This is an on-going series analyzing New York City’s mayoral race. To read the introduction, click here. To read on Independent candidate Adolfo Carrion Jr, click here. To read on Republican candidate Joseph Lhota, click here.
Bill de Blasio – Democratic candidate
Bill de Blasio is the last person in this series as the election comes to a close. It is fitting since many publications and polls have stated he is heavily favored to win the election. Yet, since he is on the Democratic ticket and making such a huge stride, I must wonder why a person like de Blasio is having such an edge and whether his rhetoric matches his actions.
Bill de Blasio is definitely someone guaranteed since the beginning of this race to win the election through a landslide. However, his work within the Democratic establishment merits further discussion of his overall role in this race and what may occur in the future. It is more important to start off during his politically active days as an outsider to the system.
During his upbringing, his volunteering with the Sandinista government in Nicaragua was pointed out as another instance of a “Communist” guaranteed to bring his communist friends to have communist policies with communist parties and erect Lenin statues across New York City, especially across Wall Street. If that seems ridiculous to you, the New York Post had a cover with the face of Bill de Blasio and the USSR symbol of the hammer and sickle. The Gothamist poked fun of such talk by saying:
Coincidentally, the news emerges on the eve of tomorrow’s election, and could cost de Blasio the crucial ‘senile conservative’ demographic.
The New York Post, a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication, discussed his trips to communist — or state capitalist — countries during the 1980s. Their ridiculous “analysis” wouldn’t even be taken as serious, but it is interesting to observe his status as a person with a revolutionary spirit against the capitalist system.
Then, de Blasio joined Democrats for campaigning and he would slowly lose such status as a left-wing revolutionary and more of an establishment individual. As the New York Times pointed out on Aug. 25:
The campaign for an open Senate seat [for Hillary Clinton] was a turning point in Mr. de Blasio’s life; it was the biggest and most high-profile political effort he had ever been put in charge of. And it turned out to be his last, as an operative.
His work with the Clintons goes back to the late 1990s where he was appointed in the Department of Housing and Urban Department as Regional Director for New York and New Jersey. One interesting point from historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is housing under Clinton:
The United States (forgetting, or choosing to forget, the disastrous consequence of such a policy in the twenties) was consigning its people to the mercy of the “free market.” The “market” did not care about the environment or the arts. And it left many Americans without jobs, or health care, without a decent education for their children, or adequate housing. Under Reagan, the government had reduced the number of housing units getting subsidies from 400,000 to 40,000; in the Clinton administration the program ended altogether.
Bill de Blasio later, as the previous New York Times article points out, ran for different positions after realizing his talent as a campaign manager. He mentions, reflecting his time under the Clinton Senate campaign in 2000, what he gained and applied to his own style of campaigning: