This is how Adam Bello lost the election.
For executive of Monroe County. How he went from likable, surging challenger to ho-hum also ran in an overlooked race.
He did it when he stopped being Adam Bello.
He did it when he abandoned the apolitical nice-guy persona and became one more progressive reading down the list of Democrat greatest hits.
He became a gun banner, and deeply concerned about global warming, and no doubt soon we’ll hear his stand against genetically modified organisms, or a pronouncement of his preferred pronouns.
Which is politically calculated to get him all the votes he was going to get anyway, and to lose him all the votes he needed to win.
Adam Bello arose in the shadow and under the patronage of Joe Morelle, who was chief water carrier during 30 years of the most amoral and corrupt leadership of the New York State Assembly. Morelle has since ascended to the House of Representatives, where his voting record is significantly to the left of both Speaker Pelosi and Socialist firebrand AOC.
Pelosi votes with Trump 18.3 percent of the time, AOC 16.3 percent, and Morelle 8.7 percent.
That means Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is almost twice as likely as Joe Morelle to vote with Donald Trump, and Nancy Pelosi is well more than twice as likely.
Put another way, Adam Bello’s clone daddy is more than twice as liberal as Speaker Pelosi.
And it shows in Adam Bello’s campaign.
His very first appearance after formally announcing his bid for county executive was with a Michael Bloomberg-funded anti-gun group.
Which is pretty hypocritical for a guy who, as the sitting county clerk, actually could slow civilian access to handguns, but has not. Instead, he and the angry t-shirted moms condemned the sitting county executive, who has no authority over guns whatsoever.
But that’s the new Adam Bello. The one who is going to lose. To understand this election, we need to meet the old Adam Bello, the one who could have won.
After doing patronage time as an office manager or something in the district attorney’s office, Daddy Joe tapped Adam Bello to run for Irondequoit town supervisor. Adam was 12 at the time, or something close. It was a power play by Morelle, wanting to exert and make permanent his control of his geographic base.
And Adam Bello won.
Which turned out to be a good thing. Because Adam Bello turned out to be a very good town supervisor. It was less political hatchet man and more good-hearted guy who just got things done. Seriously. It was refreshing. It was encouraging. It might have been inspiring.
Here was a smiley guy who didn’t screw people over, who went out of his way to make everyone feel welcome and respected, and who actually led the town in an efficient, intelligent and courteous fashion.
He became the county’s star town supervisor.
He even smiled pretty for the cameras.
And folks began to whisper about his inevitable candidacy for county executive, and that he just might have a chance to take the county Democratic after a generation of Republican control.
Then something happened.
After becoming county clerk, and with Papa Joe’s jockeying to go to Washington, Smiley Adam went low profile. There was just a lot less of him around.
On the eve of his inevitable executive candidacy, he disappeared.
Which would not traditionally be seen as a smart move.
And over the months since, it has been a quiet, plodding, stealth candidacy built around a steady recitation of progressive agenda items that have nothing really to do with the immediate and direct issues facing Monroe County. It’s like somebody far away, in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, typed up a one-size-fits-all campaign agenda for Bernie Sanders acolytes. It was central casting for suburban white Democrats.
Who were going to vote for Adam Bello anyway.
See, Monroe County has a significant Democratic enrollment advantage, but not really. A big chunk of the county’s Democrats are in the city of Rochester, where they come out to vote when Barack Obama is on the ballot. Turns out he’s not running this time, and it turns out that turn out is not likely to be high. So it’s a much closer race that basically pits suburban Democrats against suburban Republicans, and a bunch of normal folks who just want the frigging snow plowed in a timely fashion.
In that pairing, the centrist incumbent – who happens to be female – has the wind at her back.
To change that, Adam Bello needed to make a convincing argument not to his base, but to her base, and to the people concerned about the snow.
But he didn’t do that.
Instead, he alienated them by going all in on the currently popular brand of Democrat extremism.
Instead of staying apolitical, he became hyper political.
He became a cookie-cutter Democrat, and he stopped being Adam Bello.
And that’s how he lost.
He stopped being himself.