Diana West

Will New Yorkers elect a new mayor who dedicated himself to the Sandinistas in the 1980s, honeymooned in Cuba in the 1990s (in violation of a U.S. travel ban), and participated in a New York City Council event honoring Zimbabwe's tyrannous Robert Mugabe in 2002?

Right now, it looks that way. In 1988, Bill de Blasio went to Nicaragua to aid the Marxist, Soviet-supported Sandinistas. He came home, as The New York Times put it, with "a vision of the possibilities of unfettered leftist government." Today, 25 years later, New York City Public Advocate de Blasio, who remains "very proud" of his radical activities (he has since regretted his Mugabe "mistake"), is the front-runner in New York's mayoral race. Recent polls show the Democrat nominee with a whopping 40-point margin over Republican candidate Joe Lohta.

That could change if two things happen: 1) If New Yorkers actually figure out that they are about to elect the most Marxist mayor in Big Apple history; 2) If the concept appalls them. Both are Big Ifs.

Six weeks before Election Day, De Blasio's radicalism has emerged as a significant issue after The New York Times, of all papers, introduced the topic on Sept. 22 under the headline, "A Mayoral Hopeful Now, de Blasio Was Once a Young Leftist." Republican Lhota, a former investment banker, veteran of the Rudy Giuliani administration and, most recently, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, immediately targeted de Blasio's radical roots. Lhota says they explain what he calls de Blasio's "class warfare strategy in New York City."

In a statement, Lhota said: "Bill de Blasio needs to explain himself -- and explain himself now -- to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who escaped Marxist tyranny in Asia, Central America, and from behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe."

Lhota continued: "Mr. de Blasio's involvement with the Sandinistas didn't happen in 1917; it happened 70 years later when the cruelty and intrinsic failure of communism had become crystal clear to anyone with a modicum of reason. Mr. de Blasio's class warfare strategy in New York City is directly out of the Marxist playbook. Now we know why."

What was superb about the salvo was its unusual clarity. One thing the left hates and fears -- and by "left," I mean a spectrum of socialists, Marxists, communists, progressives, Alinskyites, liberal collectivists and "card-carrying ACLU members" -- is being defined. Explained. Exposed.

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).