The previous year, the former tech company executive had built a national image as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination because of his laid-back style, his reluctance to wear ties and, above all, because of his proposal to give $ 1,000 to citizens under the concept of income. universal basics.
But on Tuesday night, a few hours after voting in the city’s primary elections ended, Yang acknowledged his defeat from a hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, the neighborhood in the middle of Manhattan where he lives with his wife Evelyn and their two children.
He had placed fourth in the initial tally of votes that were cast using a new system that allowed voters to rank at least five candidates in order of preference. He obtained 11.7% of the votes cast, while Eric Adams, the president of Brooklyn, led the way with 31.7%, according to data from the AP agency.
Although the results are not final, it will take until June 29 to finish counting the votes under the new electoral system, Yang acknowledged to his followers: “I will not be the next mayor of New York City based on the numbers that have come in tonight. “
Yang led most of the primary election campaign in which he presented himself as an innovator who would rebuild the economy of the pandemic-hit city and manage it so that it would work for its inhabitants, according to the campaign page.
The universal basic income program, the same one he promoted as a presidential candidate, was one of his key cards that contemplated putting money in the pockets of the lowest-income population, including undocumented immigrants.
“I think I’m a common sense New Yorker who sees what we can make our city work better and solve problems,” Yang said in an interview with Univision Noticias in April, where he noted that he accepted being described as a “rational progressive” in a of the most progressive cities in the country.
Their luck began to change at the end of May, one month before the primary elections, and when the Zoom campaign had come to an end and the candidates began to tour neighborhoods, subway stations and churches.
Then, a series of surveys They showed he was losing the lead to Adams, a former police officer who also served in the state Senate, and former city health commissioner Kathryn Garcia, two candidates with long-standing city public office.
“I think the support that Yang showed at the beginning of the campaign was smoke and mirrors,” he told the outlet. Crain ‘s New York George Arzt, a political consultant working for the campaign of former Citi executive Ray McGuire, who also ran for the Democratic nomination for mayor of the city.
“He had a great personality, he was funny and people liked him, but that’s where he ended up.”
In May, criticism from his opponents was also sharpened for the alleged lack of knowledge about the city, taking advantage of some slip-ups by Yang himself.
At a press conference to discuss police reform, he was unfamiliar with a recently repealed law that protected disciplinary records for officers of the public.
In another press conference, he announced that he would take control of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, known as the MTA, which handles New York’s subway, bus and train systems, from the state, without being able to explain how he would do it.
Then, in a virtual forum on homeless people, he proposed that the city should create shelters for victims of domestic violence, while moderator of the debate explained that they already exist.
Yang is a New Yorker. He was born in Schenectady, a city in the state more than three hours from New York. He has lived for 25 years in that city, where he met his wife and with whom he has two children. However, his link to New York was constantly questioned.
The criticism rained down on him when he said that living in a two bedroom apartment, in the middle-class neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, had to work and help his children in school, when New Yorkers in the middle of the pandemic were locked in their apartments, most of which are surely smaller than those of the former candidate .
In other tweet, wrote the message “NYC loves its warehouses” along with a video in a spacious establishment with wide aisles and a fairly assortment of products that did not resemble the traditional bodega, which are small stores that offer basic products such as chips, candy, milk and lottery tickets .
Or when he said that his favorite subway station was Times Square, the symbolic New York center that is very popular with tourists from all over the world but where ‘real New Yorkers’ never go. That slip ended the criticism of ‘outsider’ that his opponents made him
No support in key sectors
Preliminary results from the primary elections show that Yang’s fall garnered low support at the polls in key communities, such as blacks and Latinos.
A notable drop, considering that the New York entrepreneur remained in the two surveys conducted by Univision Noticias as the favorite among Hispanic voters who represent almost 30% of the city’s population, according to the United States Census.
“I would like the Latino community to remember me as the mayor who made sure that Latinos were treated exactly like any other New Yorker. If he could be remembered that way, it would be an amazing achievement, ”he told Univision Noticias during the campaign.
According to a map in the newspaper The New York Times, Adams is the one who would have won the support of the Hispanic and black community.
Meanwhile, Yang won the support of the Asian community – with whom he joined in recent weeks against the attacks registered against its members, especially by people with mental problems.
He also garnered strong support from Orthodox Jews who were attracted to his position of not intervening in yeshivas, schools that have been criticized for a lack of traditional academic rigor.
But clearly, the mathematics did not work, as Yang himself would say, and his project to run the most complex city in the United States could not materialize.