It may be the nature of highly politicized position that entails lots of decision-making that leads to the decline of third term New York Mayors. Though I doubt it is the office itself. Rather, New York Mayors traditionally pale in longevity to people like the Daleys because of their motivations. Anyone can read a poll from a nearby college and act accordingly with what the people want. In fact, that is what many speculate the Daley family is so good at doing; keeping the right people quiet. It takes a daring feat of political aspiration to act as foolishly as Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg.
Robert Wagner tried to run as a Senator from New York after serving for only two years as Mayor. Though he brought many popular policies to the city, he ultimately fizzled. Ed Koch (no, not the Tea Party Kochs) tried an unsuccessful run for governor in 1982, a year after being voted in on a second term. At the end of his third term, he ruffled many feathers by harshly critiquing the Presidential candidates. Ultimately, he left office with a 33% approval rate. As of late, rumor has it that Michael Bloomberg is seeking higher office. He might see his third term as the stage where he will look to tack “accolades” onto on his resume, rather than what will serve the people of New York best or retain his popularity. In the past few years, he has tried to mark himself as a ‘new progressive independent.’ In an attempt to be on the vanguard, he tried to take a page from European playbooks, like his proposed idea for an insipid toll to drive downtown, tried to legislate morality through sodium consumption, and vocalized his unpopular stance on the KSM trial. If the mayor wants to visit the Oval Office, he shouldn’t rely on New Yorkers for his support, Marist polls show that 70% of the city doesn’t believe he should try for higher office. He has already stepped on too many toes.
All of these moves are in stark contrast to the Daley political machine in Chicago, which achieved re-election by never aspiring for positions aside from mayor. For instance, Boss Daley famously resisted aiding desegregation efforts put forth by Martin Luther King Jr in 1966. He pandered to his constituents, despite the unpopular ramifications on the civil rights movement outside of Chicago. Similarly, his son has experienced controversy outside of Chicago for measures like the Hired Truck Program and leasing of infrastructure. Though it is through nefarious measures, they hold the interests of their constituents first. They may be ruthless, but at least the Daleys always have their eyes on Chicago.
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