Campaign-time politics is slowly giving way to day-to-day governance in the wake of Donald Trump’s still-stunning presidential win.
But the wall between the two never rises very high.
Since much of Manhattan life comes down to street space, one of the top local angles of the transition becomes how to handle Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
After his hourlong meeting with the Republican business mogul, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke of a “balance we will strike” between access and security.
“Obviously, the traffic in midtown has to flow, and obviously the president-elect and his entire team have to be protected,” the mayor said. On Friday he updated this to say Fifth Avenue remains open with part of 56th Street closed.
All that’s on the government side of the divide.
But de Blasio’s endless march under the banner of progressivism is rarely eclipsed for long by the daily details of municipal management.
So in what he called a “candid” discussion with the president-elect, de Blasio cited his role as mayor of a city composed largely of immigrants.
“I tried to express to him how much fear there is . . . in communities all over this city,” he said, vowing to be “vigilant and swift to react any time an action is taken that will undermine the people of New York City.”
Whatever such an action may be. Trump’s election seems far from likely to hurt de Blasio’s drive for re-election next year as the mayor of a largely deep-blue city gets a federal lurch rightward to sound the battle cry against.
There are various theories of the transition’s impact. Could, say, a new round of Wall Street deregulation drive up financial-sector incomes and therefore city tax collections? Might a Republican-controlled national government give red states a fatter share?
One plus even for Trump detractors has been the prospect of big public infrastructure projects. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Nov. 9 that he and the president-elect already had “a very good conversation about building an infrastructure.”
“You know, Mr. Trump is very much a private-sector builder. I’ve built in the private sector also. So, he has a natural orientation toward the needs of this type of urban area. I think that’s a good thing,” Cuomo said with clear caution.
Democrat Cuomo accepted campaign contributions from Trump in the past. Although the governor a week earlier called Trump “un-New York” — at a moment when Hillary Clinton was about to carry his state — Cuomo and Trump were relatively noncombative on the airwaves before that.
An easy cynical joke making the rounds on election night, as returns showed Trump winning, was suggesting the governor would instantly form a “Cuomo 2020” committee for president.
That didn’t happen. A more sober question might be whether Cuomo might wish to challenge Trump in four years from private life or do so during a third term.
For now, governance season returns — with that never-ending whiff of electoral politics in the air.