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 BlasioCuomo calls on NYPD to 'step up' in enforcing coronavirus regulations at bars Feehery: Weak mayors destroy America's great cities Dozens of state, local health leaders fired or resigned amid pandemic: report 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 BloombergEverytown on the NRA lawsuit: 'Come November, we're going to make sure they're out of power, too' Hillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying election, faces swift bipartisan pushback | Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google release earnings reports | Senators ask Justice Department to investigate TikTok, Zoom Meme group joins with Lincoln Project in new campaign against Trump 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.


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 SandersBiden wins Connecticut in final presidential primary of year Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary Three pros and three cons to Biden picking Harris MORE.

While Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate Ghislaine Maxwell attorneys ask for delay to unseal court documents due to 'critical new information' Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump 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 ClintonNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states California Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate 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 WarrenKamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along On The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high Hillicon Valley: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook's Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick 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 GiulianiFeehery: Weak mayors destroy America's great cities Coronavirus concerns emerge around debates Giuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group 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 ButtigiegPete ButtigiegCalifornia Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention CNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' 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 TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district 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.


The fight for the Democratic nomination is beginning to take shape. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE and Sanders are the frontrunners in the first tier. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along 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.)