Election 2020

Trump's One-Sided War Against New York's Political Elite

Bill de Blasio's coming humiliation is just the latest evidence of the outer-borough president's revenge on Manhattan.

|

The list of people ready to guffaw at the pending national humiliation of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is longer than the walk-up line for To Kill a Mockingbird. There is the New York mayor's political nemesis in Albany, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, no doubt miffed that his own lane to the White House got smothered in the avalanche of Joe Biden's late-ish entrance into the 2020 presidential race. There are the headline writers at the New York Post and Daily News, whose familiarity with the unpopular incompetent breeds a delicious contempt. And then there are the people who have actually worked for the guy, who use words like "lunacy" to describe de Blasio's quest.

But the loudest pre-emptive snorts are already coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., 250 miles south.

De Blasio thus becomes the latest Manhattan bug on the windshield of the man who McKay Coppins memorably described in The Atlantic as "the outer-borough president." From a young age, Coppins observed, Trump "was acutely aware of the cultural, and physical, chasm that separated himself from the city's aristocracy. In several interviews and speeches over the years, he has recalled gazing anxiously across the East River toward Manhattan, desperate to make a name for himself among the New York elite."

That elite was never truly impressed, even after the developer and tabloid fixture found splashy success across the East River: "Trump was a vulgar self-promoter, a new-money rube, a walking assault on good taste and manners. He was, in short, not one of them. And he knew it."

Coppins wrote those words in January 2017. Since then, the president has had ample time to act on his revenge fantasies against the city where he first made his now-ubiquitous name. And the results of this D.C. vs. Manhattan fight have been as lopsided as a Harlem Globetrotters game.

The biggest Trumpian blow against the betters he left behind, by far, was the 2017 federal income-tax cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000. Disproportionately affecting residents of high-income, high-tax polities, the SALT cap seems almost tailor-made to clobber Manhattan. According to a 2017 Tax Foundation study, New York County (which is comprised solely of Manhattan) took by far the highest median pre-reform SALT deduction in the country—$24,900 per itemizing inhabitant, compared to $17,000 in Marin County, California. (The New York City-adjacent suburban counties of Westchester and Nassau ranked #4 and #8, respectively.)

"SALT was an economic civil war," Gov. Cuomo complained at a February news conference, blaming the cap for a whopping $2.3 billion tax-revenue shortfall. "It literally restructured the economy to help red states at the cost of blue states….It was a diabolical, political maneuver."

Diabolical? Hardly. As Reason economics columnist Veronique de Rugy has observed,

the deduction provides an indirect federal subsidy to state and local governments in high-income areas by decreasing the net cost of nonfederal taxes to those who pay them. As the Tax Policy Center notes, in some instances these state and local governments effectively "export a portion of their tax burden to the rest of the nation."

But Cuomo is on firmer ground when he notes the politics of it all. The governor, whose biggest 2018 re-election campaign theme was standing up to Trump, has been remarkably ineffective in that role. He created a SALT workaround allowing tax filers to donate their tax sums to state charities that provide social services, but that got quashed by the Treasury Department and faces an unpromising future in the courts. He met with President Trump in February and vowed a "nationwide campaign" to repeal the cap, but Democratic New York governors don't tend to have much sway in the GOP-controlled Senate House of Representatives.

"People are mobile," Cuomo warned in February. "And they will go to a better tax environment. That is not a hypothesis. That is a fact." Hmmmm, there might be a teachable lesson there….

The Census in mid-April came out with its annual population adjustment. And what did it find? Year-over-year population loss not just in New York state but—for the first time after a long climb—the city as well. Naturally, the president couldn't help himself from taking a victory lap. "People are fleeing New York State because of high taxes," Trump tweeted. "They didn't even put up a fight against SALT—could have won."

That personalized, pugilistic interpretation of the tax deal was shared by a politician who otherwise usually backs the president, Rep. Peter Steve King (R–Long Island). "He's from New York," King told Newsday, "but he did more to hurt New York than what's ever been done before. That's the reality and he's trying to pass the buck to us."

Usually, out-migration from New York state to Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and the like is replaced by international in-migration to New York City. But the Trump administration has affected those numbers, too, not just by squeezing down the number of legal refugees, student visas, family green cards, and temp workers, but by changing the very way population is counted.

