Meet the Candidates 2020: Bill de Blasio

NYC mayor Bill de Blasio is among the most distinctive members of the forgettable generic white people club for two reasons:

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  1. He’s tall. Too tall. If you noticed a giant lumberjack (beanpole?) of a man shouting from the fringes of the stage at the first two Democratic debates, you probably were noticing Bill de Blasio. 

  2. He’s, politically speaking, far to the left of the other generic white people. That means that when you noticed him shouting from off-camera, it was probably about how some other godforsaken corner-person was telling us what we can’t do and can’t have and shouldn’t stand for and why to stop dreaming IMMEDIATELY.

The latter is maybe a reason - possibly the only reason - anybody is even entertaining de Blasio’s candidacy because, for most people who know and follow de Blasio (likely only residents of the city of New York), the fact that he’s in the race at all is a real head-scratcher. This is a man who at no point has had reason to believe he will be the president. He’s a kind of gruff, socially inept guy from NYC who’s own constituents didn’t want him to run, is hated by his hometown media (an impressive feat to be sure in a city famous for hilarious circulation wars), and, again, is much, much too tall. The whole campaign thing is basically just a fundraising/PR effort meant to antagonize his archnemesis Andrew Cuomo, i.e. the governor of New York. That’s right - Bill de Blasio is maybe running a national campaign for president to win a local pissing contest.

The reasons for de Blasio’s hometown ire are diverse and vary between legitimate, overblown, and meaningfully stupid. That said, some of them (many of them) are funny and that’s what counts. He may or may have been linked to a Zoo coverup after dropping a groundhog, he’s been caught eating pizza with a fork (a sin that’s taken down many a New Yorker before), he’s inexplicably a Red Sox fan in a town that is VERY proud of their baseball teams, and he once got into a proxy war with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over whether to rescue or kill a deer that swam across the river and got lost in Harlem (deer swim?!).

On the issues, de Blasio isn’t actually so bad, but if a tree falls...you know? Lost among the consistent bad press is that he’s actually delivered on a lot of progressive campaign promises while mayor, from bringing the city universal pre-K and expanded paid sick leave, to reducing stop-and-frisk policing, to raising the city’s minimum wage to $15. He’s even created a program to ensure undocumented and low-income people have access to healthcare. New York’s economy is doing well, and crime rates remain low, and though homelessness remains a problem that’s also a national crisis at this point so he’s not alone in struggling with it. As a presidential candidate he’s in favor of Medicare-For-All, the Green New Deal, mandatory buybacks for assault weapons and expanded background checks, and he has spoken quite passionately about his progressive values from the debate stage. He’s also been a forceful champion of progressive values since before it was cool - that’s, in fact, how he became the surprise victor of his first mayoral election back in the Anthony Weiner days.

But, you know, he’s also kind of bad at retail politics and he’s never f-ing on time, so, you know, what to do? What. To. Do.