Friday, April 22, 2016

1633 Why Bernie Lost New York City

(GREENPOINT NY) -- This part of Brooklyn doesn’t get a lot of the tourist trade. It’s an old neighborhood filled with old people, old things and an old waterway.  


There are some of the few remaining wooden water towers.  There are buildings from a century ago that no developer is ever going to try to gentrify.  If you want to come here, you have to work at it. You have to take the G Train. And if you get here, there’s little to see and less to do.


Even on a sunny day, it has a cloudy feel.


But this was Bernie Sanders’ shining city on the flatlands Tuesday, the high spot in his New York primary run.  He absolutely crushed Clinton like a paper cup. Seventy to 30.  The rest of the city turned him into a Crinkle Cup, the kind your dentist gives you to rinse and spit.


And while he won other neighborhoods in the five boroughs, it wasn’t the outpouring he said he expected and certainly hoped for.


Are New Yorkers turning into a bunch of raving conservatives?  Are they longing for the glory days when the economy boomed with a Clinton in the White House?


No. In this contest between two “New Yorkers,” Hillary is the native and Bernie is the carpetbagger.


Bernie is from Brooklyn.  Fairly typical child of immigrants of his age.  And the accent and hand gestures haven’t died. You never leave the ghetto. Not entirely.


But he left Brooklyn for Vermont in the 1960s when he was in his mid-20s and has lived and worked there ever since.  No one in Poultney thinks he’s a down- east Yankee.  But the typical Brooklyn Child is no longer typical in Brooklyn.


Hillary Clinton was born in Illinois, lived a good many years in Arkansas and now lives in Chappaqua, NY.  That’s a bit up river from the city.  But it’s a different world.


As of 2013, the median home price there was about half a million dollars, twice the state average.  The real estate website Zillow says Chez Clinton is worth about $6 Million.  The town It is 75% white.


Burlington Vermont’s median home price is about half that of Chappaqua. There are no homes for sale in the Clintonspheric range. Burlington is 92% white.


The feel in Chappaqua is more monied than in rural Burlington.


New York City is fast dividing into two camps: rich and poor. The middle class is evaporating.  But the typical New York voter wants to be more like Hillary than Bernie.


And that’s why she won.


Sanders is from a bygone era. Jewish, boisterous, opinionated, blunt, annoying.  What you see is what you get.


It’s charming in a nostalgic way, especially to those of us who didn’t flee the city to mountain greenery until retirement.


Clinton is from a more modern version of town: not quite as boisterous, easily as opinionated, but with her opinions rooted in air and subject to changes in wind direction.  A chameleon hoping to be all things to all people.  And at least equally annoying.


There aren’t enough New Yorkers of his era left to push Bernie over the top.  And the strivers and wannabes who replaced that breed are much more like Clinton.


Even if they don’t know it.


Shrapnel:
--The Republican primary is barely worth mentioning because everyone knew Cruz was toast, Kasich was going to rank 2nd and Trump would win by a mile, which he did.  But one interesting fact has escaped much notice.  Trump lost in his home borough, Manhattan.


I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016

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