Society and Culture

Decision 2013: I’ll See Your Christie, and Raise You de Blasio

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Well, Election Day has come and gone, and things are looking (un)surprisingly bright for the tri-state area.

Folks, I live in Hoboken, New Jersey, and I commute into New York City almost every day. That means I was pretty invested in both the New Jersey gubernatorial race and the New York mayoral race. So now that the results are in, let’s chat about them, mmkay?

Republican Chris Christie won reelection in New Jersey last night, with Democrat Bill de Blasio winning the mayoral seat in New York. No one was even a little bit surprised—to the point where Politico reported Christie’s victory hours before polls even closed.

Now, we all know I’m no fan of the Republicans. Christie’s conservatism irks me, and I’ve called him a douche many, many times over the course of his first term. Especially when it comes to his education policy, which actually drives me insane.

But seriously. Dude’s always railing against teachers, cutting public school budgets, and pushing charter schools. These are policies that kill fair labor laws, devalue an incredibly important job (educating the next generation, NO BIG DEAL), and exacerbate socio-economic inequality. Don’t believe me? Los Angeles has more charter schools than any other district in the country—let them tell you how much they suck.

So, obviously, I’m not Christie’s biggest fan. But, he’s the frontrunner for the GOP’s 2016 Presidential bid, and I’m weirdly happy about that. Why? A surprising side effect of my Post Traumatic Sandy Disorder is a much more positive vision of Gov. Christie.

While I was totally freaking out about the apocalyptic flooding outside my apartment, Christie was consistently calm and attentive. He made regular TV appearances, updating residents on the situation while we waited for the storm to make landfall. After disaster struck, he came and visited Hoboken—as well as many other affected New Jersey towns—to assess the damage and address his constituents.

Many have claimed that Christie used the storm as a publicity stunt, pumping up his approval ratings without giving enough material aid to affected residents. That may be true. But, he also proved himself to be a calm and effective leader who could successfully navigate an emergency situation. He made a lot of people, myself included, feel safe under terrible circumstances.

And that’s a really big deal. Since Sandy, he’s arguably toned down his conservatism—choosing not to fight against the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage, for example—establishing himself as a centrist politician who’s more concerned about being realistic and representative than pushing his own agenda.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of Republicans—but that’s one I can potentially get behind.

jlawAcross the Hudson, New York has taken a very different turn. Bill de Blasio will be the first Democratic City mayor in over 20 years—and he’s not just any Democrat. He ran on a seriously liberal platform, and trotted out his biracial family as proof that he could follow through on his promises.

When his afro-bearing son, Dante, told cameras that his dad opposed stop-and-frisk, New Yorkers believed him. Why? Because de Blasio’s strong ties to people of color—his entire immediate family—must mean that he’s personally invested in ending a policy that targets and harasses them. This isn’t hypothetical for him—it’s sitting in his living room.

De Blasio’s platform also included a plan to raise taxes in an effort to decrease the city’s wealth gap, which has grown to epic proportions. YAY!  Will he be able to deliver on that noble goal? Only time will tell, but the awesome factor of the First Lady is indicative of good things.

Bill’s wife, Chirlane McCray, is a black feminist, a writer, a marketing maven, and used to identify as a lesbian. Since marrying Bill, she’s gotten queerer, explaining (why does this still need to be explained?!) that sexuality is fluid. She’s also a former member of the Combahee River Collective—one of the most important black, lesbian, feminist organizations of the 1970s and 80s.

Seriously, people. I read about the Combahee River Collective when I was a Gender & Sexuality Studies major at NYU. Hardly anyone outside the department had ever heard of it, mainly because feminist history is terribly whitewashed. Gloria Steinem gets the glory over Audre Lorde every time.

So, the fact that a former member is set to move into Gracie Mansion (unless the family opts to stay in Brooklyn, which would be super rad) is a huge deal. Like, absolutely huge.

With McCray by his side, Bill de Blasio’s mayoral victory is more than just a change of pace for New York City. It could be revolutionary.

So Tuesday’s election went pretty well, I’d say. Gov. Christie’s a pretty acceptable conservative, and Mayor de Blasio’s a super exciting liberal.

The tri-state area is going places, people.

Featured image courtesy of [Bill de Blasio via Flickr]

Hannah R. Winsten
Hannah R. Winsten is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow. Contact Hannah at



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