The American Community Survey, from which the most recent Census data was gleaned, asked international migrants a different question last year. Not, when did you arrive in the U.S., but where did you live last year. "Our feeling is that the number for net international migration is likely too low because the new method tends to produce a lower figure," New York Department of City Planning chief demographer Joseph Salvo told The New York Times.

Most controversially, the administration's new citizenship question on the decennial Census survey—which it has not asked since 1950—will (if permitted by the Supreme Court) almost certainly lead to an undercount among any household that contains even one illegal immigrant. Remarkably, and in contravention to the original purposes of the Census, this appears to be by design.

The combination of actual population loss and conscious undercounting of immigrant-heavy populations is directly weakening New York's political power. The Empire State is currently projected to be the only one in the union to lose two congressional seats after the post-Census reapportionment.

Most of President Trump's haymakers directed toward Manhattan fail to land. He keeps whining about his depiction on Saturday Night Live and his treatment by the news division at 30 Rockefeller Center, but all his Twitter rage-threats to sue for defamation, re-impose the Equal Time rule, or even have the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) re-examine licenses, have hit the dead end of robust legal protection of the First Amendment. (As well as the respect for same by FCC Chair Ajit Pai.)

The administration's attempts to crack down on sanctuary cities have similarly been rebuffed by the courts. Mayor de Blasio flatly rejected requests to hand the feds information about the immigration status of prisoners in city custody. And even Trump's trade wars have so far just stalled, not yet reversed, the long Wall Street boom.

But it's hard to avoid the conclusion that in the Acela corridor power struggle between New York and Washington, it is Trump and Trump alone who has come out on top. In January 2016 the most likely obstacles to the reality TV star's path to the White House were former New York senator Hillary Clinton, Brooklyn-born democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, and possibly former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Only Sanders remains, and he's running a distant second in the pre-primary season to the guy who canceled out Andrew Cuomo. De Blasio stands to be the latest to not only lose to Trump, but suffer continuous degradation throughout.

"A special hello to all of you in this room who have known and loved me for many, many years," then-candidate Trump said, with startling contempt, at the New York elite's legendary and traditionally jovial Al Smith dinner in October 2016. "But then suddenly, [they] decided when I ran for president as a Republican, that I've always been a no-good, rotten, disgusting scoundrel. And they totally forgot about me."

Now, New York politicians can't stop yammering about Trump. But they can't stop losing to him, either.

Advertisement

NEXT: Texas Poised To Ban All Red Light Cameras

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. An unnamed source says Bill de Blasio can only achieve orgasm by taxing, spending, and regulating.

    1. You forgot “familiar with the situation.”

  2. “Trump was a vulgar self-promoter, a new-money rube, a walking assault on good taste and manners. He was, in short, not one of them. And he knew it.”

    *clenches fists*

    Stop… making me like Trump…

    1. The more I read about the takes on trump being a complete and utter charlatan the more impressed I am with him. Basically while I respect Matt Welch his articles about how objectively horrifying trump is just makes me that much more likely to vote for him because the same reasons he hates him are the reasons I find the idea of him being president totally hilarious.

      1. Also the man has all the right enemies.

      2. Right? The fact that all the worst people hate him, and the reasons they hate him, are what are so appealing about him. I’m no socialite, and always thought him pretty garish… But then with how snobby and toolish THOSE kind of people are, it just makes me like him more.

        I mean, he started out from a wealthy family, but one far less wealthy than many of those types of people… And then blew past all of them like they were standing still in terms of achievement. But he still liked McDonald’s hamburgers, so they all think he’s completely worthless and horrible… Despite actually being more competent at getting shit done than them.

        He’s uncouth, and also more effective than they can ever be. That’s why they really hate him.

    2. Trump’s enemies call it a “cult of personality” when, if anything, it is more a “cult of archetype”.

  3. “It was a diabolical, political maneuver.”

    Cuomo is jealous.

  4. former New York senator Hillary Clinton, Brooklyn-born democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, and possibly former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. Only Sanders remains, and he’s running a distant second in the pre-primary season to the guy who canceled out Andrew Cuomo.

    Someone in this group isn’t a “real” New Yorker.

    1. So sanders? Brooklyn hasn’t been the same since the Dodgers left.

      1. It hasn’t been the same since Brooklynites began to sound like 11 yr old girls from Encino Valley.

      2. I thought he changed when the Robins changed their name.

        It made him permanently irascible.

