New York City: the 51st State, Norman Mailer–Jimmy Breslin

Norman Mailer, at the microphone, campaigning for mayor in the garment district with Jimmy Breslin in June 1969.

New York City: the 51st State was the platform of the Norman MailerJimmy Breslin candidacy in the 1969 New York City Democratic Mayoral Primary election. Mailer, a novelist, journalist, and filmmaker, and Breslin, an author and at the time a New York City newspaper columnist, proposed that the five New York City boroughs should secede from New York State, and become the 51st state of the U.S. Mailer topped the ticket as candidate for Mayor; his running mate, Breslin, sought the office of City Council President. Their platform featured placing city governmental control in the hands of the neighborhoods, and offered unique and creative – if impractical and even logistically impossible – solutions to air pollution, traffic congestion, school overcrowding, and crime. After a strong grassroots campaign, the ticket entered the primary on June 17, 1969 as decided underdogs. They finished second to last, garnering a citywide total of 41,288 votes, 5% of the total votes cast. In the 1960s, New York City suffered from economic problems and rising crime rates, which continued a steep uphill climb through the decade. The old manufacturing jobs that supported generations of uneducated immigrants were disappearing by deindustrialization, millions of middle class residents were fleeing to the suburbs, and public sector workers had won the right to unionize. Many of the candidates in the 1969 Democratic mayoralty primary race – three-time mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr., long-time party worker and City Comptroller Mario Procaccino, Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo, and Congressman James H. Scheuer – were familiar, uninspiring mainstream politicians who offered few new or novel ideas on how to solve the city’s problems. Mailer’s vociferous candidacy (‘New York Gets an Imagination – or It Dies!’) convinced opinionated Queens newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin to abandon his own mayoral quest and join the higher profile Mailer as his City Council President running mate. …”
Norman Mailer And Jimmy Breslin Ran To Win In 1969; They Didn’t
NY Times – Podcast: Remembering Mailer for Mayor
YouTube: 1969 Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin Campaign for Mayor

Mailer–Breslin campaign buttons, 1969

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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