I predict nothing but rejection and humiliation for this candidacy.
Granted, the last time I made that prediction about a longshot candidate from New York, the guy went on to become president. Feelin’ pretty confident this time, though.
“If Bill de Blasio is the answer, what’s the question?” Soon Democratic voters everywhere will be asking themselves that, not just in NYC.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will declare his bid for the presidency on Thursday, a campaign spokesperson said on Wednesday, joining the almost two dozen other candidates already competing for the Democratic nomination…
The mayor plans to highlight his record of liberal accomplishments in the nation’s largest city, including enacting universal pre-kindergarten, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and overseeing a drop in crime to an all-time low…
With an estimated 8.6 million residents, New York City has a bigger population than 38 states, including Washington, Colorado and Montana, whose governors or former governors are also running for president.
I said my piece about his presidential chances two weeks ago, when rumors began flying that he was close to declaring for president and the entire commentariat replied with a collective “Nah, c’mon.” I can’t see how he benefits from doing it. He won’t win and he won’t improve his “brand.” I thought he’d reconsidered, in fact, but signs that he was moving ahead were there. Two days ago he held a big climate change rally in the public lobby of Trump Tower, which ended with de Blasio being drowned out by the building’s PA system and shouted down by pro-Trump protesters. That feels like a premonition of the national campaign to come: Enthusiastic candidate, ostentatiously woke agenda, relentless embarrassment on the trail.
The most striking thing about him running is how universal the opposition to it is. I don’t just mean skepticism; there’s skepticism about all sorts of dark-horse Democratic candidates, from backbench senators like Michael Bennet to little-known governors like Steve Bullock to true “who?” entrants like Andrew Yang. I’m talking about outright hostility to de Blasio mounting a campaign on top of the skepticism that he’ll be anything more than an asterisk candidate. “A Quinnipiac poll last month found 76 percent of New Yorkers opposed de Blasio’s possible presidential bid,” notes Gothamist in a piece about his forthcoming announcement. (Their story has the most comprehensive list I’ve seen of de Blasio’s progressive “achievements” while mayor, if you’re curious to know what he’ll run on.) People involved in NYC politics openly mocked the idea when Politico quizzed them about a de Blasio candidacy back in March:
The idea of a de Blasio candidacy is “f—ing insane,” said one former aide, laughing out loud.
Another self-described friend of the mayor called the idea “idiotic.”…
“The empirical measurements of the city are good, but he can’t get off the ground because nobody likes the guy,” one former City Hall aide said. “He is stubborn about doing things that he feels entitled to do, but don’t do him any favors politically and don’t make a lot of sense.”
Another Quinnipiac poll taken in January asked New Yorkers who’d make the best president of five well-known local politicians: de Blasio, Andrew Cuomo, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Bloomberg, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Blas finished dead last at five percent, two points behind AOC. She’d been a congresswoman for three weeks when the poll was taken. He’d been mayor for five years.
As several reports today note, his timing in running is weird too. The only chance he has of breaking out of the asterisk zone is making a splash at the debates, but there are “only” 20 slots available and more than 20 candidates running. To qualify you need to score one percent in three major polls *or* receive donations from 65,000 different contributors with at least 200 different contributors from 20 different states. Given the number of people jockeying for a spot onstage, the DNC may be forced to change that “or” to “and” in order to whittle the field. The first debate is just weeks away, on June 26-27 — which is to say, de Blasio has left himself around a month and a half to somehow meet both qualifying thresholds. If he fails and is excluded from the debate, he’ll be ghettoized as a bottom-tier candidate and a laughingstock. If he was going to run, why didn’t he do it much sooner?
I wonder if Biden’s entry into the race and Bernie Sanders’s subsequent downturn in the polls convinced him to take the plunge. He’s aiming for the same group of progressive voters that Bernie is. If Sanders’s numbers were climbing and his grip on his base seemed unshakeable, maybe Blas would have passed on the race. As it is, with Bernie slipping, de Blasio might have persuaded himself that Bernie’s base is up for grabs — which, of course, it isn’t as far as he’s concerned. Most Bernie supporters will be dead-enders, sticking with him until he’s out, but the “soft” Sanders supporters are obviously headed towards Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg if Bernie starts to look like he has no chance.
There’s probably a Buttigieg factor here too:
Why is he doing it? Because of this man. De Blasio can’t handle that the Mayor of South Bend gets to run and get a lot of attention. Why shouldn’t he, the Mayor of New York, get the same chance?
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 15, 2019
De Blasio and his inner circle probably spun each other up with a narrative that between Bernie’s slide, Mayor Pete plateauing in the polls, and the fact that de Blasio runs a city 85 times bigger than Buttigieg’s, all it would take is some luck and a breakout debate performance to vacuum up a bunch of progressive votes. What happens when there’s no luck and he doesn’t make the debates? Or he does make the debates and Democratic voters decide they like Buttigieg much better?
Read Kyle Smith’s enjoyably contemptuous assessment of the de Blasio record in New York as an intro to the spectacle to come. Exit question: Who’s in charge of running the country’s biggest city while the mayor’s away chasing his fantasy? Per the NY Daily News, it depends. If he’s away short-term, the deputy mayor takes over. If he’s away for more than nine days, the city’s Public Advocate steps in. New York could have three different people running it in the span of less than two weeks thanks to Blas’s disinterest in his job.