  5. LOLZ. Winning indeed.

  6. I don’t much care who is waging war against New York’s political elite. Anyone who is doing so is doing a good thing.

    1. The enemy of my enemy…

    2. Resentment of your betters will not improve your position.

      1. What about resentment of my inferiors? I make more money than the average Harvard or MIT graduate… Does that mean it’s okay for me to resent them for their clear intellectual and economic inferiority?

    3. +1

      These uppity progs really are the problem. I make more money than most of those pretentious dicks, but you don’t see me being a pretentious dick about like them! I really dislike snooty people.

  7. Informed, educated adults do not confuse Trump’s conduct with “winning.”

    He is a vulgar, vainglorious, reckless, silver-spooned ‘man of the little people’ with more inheritance than accomplishment, more bluster and puffery than achievement, and more investigations and litigations than one man can reasonably expect to survive (especially after immunity departs). The tax prospects alone seem destined to cause him to wish he had never entered public life beyond masquerading as his own mouthpiece, touting his extramarital endeavors.

    He persuaded a half-educated, bigoted, alienated, left-behind base that he would enable unskilled, rural white males to prosper — and not only that but also that they would succeed at the expense of the fancy “elites” they have always resented, the educated and skilled inhabitants of successful and modern communities such as Manhattan. But when Trump is gone his supporters will still be disaffected, downscale, superstitious losers residing in desolate, can’t-keep-up backwaters, relying on subsidies from their betters. They will go back to being the hapless, hopeless losers of America’s culture war and casualties of America’s modern economy.

    Or, as some see it, they will be “winning.”

    1. Hey look! It is a NPC!

      1. I recall when O.J. was “winning,” too. Indeed, he was “totally exonerated.”

        Then his conduct caught up with him. Has he been released from prison?

        1. Yeah, that’s the same. Your comparison is far more applicable to Obama or Clinton.

      2. Which NPC number is this Arthur?

    2. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland
      May.20.2019 at 3:24 pm
      “Informed, educated adults do not confuse Trump’s conduct with “winning.””
      Bigoted assholes think “winning” is willing the popular vote for POTUS.
      And I seem to recall bigoted assholes claiming Trump is not going to serve out his (1st) term, right bigoted asshole?

    3. So if Trump is such a useless, stupid, moron, buffoon… The fact that he cleaned house with basically the entire leftists establishment… What does that say about THEM?

    4. A whole lot of words to say “Orange Man Bad!!!”, as usual.

  8. Only the media seems to follow anything on Twatter.

  9. Trump pounces.

  10. “The biggest Trumpian blow against the betters he left behind, by far, was the 2017 federal income-tax cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000. Disproportionately affecting residents of high-income, high-tax polities, the SALT cap seems almost tailor-made to clobber Manhattan.”

    Democrats – Tax the rich!
    SALT goes though – nooo we are being taxed so much. Don’t lower taxes there CA and NY.

    Actually, I saw it as CA and NY war on Trump but hey I know TDS is strong.

    1. It’s actually a Coastal Blue State war on the rest of us.

      New Yorkers making $300,000 paid $10K less in Federal Income taxes than Tennesseans making $300K

    2. Supposedly Democrats hate the rich and think the rich should pay more taxes, yet when the rich get to pay more, all the Democrats kick and scream. Imagine that!

  11. De Blasio has been going after Trump in any way he could for years. At one point, De Blasio claimed he was going after Trump for unpaid inheritance taxes from when his father died 20 years ago.

    I don’t see these tweets as meant for public consumption, really. De Blasio wants to be Trump so badly. Trump knows it, and he’s rubbing it in De Blasio’s face. For people like Trump and de Blasio, humiliation is a dish best served in public.

    Apart from that, it isn’t really meant for us. We’re supposed to see it, but the message isn’t directed to us. It’s just a fuck you to de Blasio and nothing more. And I bet it landed. I bet de Blasio has a hard time sleeping tonight now that Trump tweaked his nose in public.

    1. For people like Trump and de Blasio, humiliation is a dish best served in public.

      Nice.

  12. pic caption : “NO HE DIH UNDT”

  13. This winning is exactly why he was elected. A wrecking ball against the political elite. And you and the rest of the editors hate it because you see yourselves as part of that same elite. Keep on losing Welch, it’s good for our country.

    1. Pretty much! Shitting on people like De Blasio is Trump at his best!

  14. “Remarkably, and in contravention to the original purposes of the Census, this appears to be by design.”

