I’d foolishly thought that this was a subject that was dead and buried, but apparently not. For a long time, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been making all of the moves that one expects of a person contemplating a run for the presidency. He’s set up a PAC geared toward national issues, sent money to candidates and the Democratic Party in early voting states, and given some speeches that are distinctly more national in nature than specific to the challenges his city faces. But back before Christmas, it sounded as if he’d given up on the idea, saying he had “no plans” to launch such an effort.
This week brought news that seems to throw that decision into reverse. Hizzoner has been courting some possible staff members with national campaign experience and he’s heading to New Hampshire to talk to the people you’re supposed to consult prior to making a POTUS run. (Politico)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is making moves toward a possible run for president, soliciting City Hall staffers with national political experience and preparing to travel to the early primary state of New Hampshire this week, several sources familiar with his plans told POLITICO.
After a visit to Harvard’s Kennedy School to discuss his time as mayor this Thursday, de Blasio will travel the next morning to Nashua, N.H. There he will meet with Mayor Jim Donchess and may chat with locals at a diner, City Hall Communications Director Mike Casca confirmed.
On Friday evening, de Blasio will drive to Concord, where he will meet with local organizers of the group Rights & Democracy, New Hampshire, which describes itself as part of a “movement across the region to counter the influence of money in politics.”
It certainly sounds like de Blasio is being drawn to the race like a moth to a flame. But while the desire is no doubt genuine, his expectations seem less than realistic. In January, the New York Times ran an opinion piece stating that the Mayor might indeed be pondering a presidential bid, but nobody in the Democratic Party cares. There’s no significant portion of the base crying out for Bill de Blasio to come to their rescue. In the previous polling of potential 2020 Democratic candidates where his name was included, he never rose above the margin of error.
It’s not a question of liberal bona fides holding de Blasio back. He’s had as many wacky progressive ideas as anyone else in the field and he’s certainly Anti-Trump with a capital A. Unfortunately for him, he’s got that whole straight, white male thing going on. (Though he does get extra progressive credit for having an interracial family.)
Beyond that, all of the scandals following him around would make the Mayor a nightmare candidate for his party. Keep in mind that there’s a former donor of his who is currently sitting in jail after having confessed to bribing de Blasio. (He was somehow never indicted for accepting the bribe.) Other trials of people caught up in campaign finance chicanery are still playing out to this day.
If de Blasio decides to run he’s going to have a wide target on his back and plenty of juicy oppo research for any primary or general election opponents to pick from. So with that in mind, I say… Run, Bill, Run!