By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders
So it’s official: Bill de Blasio is running… away from New York City. He is seeking the nomination for president in a crowded field of nearly two dozen Democrats. His chances of success range from nearly impossible to absurd.
That would be ok if he were doing this on his own time. But he is virtually abdicating his responsibilities as mayor. That is the part that is really arrogant and offensive.
Blame term limitations at least in part.
You see, de Blasio is a politician with no path to future office but nothing to lose thumbing his nose at his current constituents. He can’t run for mayor again and when his current term ends in 2021, there is no other viable office for him to seek.
So term limits, which were billed as a good government reform to preclude incumbents from holding the same office forever, also has the unintended consequence of causing elected officials to leave their responsibilities in the dust in search of another brass ring. And current constituents be damned. Two tips of the same sword.
Surely this was not the vision of the architects of term limits. And Bill de Blasio is not just running against 21 other Democrats for the nomination. He is also running against history.
No New York City mayor has ever gone on to win higher office. Several have tried, but have failed. In 1982, Ed Koch in was defeated in his bid for governor. John Lindsay in 1972 fizzled in his effort to run for president and Robert Wagner came up short in 1956 for the U.S. Senate. And lest we forget former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s disastrous lead balloon race for President in 2008. Thud!
Can the virtually unheralded Bill de Blasio with no name recognition outside of the five boroughs upset the crowded candidate field and upend history? Will it snow in June?
As readers of T&V know, I have written about de Blasio’s possible candidacy several times in the past few months. I think it’s a foolhardy effort driven by ego and hubris. But then again, three years ago I never thought Donald Trump would win the presidency either. So who knows?
In my judgement, neither are suited to lead America, not even close. Hopefully the voters will choose more wisely next year.