When Bill de Blasio didn’t poll well enough to qualify for the September debates, it was only a matter of time.
Last week, New York City’s mayor announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign that pundits saw as dead on arrival. The mayor used MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program to tell the country he was heading back to City Hall.
“I feel like I’ve contributed all I can to this primary election, and it’s clearly not my time,” said de Blasio to Joe Scarborough. “So I’m going to end my presidential campaign, continue my work as mayor of New York City and I’m going to keep speaking up for working people and for a Democratic Party that stands for working people.” De Blasio’s exit leaves 18 candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In Quinnipiac University’s latest poll, if the Democratic primary for president were being held right now, only 1% of those polled said they would vote for de Blasio.
De Blasio entered the race after more than 20 candidates had jump-started their campaigns. Starting on May 16, the mayor wanted to take his progressive vision abroad. Championing his $15 minimum wage, universal pre-K, paid sick leave benefits and more, the mayor brought his New York vision to the country.
But according to Alyssa Aguilera, of the Communities United for Police Reform Action Fund, the mayor should have kept his
“Mayor de Blasio announced his presidential campaign four days into the trial of Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner,” said Aguilera in a statement. “During his short campaign, he repeatedly disrespected the families of New Yorkers killed by police like Eric Garner and Delrawn Small with lies and misleading statements about his administration’s failure to hold officers accountable for misconduct and he mis-used millions of taxpayer dollars to inappropriately pay for his NYPD security detail on the campaign trail.”
In August, the NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill announced the firing of Pantaleo over his role in Eric Garner’s death. But Aguilera, Garner’s family and others want every officer involved in the Staten Island man’s death brought to justice.
“Now that he is no longer running for president, he should start trying to rebuild his legacy by ensuring that his NYPD finally brings disciplinary charges and fires officers like Wayne Isaacs, who murdered Delrawn Small, and Officers Justin D’Amico and others who engaged in misconduct surrounding the killing of Eric Garner,” said Aguilera.
On the opposite spectrum, Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said it doesn’t matter if de Blasio is in Iowa or a Park Slope gym, New Yorkers just want him to do his job.
“Our city is facing real issues that Mayor de Blasio has either ignored or papered over with campaign slogans,” said Lynch in a statement. “Cherry-picking crime stats has done nothing to address the alarming increase in shootings or the growing disorder New Yorkers see on the street. Shouting ‘Working People First’ has done nothing to help city workers suffering through health benefit cuts and below-inflation raises.”
While touring the country, de Blasio advocated for policies like a “robot tax,” which would help workers who were displaced
But de Blasio’s pattern of PR mishaps as mayor manifested itself during the short-lived campaign.
The mayor began the campaign trying to play President Donald Trump’s game labeling him “ConDon” on Twitter only to be told that the word means “condom” in Spanish. He promptly ended the hashtag. During a labor rally in Miami, a place with an actively conservative Cuban population, de Blasio quoted Fidel Castro-supporting revolutionary Che Guevara while giving a speech. In Iowa, in the middle of a video announcement to union workers, a bad connection distorted his voice to the point that he sounded like a chipmunk causing the audience to laugh.
In a more serious mishap, his fundraising became the center of scrutiny once again as the Federal Election Commission received two complaints about de Blasio turning a political action committee to help Democrats abroad into an exploratory committee for his campaign.
On Brian Lehrer’s WNYC radio program, the mayor said that his campaign managed to accomplish some things in his short time on the national stage.
“I feel very good about offering a vision of change to this country, largely based on what we did here in New York, and I have to tell you, out there in states around the country, there was a lot of appreciation for things like Pre-K for All and, you know, guaranteeing health care for folks who do not have insurance and paid sick days—a lot of things we’ve done here really resonated with people I’ve talked to and focusing on the changes we need going forward,” said de Blasio.
The mayor had another road block impacting his campaign as well: likability. According to an average of national polls of the 2020 candidates’ favorability taken by FiveThirtyEight.com in May, de Blasio was the only candidate at the time voters viewed unfavorably more than favorably (with a -1 rating).
The amusement pundits and political rivals got from de Blasio’s presidential bid now dissolves back to criticism of a lame duck mayor’s agenda. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams hopes that the mayor just focuses on doing right by New Yorkers.
“Everyone has the right to run for higher office, including the mayor,” said Williams. “Now that the campaign is over, there are issues here in New York that I hope can have renewed attention, like our affordable housing crisis, education inequality, failures around NYCHA, and our dismal transportation system. There are two more years left in his mayoral term, and I hope that’s what the administration will be working on.”
Meanwhile, New York State Republicans were more than happy to continually dance on the mayor’s presidential grave.
“It’s about time Bumbling Bill put this dumpster fire of a campaign out of its misery,” said N.Y. GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy in a statement. “To blame his failure on the difficulties of running the city and campaigning is both a lie and an insult to his nine million constituents who are acutely aware that he has been checked out of his day job for quite some time. His mayoralty, just like his presidential run, has been a giant disaster.”