View profile

Thursday Edition: But why?

The Preface
Thursday Edition: But why?
By Samuel Wonacott • Issue #50 • View online

The Takeaway: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is running for president and no one knows why
Associated Press
Associated Press
In 2017 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, running for a second term governing the most populous city in the United States, vowed during a Democratic primary debate to serve full four years if reelected.
“I’m running for one thing and one thing only—for reelection as mayor of New York City,” he said, fixing the camera with a flinty expression.
On Thursday morning, a year and a half since being sworn in for a second term by none other than Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor de Blasio announced his 2020 presidential campaign, joining Sanders and over 20 other candidates competing for the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with President Trump.
The question on everyone’s mind, including voters in New York, 76% of whom say de Blasio shouldn’t run for president, is why.
As Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight observed this morning, the slate of candidates running in 2020 is teeming with white guys. Outside of New York City, de Blasio, unlike Bernie Sanders or Beto O'Rourke, doesn’t have much national name recognition, despite founding an awkwardly short-lived progressive nonprofit in 2015 to take his message to the country.
Because most national polling organizations haven’t bothered to include his name in their surveys, it’s difficult to know how Democrats across the country feel about him. Nevertheless, he’s polling at 0% in Iowa and New Hampshire.
A distinctive message could help him stand out in the field, but his platform, of which solving economic inequality is the cornerstone, is hardly sui generis among Democrats in 2019.
“Doesn’t matter if you live in a city or a rural area, a big state, a small state, doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is, people in every part of this country feel stuck, or even like they’re going backwards,” de Blasio said in his announcement video. “But the rich got richer.”
Working People First | Bill de Blasio 2020
Working People First | Bill de Blasio 2020
“The rich got richer” is unlikely to cause anyone’s ears t0 perk up in a field of candidates that includes Bernie Sanders, who practically wrote the progressive script on economic inequality, and the whip-smart Elizabeth Warren, who churns out proposals and reforms rooted in economic populism with a greater frequency than most candidates make stump speeches.
De Blasio’s approval ratings in New York are middling, but he’s succeeded in enacting a modest number of progressive items since becoming mayor in 2014. His most celebrated legislative achievement, an expansion of early childhood education in his first year, earned him plaudits from most corners of the city, but he’s received criticism for not doing enough to desegregate New York’s schools.
He also succeeded, after a bare-knuckle struggle with longtime nemesis Andrew Cuomo, the state’s governor, in passing a law requiring New York City businesses to offer sick leave to their employees.
On the other hand, he’s been investigated for corruption and knocked for mishandling the city’s homelessness crisis. And his agenda for affordable housing hasn’t lowered costs for low-income residents.
Last year, he angered progressives in the city after praising Amazon’s decision to build a headquarters in Queens. When local organizing and protests derailed the deal, however, he changed his tune and became one of the company’s loudest detractors.
De Blasio enters the race for the White House a long-shot candidate, but he’s no stranger to quixotic political campaigns. In 2013, after serving for three years as the New York City Public Advocate, he ran for the mayoralty and won, beating long odds and a handful of better-known candidates.
The odds this time around are even longer.
Scoops and Tidings
Why the World Wants Democracy but Not Necessarily the American Version - Time
A truck without a cab and driver takes to the road in Sweden - CNN
Harvard's Bad Call on Ronald Sullivan - The Atlantic
Trump’s Failure to Control the Central Bank Is a Huge Problem for His Trade Policy - New York Magazine
Chart of the Week
Credit: Axios Visuals
Credit: Axios Visuals
Did you enjoy this issue?
Samuel Wonacott

The Preface brings you daily news and thoughtful writing from across the political spectrum.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Boise, ID