Ranking: Who is truly the most ‘New York’ of the New york candidates?

Who's the most New Yawk?
Who’s the most New Yawk? Photo illustration by Sam Corbin.

For those less informed than the Trump Kidz, the New York presidential primary is on Tuesday. Sure, we always see ourselves as the center of the universe, but both races are still surprisingly close and this time around there are three candidates trying to cash in on a supposed New York hometown advantage. So while Ted Cruz is busy matzo-ing his way out of that “New York values” comment and Kasich does whatever Kasich does, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are honing their liquid r’s and watching this video on repeat.

Just how legitimate is each candidate’s respective New York-ness? Brokelyn’s basement politifact department is here with a breakdown of just how Sanders, Clinton and Drumpf Trump’s histories stack up in authenticity. Or, at least, in as much authenticity as one can glean from sporadic SNL appearances, conjecture and perceived ability to ride the subway.


Some people have said the Trump towers are small. It's not a problem. via flickr (Clare_and_ben)
Some people have said the Trump towers are small. But we can assure you, it’s not a problem.  Clare_and_Ben / Flickr

Actual time logged in New York

Clinton: 17 years — Hillary wasn’t actually born in New York. But then again, neither were you (maybe). She moved to New York in 1999 to run for senate and has “lived” an hour north of the city in Chappaqua ever since (insofar as anyone “lives” at home during two presidential campaigns and four years as Secretary of State).

Sanders: 23 years — Bernie was born and raised in Midwood, where he presumably played stickball and generally existed in sepia-tone. He went to college in Chicago but came back afterwards for grad school. And, we assume, in order to get his hair to stay that way.

Trump: 67 years —All in all, Trump’s logged almost his entire life in New York, which probably accounts for that look on his face. He was born in Queens and only really left the city for a couple years for business school in Philly. These days, he splits his time between Trump Tower in Midtown and Florida — which, if Seinfeld has taught me anything, still technically counts as New York.

Winner: Trump


Do they know how to play the slots? Phil Hilfiker / Flickr
Huh, funny. We figured they’d know how to play the slots. Phil Hilfiker / Flickr

Knowledge of the subway

Sanders: out of touch, like my dad — Recently, The Daily News ridiculed Bernie for saying that to take the subway “you get a token and you get in,” but to be fair, my dad probably also thinks that. I mean, subway tokens were a thing once. Bernie probably also thinks Times Square is still full of porno theaters and that a Second Avenue subway is actually going to happen. He really turned it around with guess number two, “you jump over the turnstile,” which is the correct answer to a trick question.

Clinton: more of a tourist — We’ve all seen her fumbling with a Metrocard by now. For sure she doesn’t take the subway much. But then again, who among us hasn’t had to explain to the person in the booth that we’re getting the “just used” error because we’re too hungover for motor skills? She’s taking it in stride, at least.

Trump: nope — Come on, Trump’s been in New York long enough to know that not taking the subway is the real sign of success. Plus, there’s no way that his hair could take the gust of wind from a passing express train.

Winner: Clinton


rainbow nyc new york city dr zizmor thank you dr zizmor

Closest “New Yorker” archetypes

Sanders: the broke dreamer — Bernie got a chokehold on the millennial vote for a reason: he spent the first half of his 20s in Brooklyn, then moved to Vermont because he was “captivated by rural life,” which is exactly what your friend said to you before he started that kale farm upstate. During his time on the range, Sanders did the kinds of odd jobs a head-in-the-clouds millennial would, working as a freelance writer and a carpenter (apparently a shitty carpenter at that). His friends at the time said he was “always poor,” “virtually unemployed” and “just one step above hand-to-mouth.” Does any of that sound familiar? It should, because that’s what people are going to say about you when you run for public office.

Clinton: the one who makes you look bad — Clinton grew up in Chicago, studied PoliSci at Wellesley, moved around a bunch and then ended up in New York when she was ready to go big-time with her political ambitions and run for senate. She’s like your intense, driven, ambitious friend who comes to New York with a laundry list of goals and then actually follows through with them and judges you for sleeping in on a Tuesday. She moved up north while the other Clinton was still president, making her the first First Lady ever to not live in the White House while her husband was in office. Badass.

Trump: the Facebook frenemy — We all know plenty of Trump-types — the trust-fund kid, the guy who didn’t understand that The Wolf of Wall Street was satire, the guy you hated in high school who now does loads of cocaine in the bathroom of some gross FiDi bar, this guy. Trump is your Facebook friend that you keep just to get mad about their posts about Donald Trump.

Winner: Sanders


Word's out on whether they actually walked in power lines like this back then. via Youtube
Word’s out on whether they actually walked in power lines like this back then. via Youtube

Amount of New York street cred

Sanders: Hey Arnold! — As a kid, Bernie’s elementary school team won the Brooklyn borough basketball championship, which a) is as classic Brooklyn as it gets, b) will be an excellent scene in his inevitable biopic, and c) would be an adorable moment to watch for any sentimental time-travelers out there.

Clinton: aspiring hipster — Hillary is the only candidate that we can say, without a doubt, has set foot in Bushwick. Hill and Bill had dinner at Roberta’s back in 2012. No word on whether they bought any $10 pantsuits at the vintage van across the street.

Trump: slumlord — Literally owns significant portions of New York’s streets. Plus, Trump is easily the candidate with the most signed headshots in random pizzerias. But he still eats his pizza with a fork.

Winner: Sanders


Rat bastard! via @broadcity on Twitter
Rat bastard! via @broadcity on Twitter

How would they handle a rat in their apartment?

Sanders: feel the squirm — Discuss real change with the rat, form a community of support for the rat, sing the rat inspiring union anthems, and eventually turn the rat into an adorable symbol of hope.

Clinton: aspiring crust punk — Adopt the rat as a pet to win the 18-25 vote.

Trump: those crumbs aren’t free — Evict the rat. Fire the rat. Demand the rat’s birth certificate.

Winner: Tie — they all have rat infestations, that’s disgusting.

Final Results

All told, Bernie, Hillary and Trump could probably each pass as a real New Yorker long enough to alienate anyone who doesn’t live here. Trump has logged enough time here to make up for the whole GOP, Bernie’s childhood sounds like an episode of Hey Arnold! and Hillary’s the only one who knows what Bushwick is. You’ll have to decide for yourself what to do with these facts, but one thing’s clear: They’re all better at New York than Ted Cruz, even if his grandma still presides over our local comedy scene. Just remember to vote your New York values tomorrow.

Follow Sam on Twitter for more crack brackets: @SamHWeiss

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