By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders
Two American mayors both with one ambition, to defeat President Trump and become the 46th president of the United States. That is where the similarity ends and the disparity begins.
If elected, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would become the tallest president in history.
If elected, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg would become the shortest since Harry Truman. Mayor Buttigieg presides over a city of around 100,000 residents. Mayor de Blasio’s city has 80 times that number of residents. Buttigieg is something of a longshot, but de Blasio has no shot whatsoever.
It’s an interesting contrast.
Why has Buttigieg gained momentum and national attention in his presidential quest while de Blasio has about as much traction as a pair of bald tires going down a slippery steep hill to nowhere? Try as he has almost nobody is interested in what de Blasio has to say outside of the five boroughs. Buttigieg on the other hand has more interview requests than he knows what to do with.
So what’s up with this picture?
In part, the answer may be that for over five years as mayor, de Blasio has been long on talk, but very short on results.
His day-to-day management of the city that never sleeps has been lackluster, and at times drowsy.
Buttigieg on the other hand projects dynamism with a resume of accomplishments. He seems to like his job as more than simply a stepping stone to something bigger and better. There are no scandals associated with him and no questionable campaign contribution irregularities… contrary to the mayor of New York City.
Both Buttigieg and de Blasio stand on the more progressive side of the Democratic Party, but there is an important nuance. Buttigieg comes across as authentic and sincere. De Blasio on the other hand comes across as preachy and self-righteous.
So it should come as no surprise that in the past month one of the mayors has seen his star on the rise while the other is mired in a virtual political black hole. And despite being savvy enough to be elected twice as mayor it appears that de Blasio has no sense of self-awareness nor any recognition of the utter futility of his presidential foray.
Perhaps he just wanted to go away and spend time in the clean fresh air of New Hampshire or the lovely corn fields of Iowa, free from the Big Apple fishbowl and the prying eyes of the always critical New York media. If so, who could blame him?
But while he is gone on his own quixotic adventure, with a disappointing ending that is certain, the city’s problems are not going away.
Mayor de Blasio should cancel the rest of his national tour, return to City Hall in Manhattan and get on with the job that he was elected to do. It’s really hard to do that from Des Moines.