Last Friday, Sept. 20, Bill De Blasio, mayor of New York City, dropped out of the 2020 presidential race. Millions of his own constituents, including even his fellow gym members, rejoiced. Most New Yorkers agree that his presidential ambitions, as pathetic as they were strange, were quelled 127 days too late. Especially with many successful, high-profile candidates floundering in the polls, De Blasio — who has a much weaker performance record — shocked folks when he decided to run. People including his staff, his friends, three out of four New York voters, and even his wife agreed De Blasio’s candidacy was never a good idea. It’s a testament to De Blasio’s ego that he still entered the race.
De Blasio, New York City’s unlikeable mayor, planned to kick off his presidential bid with an exciting announcement. Instead, he was beaten to the punch by a 17-year-old political blogger when his campaign failed to cover up the announcement plans. To make matters worse, De Blasio’s combativeness with the media led the New York Post, his hometown paper, to print his entry into the race on the front page … covered with images of New Yorkers laughing at him.
The mayor’s run, filled with awkward moments, would get no better than his bungled announcement. De Blasio, who has openly fought with journalists and verbally attacked publications that cover him negatively, despite entirely truthful reporting, got what he deserved for his combative nature. Since he lacked a coherent case for why he should be president, reporters instead reminded the public of his daily 11-mile trip to his favorite YMCA, his disturbing habit of eating pizza with a knife and fork, and that one time he dropped a groundhog at a ceremony and killed it. With even the slightest bit of effort, De Blasio could have avoided making these mistakes — but De Blasio is not a man of effort.
Desperate for attention, De Blasio looked to the debate stage. In several particularly unprofessional momentse, the mayor rudely interrupted other candidates, managing to sadly beg for a viral moment with his trademark smug grin on his face. Clamoring to artfully portray himself as the most progressive of all the candidates, De Blasio instead came off as abrasive, incompetent, rude, and, well… De Blasio.
What’s more, his claims of progressivism were more a sham than reality. De Blasio, after claiming to be a progressive, endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. The so-called self-proclaimed progressive joked about being on “Colored People Time,” playing into racist stereotypes. Since De Blasio has a Black wife and child, you’d think he would realize portraying racist attitudes is unacceptable — but it seems he doesn’t care.
In a debate, De Blasio claimed to be the one on the stage best equipped to understand African American issues, while Cory Booker, who is Black, stared at him from a few feet away. De Blasio has consistently failed to address housing issues disproportionately affecting nonwhite people and had no plans to fire Eric Garner’s killer until protesters yelled at him to do it at the second debate. To make matters worse, a panel of De Blasio’s advisors recently suggested segregating New York City public schools. De Blasio is no progressive.
Backlash over the segregation idea, De Blasio’s lack of charisma, and poor performance in his home state made De Blasio’s presidential bid seem as ridiculous as the man himself. While De Blasio was in Iowa awkwardly chowing down on corn dogs, a blackout, which he was unable to address, hit Manhattan. In May, when he declared his candidacy, he spent just seven hours working, that entire month. While he wasn’t doing his job, he was drawing crowds as huge as 15. None of this looked good for De Blasio.
When candidates like Eric Swalwell and Kirsten Gillibrand were unable to raise funds or enthusiasm, they dropped out. De Blasio, similarly unable to fundraise, turned to corruption instead. Engaging in quid-pro-quo schemes with the city’s rich and powerful, he was investigated for campaign finance violations, shining a light on his corrupt dealings in the city. It’s not limited to his obfuscating campaign funding systems — he also gave $1 billion to his wife’s failing mental health initiative. Using methods like these, he raised enough money to stay in after failing to qualify for the September debates.
Despite failing to reach 1 percent in even one qualifying poll, and despite having lower favorability ratings in his own city than Donald Trump, De Blasio would not give up. It was a Siena poll of 359 New York voters that finally convinced him to see reality. In the poll, exactly one respondent said they would vote for him.
The De Blasio campaign has not responded to queries about whether or not his one supporter was his mother.
De Blasio should find comfort in the fact that when he dropped out, his exit from the race finally gave him the viral moment he so desperately sought. Good riddance to the mayor. Let’s hope his staff, friends, constituents, and wife can keep him out of the race in 2024.