And then there were 22: Bill de Blasio reportedly set to run for president

Actually, I believe this makes 23 if you count Mike Gravel.

This guy is polling at 24/49 in his home state and 36/48 in the city which he governs and which knows him best. Clearly the moment is ripe for national Blas-mentum.

Mayor de Blasio is expected to announce he’s running for president next week, according to three sources with knowledge of the plans.

The 2020 announcement could come as early as de Blasio’s birthday on Wednesday, when he’ll turn 58, said one source. The kickoff was initially expected this week but pushed back, according to another source.

De Blasio’s federal political action committee, Fairness PAC, recently polled Iowa voters. The PAC also bankrolled the mayor’s recent travel to key early voting primary states, including trips to Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina…

To get on the debate stage, candidates must either earn 1% or more support in three particular polls or hit certain thresholds for campaign donations. De Blasio said Friday he doesn’t believe he qualifies for the debates yet.

He held a roundtable on mental health recently in New Hampshire that drew 20 people. Fourteen of whom were on the panel.

Let me recycle a point from a post last weekend about Kirsten Gillibrand’s similarly pointless campaign:

It’s a truism among election junkies that there’s no downside in running for president. If you’re a serious contender, like Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, it’s your chance at the brass ring. If you’re an ideologue, like Andrew Yang or Tulsi Gabbard, it’s an unparalleled opportunity to get a national public hearing. If you’re a nobody, like Pete Buttigieg or Eric “Who?” Swalwell, it’s a brand-building exercise that can raise your name recognition in anticipation of your next real race for office. There’s no reason not to run.

…unless, I guess, you’re an already pretty prominent politician and you end up grossly underperforming, turning yourself into a laughingstock.

Which category does de Blasio fit in? He’s not a serious contender, lord knows. He is a progressive ideologue but there are a solid dozen of those in the field, including genuine wonks like Elizabeth Warren and socialist icons like Bernie Sanders. There’s no viewpoint that’ll be articulated by Blas that won’t be more effectively articulated by someone else *unless* he’s planning to roll out some sort of corporatist/progressive hybrid vision for which the left will instantly hate him. I’m not seeing his candidacy as a brand-building exercise either since nothing is going to happen on the trail that drastically alters the brand he’s already built for himself in NYC. If he’s planning a run for governor or senator down the road, he’ll be judged on his policies as mayor, not on his presidential stump blather. In fact, this is more likely to hurt his chances at statewide office than help them: A Quinnipiac poll last month found that 76 percent of New York City residents think he shouldn’t run for president. If he ends up as a mayor in absentia and some crisis strikes the city while he’s away, his already slim chances of higher local office may be finished.

So what does he stand to gain by running knowing that it’s conceivable, if not likely, that he’ll end up with zero percent? Imagine running for president and being known when it’s over as a weaker candidate than Kirsten Gillibrand.

The only interesting wrinkle I can think of to a de Blasio run would be the obvious question it presents for Pete Buttigieg and his fans. If Democrats are going to nominate a mayor, why wouldn’t they nominate the mayor of America’s biggest city rather than the mayor of the fourth-biggest city in Indiana? It’s not a partisan question either. Chris Hayes had the same thought:

The point isn’t that Buttigieg makes de Blasio seem more qualified, it’s that de Blasio’s entry into the race inadvertently highlights Buttigieg’s lack of qualification. Not that being mayor of South Bend was ever a serious qualification for the presidency, but it was at least a useful fig leaf when paired with the argument that Trump had never held office of any kind when he was elected. The sudden contrast presented by de Blasio means that the case for Buttigieg will now be forced to dispense with qualifications altogether and emphasize the candidate’s intangibles — which, let’s face it, was already 99 percent of the reason to support him. “He’s the smartest and the best educated and speaks 800 languages and it would be super-duper progressive to elect a man who’s married to a man.” Essentially, I think, having the mayor of New York competing with him turns Mayor Pete into just Pete.

In lieu of an exit question, enjoy this New York mag piece from last month listing the many, many people who’ve discouraged de Blasio from running for president.