By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
In 1993, 60 percent of the general election vote was white, and Rudy Giuliani, running against a Democratic incumbent mayor, got 77 percent of it. That means Giuliani won roughly 824,000 white votes, almost enough alone to top David Dinkins's 858,000 total vote. As black and Latino as the Democratic primary vote was last monthand exit polls may have underestimated it at 47 percentit will not dominate in November. These voters can nominate Ferrer, with almost no white, Asian, or other allies, but they cannot elect him. That is why Michael Bloomberg is salivating for a shot at Ferrer.
Ready to spend another $15 million on a television blitzkrieg over what will now be only a 25-day general election campaign, Bloomberg can be elected if whites are a slightly larger share than their 1993 percent or if he gets just a bit more of their vote than Giuliani. A suddenly popular president, governor, and incumbent mayor will be at his side, with war waging in the background. The tabloids will be bashing Ferrer daily. The Timeswill not endorse him, and may even, despite Bloomberg's campaign-finance sins, decide that it cannot remain neutral.
Harold Ickes, the longtime Clinton strategist, is locked in a back room of the Ferrer headquarters now, working often until late at night, trying to put together the national Democratic pieces that can help Ferrer overcome these Bloomberg advantages. He, the Chicago-based Axelrod, and Democratic National Committee vice chair Bill Lynch are among the seasoned Ferrer advisers who are determined to make sure that a runoff win this Thursday doesn't just become a cheap thrill, soon crushed by four more Republican years. They know that Ferrer's message, Sharpton alliance, and campaign ethos make a race against Bloomberg far more difficult for him than it would be for Green.
Bloomberg has said nothing in this campaign that has inflamed or dividedother than his constant championing of everything Giulianibut his free-spending presence is a reason for Democrats to consciously pick a November winner, one who is ready to take us through our toughest time.