What is not talked about much, however, is who will be the next police commissioner. It is becoming more evident that the mayoral race will be decided in a Democratic primary, and not really a general election. There is a stable of Democrats running for mayor, which the party has not held since 1993. There could be a dark horse Republican similar to when Bloomberg ran as in 2001, but there is little on the horizon right now...and it is getting very late.
Since 1993, crime has dropped exponentially, and the city has rebounded from its state of malaise. Even in the last few years of ugly economic fogginess, the city is strong compared to other American cities. Now, however, all of this will be handed over to a new regime.
Perhaps the bigger question is who will be the next police commissioner. Why is this so important right now? It’s important because William Bratton changed things when he arrived as commissioner in 1993. He was on the cover of national magazines for innovative policing. Howard Safir and Ray Kelly have kept the good results coming with, of course, much thanks to the men and women in blue. In 2014, we get a new administration, and in all likelihood, a new commissioner.
Who would be on a short list to head New York City’s police force? Perhaps Bratton could be drawn back. After all, he entertained the idea of running for mayor at one point. There are also high-level members currently serving in the NYPD that could be potential candidates.
The new mayor could opt to go outside the city and lure someone like Edward Davis, Boston’s current police commissioner, or a tough judge like Krista Marx of Palm Beach County, Florida. If any city can draw people here for the top cop job, it is New York. It's a big job, second perhaps only to the real big one.
Looking Ahead to the Next Race
The year 2016 is going to be a very interesting. Unlike this November, with the possibility of the presidency being an open seat in 2016, there could actually be two definitive candidates in both major parties far in advance.
Two governors, a Democrat and a Republican, are working hard to revive their states through reform. They both come with good political backgrounds. They are not seen as extremists on either side, yet they still speak to the authenticity of their respective parties. The country may well benefit from a race that has as its potential nominees Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Although this is pure speculation, let's look at the work done on both sides. Cuomo has addressed teacher evaluations, pension reform, and redistricting. These are political sacred cows in New York for his party. If he can maintain his level of seriousness about reforming the state, he will be at the top of the heap, ahead of people like Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both from Virginia).
In Louisiana, Jindal is doing what all governors should be doing, looking for new ways to make getting back to work easier. If Jindal gets his way, veterans who wish to attend college in the Louisiana state system will be afforded in-state tuition rates, making it easier for them to get a college education and stretching the GI Bill even further.
Jindal also wants to develop a standard where any professional licenses acquired in the military or in another state will be honored in Louisiana. This makes coming home easier for soldiers, and Jindal should get no push-back from the state legislature. Here is hoping that other governors catch on to this idea.
Of course, this depends on who wins this November. If the winner is Mitt Romney or another Republican, there will be no Bobby Jindal in 2016. And if Cuomo does not get re-elected as governor, there will be no Cuomo in 2016. Barring those two circumstances, however, these two governors can face off in four years, which is not far off in what historian Stephen Skowronek likes to refer to as “political time.” This would be a race the country would like very much, featuring two respected governors.
Have they decided to run nationally already? No, but we get things right a great deal of the time.