Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, August 23, 2013

The UFT Will Get A Second Chance At The Endorsement - They Can Still Make Things Right

NYC Educator wonders if the UFT blew the chance to have a big impact on the mayor's race by endorsing Bill Thompson back in June before it was clear how the race was going to shake out.

He has a point.

The UFT endorsed back in June because the leadership wanted to run the endorsement by the Delegate's Assembly to get their rubber stamp approval before summer break.

The UFT leadership claimed the Thompson endorsement was a democratic decision that was reached after much discussion among the membership in all the boroughs.

That's horse hockey, of course.

There is nothing democratic about anything the United Federation of Teachers does and there was especially nothing democratic about the endorsement decision they came to after deliberation.

Having not picked a winning candidate since David Dinkins, the UFT needs to pick a winner this time around or seem further irrelevant and powerless than they already seem to the political process these days.

So they went with this dog-and-pony show about discussing the endorsement with the membership while behind the scenes they deliberated to figure out which candidate not named "Christine Quinn" had the best chance to win in September.

NYC Educator picks up the tale from there:

Was it a good idea for the UFT to endorse Thompson when it did? At the time, I thought so. It appeared Quinn was a 500-pound gorilla, Wiener was poised to enable yet another GOP win, and that de Blasio and Liu were swirling the bowl. 

That certainly was the lay of the land in June when the UFT announced the Thompson endorsement. 

That said, NYC mayoral elections have the reputation for breaking very late in the game, so I don't think the endorsement needed to be done so early.

I understand that the UFT leadership wanted the DA rubber stamp, but let's be honest, DA agreement is a sham, the decisions are always made by the leadership and those decisions are always agreed to by the DA.

The UFT leadership should have dispensed with the DA rubber stamp this time around and said they were still thinking through their endorsement options - particularly because one of the candidates they were thinking of endorsing had Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch as his campaign co-chair and that was giving them pause.

Weiner imploded in late July.  Again, NYC Educator:

But when Carlos Danger did his amazing self-destruction routine, it began to look like de Blasio had a chance. Unlike Thompson, de Blasio had never told the Daily News he approved of Bloomberg giving all city workers, except teachers, an 8% raise. Considering that, Thompson's ties to Meryl Tisch, and his flip-flopping on stop and frisk, I declined to work for Thompson against de Blasio.

Now de Blasio is either leading in the polls or in a statistical dead heat with the former 500 pound gorilla candidate, Christine Quinn.

Had the UFT waited to issue their endorsement, they could have had a different deliberation process as they realized Weiner was no longer a viable candidate or a concern.

I argued throughout the spring and early summer that Weiner was not going to stand up to scrutiny if the press checked into him - that he was hiding stuff and it would eventually come out if he was scrutinized (see here, here, here and here.)

I'm no genius, it simply didn't take too much insight to see that Weiner hadn't come totally clean with the public about his sexting scandal and there was more damaging stuff there that might torpedo his candidacy.

Spitzer's entering the comptroller race put renewed scrutiny on Weiner and his sexting past and suddenly, more did come out.

Once that happened, I figured the race would shake up and de Blasio might have a shot to make the runoff.

That's why I held off on making my endorsement, even when NYC Educator decided to hold his nose and endorse the UFT-endorsed candidate, Bill Thompson.

My sense at the time was, there's more to come here and I don't want to write myself into a corner that I can't get out of.

The UFT is an organization, of course, so I can understand why they have a different endorsement process and I won't beat them up too much about the Thompson endorsement.

At the time, it kinda made sense, given the Weiner/Quinn polling and de Blasio not showing any ability to get above 11%.

That said, they now have the chance to make things right again.

The primary is two and a half week's away.

No candidate is expected to get over the 40% needed to avoid a runoff.

Christine Quinn consistently polls in the mid-twenties in poll after poll after poll from every public polling outfit around.

That's enough support to get her into a runoff, but not enough to help her avoid a runoff or win a runoff.

De Blasio could be the candidate who comes in either first or second on Primary Day.

That's where the polling is right now, at any rate.

If that's the case, and he is facing Quinn in the runoff, the UFT can make things right by endorsing de Blasio over Quinn.

Before his campaign imploded over a second sexting scandal, Weiner allegedly told the UFT that he knew they weren't going to endorse him the first time around, but if he made the runoff against Quinn, they should endorse him then, he would be okay with that, there would be no hurt feelings.

Well, post-Sydney Leathers, the UFT doesn't have to worry about Weiner making the runoff against Quinn.

Now it's either Thompson or de Blasio who will oppose Quinn in a runoff.

If it's de Blasio, they can make things right by endorsing him and everything will be okay, there will be no hurt feelings - de Blasio will be happy to accept their help and GOTV efforts against Quinn in a runoff.

My one concern here is that Quinn drops to third and Thompson faces de Blaiso in the runoff.

That would be disastrous, because you can then expect Mulgrew and Company to stick with Thompson, the candidate who has Regents Chacnellor and testing doyenne Merryl Tisch as his co-chair and Al D'amato as his chief bundler.

If Thompson makes a runoff against de Blasio and the UFT doubles down on Thompson, then they compound the mistake they made back in June with the original endorsement.

That said, there is still two and a half week's to go and that's an eternity in politics - especially in NYC mayoral politics.

This time out in 2001, Bloomberg had little shot to be mayor.

Then came the 9/11 attacks, Rudy went from bum to saint, and Bloomberg rode Rudy's endorsement all the way to City Hall (if not Gracie Mansion.)

So there's a lot of time yet for another shake-up or two before it's all said and done.

Even so, if you are an anti-Bloomberg person looking for change from the Bloomberg policies, you have to pinching yourself that this close to the primary, Quinn can't get any juice going to get her out of the mid-twenties, and Weiner has destroyed his own candidacy.


  1. If the doomsday scenario evolves and it becomes a run off between Thompson and DeBlasio,who do the supporters of Quinn, Weiner and Liu wind up supporting?

    1. I dunno.

      My guess is that many Quinn people go to Thompson, many Liu people go de Blasio, and Weiner's supporters go text somebody.