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 BlasioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden expands lead in new national poll De Blasio brushes off low poll numbers: 'The vast majority of Democratic voters are going to make their decision late' NYPD fires officer in Eric Garner case 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 BloombergSunday shows - Trump's Epstein conspiracy theory retweet grabs spotlight Bloomberg: Next generation of Democrats needs to 'earn their spurs' Bloomberg: McConnell may allow gun reform vote to boost reelection chances 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 SandersSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE.

While Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBen Shapiro: No prominent GOP figure ever questioned Obama's legitimacy The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump tries to reassure voters on economy 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 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 ClintonThe Memo: Polls flash warning signs for Trump Polls suggest Sanders may be underestimated 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall 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 WarrenSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' 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 GiulianiTrump doubles down on Jewish controversy Trump retweets baby elephant video Epstein death sparks questions for federal government 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 ButtigiegTop adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' Biden, Sanders lead Trump in hypothetical match-ups: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes 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 Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president 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 BidenTop adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' 'Forever war' slogans short-circuit the scrutiny required of national security choices MORE and Sanders are the frontrunners in the first tier. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' 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.)