A Q&A with Fordham University professor Christina Greer
Dr. Christina Greer, associate professor of political science at Fordham University, believes that President Donald Trump's has encouraged a toxic political environment by embracing racialized rhetoric in his campaign and during his presidency, from “the birther movement” that questioned where President Barack Obama was born to last month’s rally on Long Island condemning the MS-13 gang. She joined the Slant podcast to discuss the “boy king” and the Republicans who have enabled him to this point.
She also addressed the New York City mayoral race and whether Mayor Bill de Blasio has fulfilled the progressive ideals of his pivotal 2013 campaign, the feud between de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and offered her secret solution to getting the two men to reconcile. This interview has been edited for brevity, you can list to the conversation in full here.
C&S: GOP New York City mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis was criticized for not immediately condemning President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. What does this say about her as a candidate?
CG: Party labels matter. She chose to run as a Republican. If you are choosing to run as a Republican, you must actually account for what the leader of your party says and does, and have a statement. As a child of immigrants, you have nothing to say? And then you want to represent one of the most diverse cities in the country? Are you kidding? Why are we even wasting our time with you? If you’re going to be mealy-mouthed, that lets me know that you have no leadership capability or qualities that I’m interested in in any capacity.
C&S: Why do Republicans in New York City struggle to appeal to voters?
CG: They keep going back to the greatest hits! (Rudy) Giuliani, when he ran, he ran on race, racism, and “the city’s out of control.” The playbook is still “let’s go back to when we won.” Bloomberg’s different, because he basically was a Democrat and we were also post-9/11 – he was a businessman, it made sense. But Giuliani’s greatest hits are this race-baiting. Giuliani is to Dinkins what Trump was to Obama. This shadow of just constant undermining, telling false truths, trying to whirl up this kind of racialized sentiment among voters, essentially saying this man’s incompetent and he’s an imposter. Giuliani did it to Dinkins, Trump did it to Obama, and it worked to a certain extent for both of them. You see the 21st century playbook for New York City Republicans. Look at Malliotakis, all she does is talk about “crime is up, it’s the most dangerous the city’s ever been.” Really? Crime is actually at record lows. We haven’t seen these numbers in decades, literally. So I think it’s part of this racialized dog-whistling.
C&S: What do you think of racialized comments on Facebook by Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund manager who has supported charter schools and donated to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, regarding state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins?
CG: With Andrea Stewart-Cousins, I think it represents so much more to me as a black woman, when you see someone in a position of leadership and then all of the sudden the rules change. When you have a black woman, who’s in Albany, who actually as a Democrat could make change, (instead) you see the IDC really supported and now the Democrats don’t actually have the majority – which is absolutely absurd. And this was sort of ushered in with the assistance of Andrew Cuomo. Then we have someone like Daniel Loeb, who feels very free in speaking his mind about Sen. Stewart-Cousins. So I think this is a larger pattern if you look at women who are elected officials, people of color who are elected officials, but then also women of color who are elected officials.