A Phoenix in the Ashes: The Rise and Fall of the Koch Coalition in New York City Politics

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Princeton University Press, 1992 - Social Science - 285 pages
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In the years following its near-bankruptcy in 1976 until the end of the 1980s, New York City came to epitomize the debt-driven, deal-oriented, economic boom of the Reagan era. Exploring the interplay between social structural change and political power during this period, John Mollenkopf asks why a city with a large minority population and a long tradition of liberalism elected a conservative mayor who promoted real estate development and belittled minority activists. Through a careful analysis of voting patterns, political strategies of various interest groups, and policy trends, he explains how Mayor Edward Koch created a powerful political coalition and why it ultimately failed. Koch abandoned his original electoral base in order to appeal to white ethnics apprehensive about losing their dominant position and to capitalize on tensions between black and Latino populations. He also forged alliances with the regular Democratic organizations and the real estate development industry. In examining how this Democratic mayor managed the differences of interest between his electoral base and his allies in government, Mollenkopf reveals much about the creation and exercise of power in the post-industrial city and about the future of urban liberalism.

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About the author (1992)

John Hull Mollenkopf is Professor of Political Science at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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