New York City Mayor Eric Adams has declared himself the new face of the Democratic Party – and there are signs that national Democrats agree. Now, he is seeking to secure the ultimate representation of the Democratic Party’s faith in him, and New York City, by hosting the Democratic National Convention in 2024.
“We're not just nominating a Democratic presidential ticket. We are setting a brand new course for this nation,” Adams said Thursday at a press conference alongside Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democratic National Committee officials, who were in town to hear the city’s pitch.
While crime and homelessness could dock New York in the contest to host the convention – its moderate leaders are hoping their messaging and policy strategy on those issues will attract the Party to their home turfs.
Democrats nationally have shifted away from progressive criminal justice policies amid rising crime during the pandemic, and Adams has been tapped as a leader of that messaging strategy. In May, he spoke at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event, at the behest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, on how Democrats need to be “better storytellers,” Politico reported.
DNC Chair Jaime Harrison highlighted both Adams’ and Hochul’s approaches to dealing with crime when asked how public safety would weigh on the Committee’s decision on where to host the convention.
“We got a mayor who served in the police department, who's the mayor of the City of New York. We have a governor who is tough on crime and is going to make sure (the convention is safe),” he said.
Thursday marked the first time Hochul and Adams have appeared together while making the case for New York City to host the convention. Adams announced the city’s bid for the convention in May, a month before Hochul all but secured her path to reelection by winning the June primary.
The leaders both in recent months have shied away from alarmist messaging on crime, attributing their own policies to a dip in shootings across the city and state during the first six months of last year compared to 2021. Other serious crimes in New York City, including burglaries, robberies and grand larceny, have increased, however.
Hochul and Adams also highlighted New York’s stance against the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade on Thursday. Following the decision, the Legislature implemented a number of protections for abortion seekers and providers, and Hochul vowed the procedure would always remain legal in New York.
While Adams boosted the city’s transportation system as a benefit to convention goers, recent high-profile transit crimes over the first six months of the year have threatened New Yorkers’ sense of safety on the subway. He insisted that wouldn’t be an issue at the convention, noting new measures to remove homeless people from the subways and the infusion of additional police officers in recent months. “Our transportation is safe, reliable and dependable,” Adams said. More cops would be added to the transit system during the DNC, the mayor said.
New York is also in need of a morale boost after the pandemic hit the city harder than any other metro area in the country, Hochul and Adams said.
“We want to spread that sense of optimism that we innately have about the possibilities of our comeback. Yes, we've been down, we've been knocked down before and we always rise up,” Hochul said. “The symbolism of the National Democratic Committee selecting New York City for their 2024 location will be a symbol of a rebirth of not just a community, but of the Democratic Party.”
Not only would the convention highlight the city’s reputation as a Democratic stronghold, but it would also be a boon for the economy. In 2004, the Republican National Convention generated $255 million in “net new economic activity” for New York City, according to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
If the bid is successful, 2024 would mark the sixth convention held by Democrats in New York City, most recently in 1992, the year Bill Clinton was first elected president.
Other cities vying to host the convention include Chicago, Atlanta and Houston. When asked whether a swing state was a better route to attract voters, Harrison said the DNC is “looking for the city that can demonstrate and illustrate the values of the Democratic Party,” adding that “in the end, we'll make the decision based on the technical components of what we need for a convention, but we'll also make the determination on which city we believe best tells the story that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are trying to tell to the American people.”
The DNC leaders were set to tour Madison Square Garden and the Javits Center, where the official convention events would be held. Entertainment was also on the agenda, with Adams gleefully playing host. “We're going to hang out tonight. I'm the nightlife mayor, so I'm going to show them some of the product as we take them throughout the city,” he said, before ending the press conference with a Frank Sinatra lyric he attributed to Jay-Z.
“As Jay-Z said . . . ‘if you could make it here, you could make it anywhere.’ And we're going to make it again. We're going to produce another president,” Adams said, appearing to quote the Jay-Z song “Empire State of Mind,” which pays tribute to Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”