Category: Fight for the City

The history that explains why a democratic socialist may be Buffalo’s next mayor

By Sean Dinces and Derek Seidman

Read the full article from Washington Post,here.

Walton’s stunning primary victory made national news, no doubt because it signaled the persistence of the left-wing political insurgency growing within the Democratic Party since at least 2016. That year marked Bernie Sanders’s unsuccessful, but formidable challenge to party standard-bearer Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary.

Walton’s ascent into the political limelight has been fueled by the local appeal of Sanders-style rhetoric, including her assertion that “housing, health care, healthy food, and a quality education are basic human rights.” Her primary victory also depended on a coalition similar to the one that powered Sanders: working-class people, young voters radicalized by issues like rising rents, and relatively affluent liberals troubled by the growing gap between the rich and poor.

In a setback for Black Lives Matter, mayoral campaigns shift to ‘law and order’

By Tim Craig

Read the full article from The Washington Post, here.

Mayoral candidates across the country are closing out their campaigns pledging to restore law and order, a major setback for racial justice protesters who only a year ago thought they had permanently reshaped the debate on policing in American cities.

As voters head to the polls Tuesday, local elections are dominated by discussions about safety and law enforcement amid a surge in violent crime. The tone of the debate, even in many liberal urban communities, highlights how major policing reforms have stalled.

How to fix Buffalo’s poverty? Mayoral candidates differ but agree City Hall can’t do it alone

By Caitlin Dewey

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

Few would argue that poverty isn’t a colossal problem in Buffalo – a problem so entrenched and ubiquitous, in fact, that it’s almost taken as a given. When Walton’s opponent, incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, entered office in 2006, the citywide poverty rate sat at 29.9%. It has not changed appreciably since then.

But Walton and Brown differ sharply in their beliefs about the policies best suited to address it. Brown, who rarely uses the word “poverty” in interviews or public appearances, has bet that economic development and partnerships with nonprofit organizations will improve neighborhood conditions and generate new and better jobs for low-income residents.

Walton, a self-described democratic socialist who has made poverty the key theme of her campaign, advocates for what some progressives call “regenerative” economics – collective ownership, such as co-operative businesses and community land trusts, that she says will more equitably spread wealth and power.

Why Is This Happening? Why Is This Happening? Unpacking Buffalo’s mayoral race with socialist India Walton: podcast and transcript

By Why Is This Happening?

Read the full article from MSNBC, here.

39-year-old India Walton found herself thrust into the national spotlight when she defeated four-term incumbent Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in the June primary. It was an unusual win: Walton had never held elected office, and Brown isn’t letting go of his seat without a fight. Following the stunning upset, the current mayor launched a write-in campaign, and many of the state Democratic establishment have refused to endorse Walton, who describes herself as a Democratic Socialist. Recently, New York State Democratic leader Jay Jacobs even compared her to KKK Leader David Duke, a characterization that he has since apologized for using. Walton has now received the endorsement of New York’s Democratic senators and she joins to discuss her journey from registered nurse and local activist to politician, why she feels the work of policing is “fundamentally wrong,” and proposed changes to Buffalo under her administration.

India Walton beat Buffalo’s mayor once. Can she do it again?

By Carolyn Thompson

Read the full article from AP News, here.

When India Walton beat Buffalo’s four-term mayor in a Democratic primary last June, New York’s second largest city looked like it was about to get a leader like no other in its history.

She’d be its first female mayor and the first to identify as a democratic socialist. After becoming a mother at age 14, she grew up to be a nurse and strived through a lifetime of financial hardship that continued through the campaign, when her car was impounded for unpaid parking tickets.

But rather than pack up his City Hall office of 16 years, Mayor Byron Brown has stayed in the race in pursuit of his own superlatives: He’s trying to become the first person to win a major race as a write-in candidate in New York state, and — if he gets a fifth term — Buffalo’s longest-serving mayor.