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.”