NYC sees some disillusioned Dems switch to Republican Party

Will Democratic dissatisfaction impact the Big Apple's upcoming mayoral race?

Disillusioned by how Democrats handled 2020, some New York City residents are dumping the Democratic party and voting Republican.

Dalton Blaine voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but flipped in last November because he felt liberal policies were threatening to destroy the city.

"Just the deterioration of everything. Of small businesses. Of not really helping them at all," explained Blaine. "This mentality that we’re just going to shut everything down and then just see where we are, like once we get a vaccine. It was a joke."

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According to a Fox News analysis of AP election results, President Trump gained nearly 200,000 votes from New York City residents in 2020 compared to 2016: a 4.6% boost. Democrats lost 3% of voters for Biden compared to Clinton’s count in 2016. The biggest shifts came from the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, which were the hardest hit by COVID.

Blaine said he was also concerned about the growing influence of socialism across the city. 

"A big issue for me has been the Democratic Socialists of America," said Blaine. "They've been getting stronger and stronger for the past few years and I don't really feel like moderates are standing up to them."

Incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, saw her position for New York’s 12th Congressional District challenged by a Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member and community activist Rana Abdelhamid on Wednesday. She is being backed by Justice Democrats, the same group which supported Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s bid for Congress. 

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Another longtime Democrat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of being ‘canceled’, said his final straw was the rise in violence and chaotic protests that spread throughout the city last summer while Democrats stood by and watched.

"I remember seeing these self-righteous politicians going on TV, talking about how they want to defund the cops and, like, I can't even take the train. I couldn't let my girlfriend take the train," he said. "What happened last year made me look under the hood. I looked at all the achievements of the President. Of Trump… I was shocked. It wasn't as bad as what they said it was."

New York State Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy reflected on the changing tide. 

"Voters have seen firsthand the disastrous impacts that radical left policies have had on their wallets, their safety, and their quality of life," Langworthy said. "Twenty years of Republican mayors took the city from being the murder capital of the world to the safest big city in America and a magnet for jobs and tourism. Republicans saved New York once and they will do it again." 

But it’s still unclear what the Republican Party will look like in New York in the coming years.

According to The City, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, digital news platform, efforts were made earlier this year to persuade registered Republicans to sign up as Democrats in order to influence the mayoral primary in June. It’s unclear if these changes are temporary. 

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, nearly 19,000 Republicans swapped parties after the Capitol attack. But the Philadelphia Inquirer reports many of those voters didn’t necessarily change their ideologies, they just registered as third-party.

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"Republicans have a serious problem, and it’s called branding," explained political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. "When you have a problem with your brand, you’ve got to change the identity of the brand." 

If that change happens, he believes voting patterns will continue to change in New York City.

"Republicans in New York City tend to do well or do better, even get elected citywide when there is a crisis. We have a crisis in New York City now," said Sheinkopf. "So something will happen. The question is what and how long before it happens?"