With a firm command over America’s largest city and having encountered no controversies or challenges to his authority over the course of his 16 months in Gracie Mansion, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking on the 2016 presidential race.
The mayor of the Big Apple courted national media attention when he made high profile speaking trips to Iowa. He did not bother to tamp down conjecture that he might be interested in challenging Hillary Clinton, his former boss when she ran for the U.S. Senate in New York in 2000, from the former secretary of state’s left. Only after weeks of conjecture about the mayor’s political ambitions did he confirm that he wouldn’t run for the White House.
But de Blasio did indicate he intends to serve as an advocate for progressivism. The mayor’s allies hinted at the fact that the progressive icon would soon release the details of an agenda that he hoped would guide the Democratic Party, and it’s likely 2016 nominee, ahead of the coming presidential election. On Friday, the details of that agenda leaked out, and Republicans couldn’t have asked for a better gift.
“Everyone from Susan Sarandon to Van Jones is helping draft and push de Blasio’s new “Contract with America,” which will push for paid sick leave and free, universal pre-K,” read a subhead in The Daily Beast’s preview of de Blasio’s progressive agenda.
That’s right. The future of liberalism according to de Blasio and his far-left allies is exactly what you would expect; no free trade, a comprehensive immigration reform plan with a pathway to citizenship for illegal residents, free child care and afterschool programs, national paid sick leave, and a $15 per hour minimum wage. These proposals were too unworkable even for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who rejected many of them outright.
Just read the list of names that are prepared to support this initiative. It is a veritable who’s who in fringe left-wing thought.
De Blasio is expected to be joined in Washington by a more than 60 members of Congress, progressive activists and labor leaders, among them Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, Congressmen Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva and the actor Susan Sarandon. Last month de Blasio convened a number of progressive thinkers at Gracie Mansion, including Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel and civil rights activist Van Jones in order to hash out ideas about how to build a progressive agenda in 2016. De Blasio has pointedly declined to endorse Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, even though he was the campaign manager of her 2000 Senate run in New York and even though both Bill and Hillary Clinton were on stage with de Blasio at his inauguration.
Aides to de Blasio dismiss the suggestion that this effort is designed to lift de Blasio’s profile, and say instead that it is intended to get a more progressive government into Washington D.C.—one that will be more attentive to New York City’s needs. The contract is modeled on Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, which helped Republicans retake the House in 1994.
You can already sense the press has not seen this document for what it is: Extremely controversial and deeply injurious to Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions. Because so many in the coastal elite media are predisposed to agree with these policy prescriptions, they might not see how much it might handicap her presidential bid. So, let’s offer the press an analogy to help them understand the predicament de Blasio is putting the prohibitive nominee. Imagine if Mark Levin or Rush Limbaugh, two popular figures on the right who might nevertheless alienate pure independents and persuadable Democrats, crafted the GOP’s agenda. Now imagine that these two entertainers sought to dissuade GOP base voters from supporting those Republican officeholders who deviated from that agenda. Surely, the press would see such an initiative for the counterproductive exercise it was.
Or perhaps the press does recognize the threat this left-wing insurgency poses to Clinton, which is perhaps why you haven’t seen this development gracing the front pages of your local newspaper.