De Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con'

De Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con'
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Start spreading the news. Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDemocratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate MORE, the mayor of New York City has jumped into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. De Blasio believes if he can make it there, he can make it anywhere. 

The mayor was born in 1961. Like his predecessor, Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump pushes Mexico for 'significantly more' as tariffs loom The Hill's Morning Report — Trump pushes Mexico for 'significantly more' as tariffs loom Bloomberg pledges 0 million to close coal-fired power plants MORE, de Blasio grew up in Massachusetts. Both men have been very successful in city politics even though they are avid Boston Red Sox fans.

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De Blasio got his start in New York City politics when he successfully ran for district school board in Brooklyn in 1999. He served on the city council from 2002 to 2009 when he was elected “public advocate,” which is the No. 2 job in the city. He was elected mayor in 2013 and was re-elected in 2017.

Tale of two cities

De Blasio has a long association with the Clinton family but his approach to policy is pure Bernie SandersBernie SandersKamala Harris rallies with McDonald's workers striking for higher wages Kamala Harris rallies with McDonald's workers striking for higher wages Playing fast and loose with the economic facts MORE.

While Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFormer Senate Dem leader: 'No way' impeachment trial for Trump would lead to conviction Former Senate Dem leader: 'No way' impeachment trial for Trump would lead to conviction Pelosi: House Democrats 'not even close' to backing impeachment MORE was president, de Blasio served as a regional director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2000, he managed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYoung Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Young Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Trump highlights polls that showed Clinton beating him by double digits MORE’s successful U.S. Senate campaign. Hillary Clinton swore the mayor into office in 2013.

The mayor endorsed Secretary Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2016 but he has governed like a Sanders progressive. The theme of his mayoral campaign was the tale of two cities. There was the city of wealthy New Yorkers who live on Park Avenue and another city like the South Bronx which is full of people struggling to stay afloat. As mayor, he has done a full Bernie and successfully pushed for a $15 an hour minimum wage, paid sick leave and universal pre- school education.

The mayor’s record in the area of criminal justice is a mixed bag. The crime rate has dropped significantly during de Blasio’s term, but the police force is openly hostile towards him. NYPD officers fault the mayor for his failure to raise their pay and for ending the city’s controversial stop and frisk policy. They feel he’s more sympathetic to people who are accused of crimes than he is to the officers who enforce the law. Recently, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said “as commander in chief, he would be an unmitigated disaster.”

There also have been scandals in city government and the mass transit system is in dire straits.

His record as mayor could be attractive to liberal Democratic primary voters but there are already two strong progressives, Sanders who was born in New York City and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFive takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Five takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Black Economic Alliance official says African-American voters will 'determine who sits in the White House' MORE of Massachusetts in the race. De Blasio is running for president because he feels that he deserves credit for implementing the programs that Sanders and Warren can only talk about.

Presidential politics has not been kind to big city mayors. Two Big Apple mayors, John Lindsey and Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiPelosi hasn't returned calls to Facebook's Zuckerberg after edited video controversy: report Pelosi hasn't returned calls to Facebook's Zuckerberg after edited video controversy: report Giuliani evokes Joseph McCarthy in criticism of Pelosi MORE ran for president and lost. Two big city Democrats, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans considered 2020 bids but chose not to run. But a small city mayor, Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Five takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement MORE of South Bend, Indi. has had a big impact on the Democratic race. 

De Blasio’s announcement video makes two things clear.  

He believes it takes another tough New Yorker to take on a bully like President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE who he calls “Don the con.” The mayor may be right but after years of Trump bluster, Americans may want to do a 180 and nominate a candidate who has less sharp edges than de Blasio and Trump.

The mayor also thinks that income inequality is a big national problem. Since 1969, most economic gains have gone to the upper income 1 percent. Census Bureau data indicates that the one percenters share of the national income has doubled since 1969, while the incomes of everybody else has been stagnant. 

Hope springs eternal

De Blasio has been considering a run for president for months, but he just announced his candidacy. The delay will make it difficult for him to qualify for the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami on June 26. Polls indicate that most New York City residents don’t think that he should run and even many of his supporters feel his campaign is a fool’s errand.

The mayor is now one of two dozen Democrats running for president and he starts out at the bottom with most of the other candidates.

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The fight for the Democratic nomination is beginning to take shape. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden22 presidential candidates to attend Clyburn's South Carolina fish fry 22 presidential candidates to attend Clyburn's South Carolina fish fry Young Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive MORE and Sanders are the frontrunners in the first tier. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris rallies with McDonald's workers striking for higher wages Kamala Harris rallies with McDonald's workers striking for higher wages 22 presidential candidates to attend Clyburn's South Carolina fish fry MORE of California, Warren and Buttigieg have made some progress but trail Biden and Sanders. Everybody else, including de Blasio are in the third and last tier.

However, the race is fluid and a stiff breeze could disturb the pecking order. De Blasio decided to run because he has overcome tough odds before. In his first race for mayor, he came out of the dust to beat an established candidate. Still hope springs eternal in the hearts of de Blasio and many of the other Democratic presidential candidates.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Dateline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.

This is the 16th piece in a series of profiles by Bannon on 2020 Democratic hopefuls. Read his analysis on Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)Mayor Pete ButtigiegSen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourkeformer Govs. Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper, former Vice President Joe BidenSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former HUD Secretary Julian CastroSen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)