    Uh, are you really that dumb, Matt? Donald Trump would do something unconstitutional?

    1. Amoral, illiterate despots don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution.

  15. >>>pending national humiliation of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

    gets boring, like throwing sliders at 8 year-olds.

  16. Trump’s One-Sided War Against New York’s Political Elite

    One-sided? Are you effing kidding? New York’s Political Elite has been waging a war on Trump, as well as on red states, for decades.

    Most controversially, the administration’s new citizenship question on the decennial Census survey—which it has not asked since 1950—will (if permitted by the Supreme Court) almost certainly lead to an undercount among any household that contains even one illegal immigrant. Remarkably, and in contravention to the original purposes of the Census, this appears to be by design.

    I should hope so! People illegally in the country should not count towards the allocation of congressional districts. Democrats would likely lose several seats if that sensible rule were observed.

  17. C’mon Matt, you all but admit that sanctuary cities are making the political calculation that their harboring of federal criminals is a net benefit to them politically and not out of the goodness of their hearts.
    Team blue has been importing political power for decades, the census/voter ID controversies have laid their cynicism bare.. and yet this is Trump being a bad guy?
    All they have to do is expect honesty from their illegal population. Hahahaha ah sigh…thanks for that laugh Trump.

    1. If you look at native born Americans, and ESPECIALLY ones who have been here more than 2 generations… The Democrats would have basically zero political positions anywhere in the US. They’d probably barely even hold onto the major coastal cities.

      The NEED immigrants, especially poor and uneducated ones, to stay afloat. Either that or they’d have to come down from their crack smoking ways and start acting like adults again.

  18. “Trump was a vulgar self-promoter, a new-money rube, a walking assault on good taste and manners. He was, in short, not one of them. And he knew it.”

    And so is every one of the so called New York aristoctacy going back to at least John Jacob Astor.

  19. “Working People First”
    Bushwa!
    The closest he comes to ‘working people’ is when he passes the maid in the morning.

  20. I’d still like someone to present:

    I’d like to see some one write up suggested articles of impeachment.

    Write it up like a prosecutor presenting an indictment.

    How hard can it be?

    So far it seems like an impossible task.

  21. Park Slope Welchie Boy still seriously butthurt that his taxes went up a little. He has been bitching about it from the day the idea was floated.

    Like all leftie jerkoffs, he thinks everyone else should have to pay more taxes, except him.

  22. I think di Blasio’s doing a fantastic job of beclowning himself without any help from Trump.

  23. I’m not going to lie… There are a lot of Trump personality traits and habits I dislike… I don’t like the uber hype guy kind of personality type much… But the fact that he fundamentally is just kind of a regular guy in a lot of his habits and demeanor is also kind of endearing.

    He very clearly isn’t an intellectual. He doesn’t get off on discussing Greek philosophy or whatever, hence all these do nothing gold plated elitists can’t stand him… He doesn’t put up the right pretenses.

    Yet at the same time he’s achieved far more than basically any of them ever could in 10 lifetimes. Which makes them hate him more. He doesn’t have a lot of the charming aspects a sophisticated person does, but he does get shit done. I’ve read some of his books years back, and the man is a machine. Wakes up insanely early in the morning. Literally makes hundreds of calls a day sometimes. It’s crazy.

    He’s very much a put the deal together, and then delegate kind of leader, which isn’t always bad. I think he’s chosen some bad advisors in some areas, like foreign policy, but overall he’s doing okay. Any which way, the fact that he makes these coastal blow hards assholes twitch is certainly his best feature. He truly is the wrecking ball we needed! I wish he was doing even more wrecking… But that’s what term 2 is for I guess.

  24. Who is the bigger fool?
    de Blasio or the one who votes for him?

  25. “”Bill de Blasio’s coming humiliation is just the latest evidence of the outer-borough president’s revenge on Manhattan.””

    Wrong, Blasio’s coming humiliation is all his. He’s a crappy Mayor that has watched NYC slowing sink back towards the 70s.

    1. Funny how the best years NYC has seen in living memory were when a Republican and a semi sane independent ran the place… Imagine that. LOL

  26. Simple. Cuomo needs to WOKE HARDER.

    Turning a tower pink to sell infanticide is not enough.

    He needs to go and put a burka on Lady Liberty by himself.

  27. […] Source: Trump’s One-Sided War Against New York’s Political Elite – Reason.com […]

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.