To become mayor, he defeated a Republican who vowed to kill kittens to keep the trains running.
After complaining that New Yorkers didn’t appreciate his year one accomplishments, he killed a groundhog.
Then helped kill a deer.
Now, he’s coming for America.
I get it: If there’s one person who can unite this nation, it’s New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who likes to prattle on about his transcendent, historic vision and who (polls confirm) roughly nobody wants running for president after he’s flirted with the idea for months, but who The New York Daily News reported Friday will announce as soon as next week that he’s joining the absurdly crowded Democratic field—where he’d be the only one of 23 declared candidates with a negative favorability rating.
I was tempted to propose a New York to America: Take our mayor, please, joke, but 76 percent of New Yorkers say he shouldn’t run. Politico New York surveyed 30-odd members of Team de Blasio, and all but two said it was a bad idea, with one calling it “fucking insane.”
The crew that helped him become mayor has mostly stayed away, some of them still scarred from his horrifically humiliating and ineffectual attempts to play a role in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The chronically late mayor of New York eats pizza with a fork, and has the NYPD drive him from Gracie Mansion in Manhattan to Park Slope in Brooklyn so he can use the gym there. He leaves town an awful lot, and even when he’s here the pols looking to replace him in 2021 are already openly looking past him when they’re not bashing him.
And it’s not like New York mayors have a great track record of finding any higher office, let alone president, but I get why de Blasio is doing this. He has the stubborn, superstitious confidence in his approach and abilities common to politicians who’ve proven naysayers wrong before.
In seeing the progressive wave coming. And in getting elected mayor—albeit by winning a low turnout primary in a crowded field and with a big under-the-table assist from his cousin John Wilhelm and the unintended help of Carlos Danger—and then reelected.
“I was the underdog in everything I’ve ever been near, and I’m not saying that with any hubris,” he told the Daily News. “Any time I get in a race I get in it to win.”
The trouble is that, after his first year, he’s spent more time explaining how, despite copious evidence to the contrary, he is not a crook. And while the city hasn’t collapsed on his watch—which is really all a Democrat needs here at this point to win a second term—he’s had precious few accomplishments after year one other than maintaining the decline in crime he inherited and an economy that, if anything, has remained hotter than most New Yorkers would like, so the wages haven’t kept up with rent and the cost of living for most of us.
The lobbying business, at least, has boomed on his watch, swelling from $62.7 million in 2013 to $102.6 million in just five years of de Blasio, with his favorite firms doing particularly well. That’s happened amid scandal after scandal involving bribers and the mayor, who inevitably says that if he wasn’t criminally charged, that means he did nothing wrong, and also that he gave the bribers calling him directly the same treatment he would any other constituent.
And as we were reminded in de Blasio’s own little Mueller Report, finally made public the same week as the one about Trump and even more heavily redacted, he’s always depended on a pay-to-play operation and the feds already forced him to shut down his shady local fundraising operation.
Mostly, a term-limited mayor with no clear political future at home and who roots for the Red Sox anyways has little reason not to run for president and see what that gets him. Just ask the mayor of Indiana’s fourth-largest city, who’s polling at 8.3 nationally, according to the Real Clear Politics average, roughly 8 points higher than de Blasio.
With no filter on the field, and the prospect of national TV time, why not?
Like Al Sharpton told me about his 2004 run—where he was advised by Republican ratfucker Roger Stone, beta-testing the debate-disrupting tactics that paid off in spades for Trump three elections later— “They keep saying I can’t win. How do they know what I’m trying to win?”
Funny thing, but not really: If Anthony Weiner’s lust for power had suppressed his lust for other things, there’s almost no chance de Blasio would be mayor now, or that Donald Trump would be the president he’s hoping against hope to challenge.
“Whatever theoretical bases he may target are already being courted by nationally recognized figures,” observed one of the sources who told the News about the mayor’s plan to make official the run he’s been flirting with for months now. “He may have a shot if every Democratic candidate is caught sending racy selfies to minors.”
If we end up reading the history of how Trump won reelection, de Blasio— presiding over a city built on real-estate corruption and happy to pocket his little cut of it for his political operations—will be a footnote in that YUGE, historic story.