In last week’s Republican debate a furor developed over Senator Ted Cruz’s comments on “New York Values.” “Everybody understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal and pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage,” Senator Cruz said. “And focus on money and the media. Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan,” he concluded. “I’m just saying.”
The remarks were intended to reflect on Donald Trump’s New York City roots, questioning his true commitment to more conservative values and positions in his campaign. What the comments actually did was ignite a firestorm among the many liberals in New York and elsewhere. And what a debate these remarks could engender! Recent developments in Salt Lake reinforce the continuing trend of inner city populations embracing and reflecting left-leaning mindsets. Senator Cruz’s comments and subsequent “apologies” are worth dissecting for their relevant value in what may be seen as a core of the 2016 campaign.
In all reality, Donald Trump is probably a middle of the road moderate currently disguising himself as a conservative. It sounds like he may have disguised himself as a liberal when necessary in the past. And if you are ever to function and prosper in New York, at least good lip service to liberal values is a necessity. His response about 9/11 and New Yorkers rallying to the day missed the point of the comment. Senator Cruz was talking about New Yorkers’ day to day mindset. And the thesis that needs to be explored suggests what is true about New York’s liberal mindset has application in other big metropolitan areas across the country that vote overwhelmingly Democrat and repeatedly support feel-good but failing liberal social programs.
I have attended school, lived around, and worked in New York for many of my younger years. I have relatives and old friends who live there still. I have former high school classmates who died on 9/11. I know something about New York. I could still navigate Manhattan without a map today. I suppose we cannot be clear on precisely what Mr. Cruz felt internally when making his comments, but we can get the main emphasis. And from a conservative perspective, he makes an interesting point.
With apologies to any intent forwarded by Senator Cruz, here is my synopsis of what I have observed as “New York Values“ over the years:
1) Die hard New Yorkers are all about the mighty dollar. The phrase “Money talks, BS walks” originated in New York. Limousine liberals work hard to get rich and then feel guilty about it. New York is filled with such types that worship the dollar and then subconsciously hate themselves for it. Nevertheless the pursuit of financial success is the end-all-be-all of existence in the Big Apple, and the wealthiest New Yorkers are the most admired. With the cost of living in New York, such obsession with money is almost mandatory. It can cost upwards of $2,000 a month just to have a space to park your car in Manhattan.
2) Along with money comes social status. In New York society it is not necessarily about who you really are, but what you do that counts. The highest level of interpersonal relationship in New York is about the deal…what is in it for me. New Yorkers love to be seen with other high status New Yorkers. “Have you been out to our place in the Hamptons?”
3) There is a myopia about all things New York. New York is the best, therefore everything else is somehow less. Any company or enterprise not centered on New York rates a degree of suspicion. The Yankees have the most championships…the Red Sox are crap. Ask anyone. New York Hot dogs are the best. New York pizza is the only pie worth eating. Anybody who is anybody has to live in New York. New Jersey commuters are all pretenders. New Year’s Eve anywhere but Times Square isn’t legit. The attitude goes on and on.
4) Corruption is just a way of life in New York. Along with the pursuit of the dollar comes the rationalized perspective that any earned dollar is a good dollar, no matter how one comes by it. Wall Street mavens and Hedge Fund managers flourish in New York. The back-door deal is just matter-of-fact. The mob has been headquartered in New York for generations. Everything costs two to three times what you were told it would cost. No one really knows where all the money goes. Hillary Clinton e-mail scandals? C’mon, tell us something that actually moves the needle!
5) You have to subscribe to liberal feel-good ideas, attitudes, and programs, or you are just a miserable human being. The highest level of caring is throwing money at a problem, either through high profile charitable functions or government spending. Whether proposed solutions actually works or not is an unacceptable subject of conversation. Just get with the program, even if it is something as absurd as outlawing large servings of soda. And if you have a conservative bent on an idea, you are immediately labeled as a heartless hate-monger and likely blamed for most of the problems.
6) Secularism rules the day. Religion is generally off limits and if you are too religious you are likely a chump anyway. Religion can be an effective tool to climb the social ladder however. Refer back to number 2. But avoid any meaningful discussion of actual beliefs or doctrine. However, much of what is forwarded by media talking heads is taken as gospel. Rachel Maddow and Howard Stern are more popular than Billy Graham in New York.
7) Anything relevant in the United States ends at the Hudson River. I doubt there are a dozen New Yorkers who could identify the Wasatch Range on a map. There are a lot of New Yorkers who may not be sure Utah is even part of the United States. The Grand Canyon is somewhere in California, which New Yorkers must sometimes reluctantly admit actually exists.
8) The words “gun culture” and “rational” cannot exist in the same sentence. Guns are only for cops, criminals or kooks. No self-respecting New Yorker would even consider handling a gun, much less learning principles of marksmanship or self-defense. That is simply barbaric. It is a two year mandatory jail sentence just for possessing a firearm in New York. Try Googling Plaxico Burress as a high profile example. The NRA is to blame for most inner city gun crime problems. The Second Amendment was never intended for actual citizens to own guns. Just ask anyone’s brother-in-law who is an attorney.
Interestingly enough, as many good people as there are in New York, and as proud as New Yorkers are about everything New York, anyone with the means abandons the City to their country homes at the first stroke of five on Friday. Upstate, the Hamptons, the Poconos…everyone has an escape route that can afford one. But who can blame them, daily life in a bustling City like New York is a grind. Any individual who loses touch with nature eventually loses their mind in my opinion. And in fact, the incontrovertible support for the liberalism that is failing on all fronts within the City, yet continues to garner unwavering support among New Yorkers despite mounting evidence of problematic developments, may be ascribed as a sort of mass insanity. So weekend mass exoduses are a way of life for the affluent, where they reload on perspective, if not on more effective social and political policy.
Running the risk of over generalizing, the liberal mindset is indeed entrenched in New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C, Chicago, Los Angeles and most other major cities. It is growing quickly in Salt Lake. It is fascinating when breaking down voting propensities that big city dwellers vote overwhelmingly for liberal candidates and programs, while more suburban and rural folks vote overwhelmingly for conservative ideals. It is thought provoking to wonder why this trend continues uninterrupted. Groupthink has to be a consideration.
Senator Cruz, without backtracking one bit on his comments in the debate offered these subsequent apologies: “I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers who have been abandoned by liberal politicians,” Cruz said. “I apologize for the working men and women of New York who are denied jobs — jobs that have been plentiful just south in Pennsylvania — because Gov. Cuomo bans fracking. I apologize to all the pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who Gov. Cuomo brazenly told have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.
“I apologize to all of the African American children who Mayor de Blasio tried to throw out of their charter schools that were providing a life line to the American dream,” he said. “And I apologize to all the cops and firefighters and 9/11 heroes who had no choice but to stand and turn their backs on Mayor de Blasio because Mayor de Blasio over and over again stands with the looters and criminals rather than the brave men and women of blue.”
Senator Cruz, even if considered somewhat insensitive, has a point. There really are not a lot of conservatives, at least as a percentage, in New York City. Or any other major city for that matter. And that simple demographic has been turning the politics of our nation for decades now. The problem is, such “New York Values” do not play well in Peoria, Peducah or Provo for that matter. But Senator Cruz is right to be concerned that such liberal “big city” attitudes may drive the entire national discussion in the future.