yang is losing, as of today, to a guy called Eric Adams, who’s the Brooklyn Borough President. Controversial for many years. In a lot of ways, Eric Adams is a conventional big-city Democrat. He’s into identity politics too. The difference is, Eric Adams is eccentric enough to say what he really thinks once in a while. For example, in a speech last year, Adams launched into an attack on the smug, fussy liberals who’ve flooded into New York over the last three decades. He addressed an audience of people who have to live with them. You can sympathize with them.
"You were here before Starbucks. You were here before others came and decided they wanted to be part of this city. Folks are not only hijacking your apartments and displacing your living arrangements, they displace your conversations, and say that things that are important to you, are no longer important."
So what exactly was Eric Adams talking about? What are the important things that smug, fussy liberals don’t want to talk about? Crime and disorder, mostly. And those matter. Once you’re afraid of getting shot to death while walking to the store — once you can’t use the park across the street because vagrants are living in it — nothing else really matters. No matter what color you are, crime and disorder define your life. Whatever else he is, Eric Adams is bright enough to understand that. He spent 20 years as a cop in New York. Here’s what he said in his announcement for mayor:
ERIC ADAMS: We’re facing a crisis like we’ve never seen before. Businesses are closing. Crime is rising. Homelessness is soaring and our families are struggling…We can’t have an education system that fails to put our children on the pathway to success and leaves them at a dead-end of crime and hopelessness.
So, "Businesses are closing. Crime is rising. Homelessness is soaring." Adams said it out loud. By itself, that’s a victory in the context of New York politics — a victory of reality over delusion. For years, there’s been a rigid code among those smug, fussy liberals in New York City that you’re not allowed to notice as things fall apart. To the extent you do notice, you’re supposed to think it’s charming, or diverse, or somehow related to equity. "More drug OD’s in Penn Station. How vibrant!"
Eric Adams doesn’t think that way at all. He thinks all of that is awful. Here’s his solution: don’t put up with this crap. Bring back order. Crack down. Make New York a safe city again. Everything depends on it. And he’s right.
ERIC ADAMS: It doesn’t make any consolation if a police officer shoots someone illegally or if it’s a gangbanger in blue jeans. No matter what community I’m in, people want their families to be safe and that resonates with every day New Yorkers and I know my message will resonate with them…If we’re not safe in the city, companies will not come to New York. Our multi-billion dollar tourism industry will not return if tourists are shot at Grand Central Station. And so the first order of business is to get the violence under control.
The first order of business is to get the violence under control. You’d think that’d be the top priority of every New York City politician. Why have a mayor otherwise?
But it’s not their top priority. Not even close. The current mayor spends half his life opining on global warming, even as he pollutes the atmosphere with his weed smoke. Eric Adams is actually serious about fighting crime. How serious? He said if he becomes mayor he plans to carry his own gun. Can you imagine Bill De Blasio doing that? He’d shoot himself by accident:
HOST: So as mayor would you carry a firearm on you even with a security detail?
ADAMS: Yes I will, number one. And number two, I won’t have a security detail. If the city’s safe, the mayor shouldn’t have a security detail with him. He should be walking the street by himself. Number three, the hypocrisy of those who are citywide officials who said you shouldn’t have guns in church, those guys that walk in with them – they got guns.
You can tell how true something is by how the usual hysterics respond to it. In this case, they were totally horrified. "Display bravery? Defend yourself? Show evidence of a higher than average testosterone level? How could you?" Eric Adams later suggested he might have been joking. But as you just read, he wasn’t joking. He obviously meant that. And normal voters appreciated it. Why wouldn’t they?
Meanwhile, once-promising Andrew Yang has descended deeper into the self-discrediting absurdity of identity politics — something that, it turns out, most voters actually don’t like. Who knew? At a forum the other day, Yang was asked about violence against Asian-Americans. Now, every single human being in New York City understands where that violence comes from, but of course, Yang didn’t say that. His solution: give more taxpayer money to racial affinity groups aligned with the Democratic Party. That’ll make Asian grandmothers safe. Except it won’t make Asian grandmothers or anyone else safe. We know because we tried it. It doesn’t work. All that does work is enforcing the law. And most people know that.
Yet enforcing the law is the one thing Andrew Yang opposes. Yang has called for taking more money from the NYPD budget and giving it to "mental health services," whatever that means. Then, in a radio interview, Yang suggested that defunding the police by a billion dollars, which they’ve done, might not be enough.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: You know they did shift a billion dollars from the NYPD, you know, to other things. But would you do more than that? Would you do more than a billion?
ANDREW YANG: I think that’s what we need to be looking at…The reality is, if you’re going to look at the city budget, the NYPD is the most likely place to look because we’re just spending a lot of money on the NYPD.
The sad thing is people like Andrew Yang, Exeter, Brown, Colombia, are such craven butt-kissers they don’t understand the advantage of telling the truth. If he’d said to the radio host "are you joking? Defund the police? That’s insane." The radio host probably would have agreed with him. But that’s not what Yang did. He tried to suck up, and he humiliated himself, and then he went on from there.
Yang has demanded that the police learn martial arts -- purple belt, at a minimum -- so they won’t have to use their weapons, just well-placed karate chops. Yang has also called for changing the uniforms and titles in police departments across the country.
"I might rename them ‘Guardians,’" he wrote, "and adopt a different color scheme."
Oh, a different color scheme. You have to wonder, is there still a constituency for ideas this stupid? Of course, there is. Grad school liberals love it. Fawning over criminals makes them feel good about themselves. And then when things disintegrate, as of course, they will, the grad school liberals just leave. They literally head for the hills — Telluride, Aspen, Beaver Creek — anywhere without the "crime problem." A lot of them are doing that now. The liberals who still remain in New York don’t have much use for Eric Adams. He’s the one black candidate they don’t like. You get the feeling he doesn’t like them back. He definitely doesn’t believe them when they talk. Here’s Adams on the radio in July — sympathizing with, of all people, Donald Trump.
ERIC ADAMS: We’re in the period of sexy headlines. Truth be damned. Nobody cares about the truth anymore. This is an Instagram, Twitter universe where people push what’s sexy and what sells. Everything they accused Donald Trump of, that far left is (laughs). Moderate communication and real facts don’t even matter in this universe we’re in right now.
Could it be that things have fallen apart to such an extent in New York, they’ve gotten so crazy, that someone like Eric Adams, who you would have laughed off the stage eighteen months ago as crazy himself, is actually the sanest guy running and maybe the one person who can save the city from itself.
We don’t know, but it wouldn’t be the weirdest thing that’s happened this year.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening commentary on the May 6, 2021, edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."