Op-Ed: A Secret Best Kept Secret

At the recent United States Conference of Mayors, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about running in an upcoming election, and he replied that he “wasn’t ruling it out”. 

“Hold on a minute,” you might say, “de Blasio can’t run for mayor again in 2021! He’s limited by law to two consecutive terms.” But what de Blasio was keeping the door open for wasn’t a run for a third term as mayor. He was talking about a 2020 run for president. 

It doesn’t look like anybody knows it, but Bill de Blasio is considering a run for President of the United States. This isn’t a good idea. 

First of all, while he hasn’t been an absolutely horrible mayor, he hasn’t been a particularly good one either. For example, governmental ethics have been a challenge for him. A number of his associates have been indicted for and/or convicted of ethical violations. While de Blasio himself has not been personally implicated, it is disturbing to say the least that others close to him have. After all, if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas, and I have a hard time believing that what the American people are currently clamoring for is another ethically challenged president. 

His agenda has also been stalled by his unproductive and sometimes hostile relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo. This is not all Bill’s fault; Cuomo is as much to blame as he is. But again, I don’t see this dangerously divided country looking for a new president who can’t even get along with fellow leaders of his own party, much less the other side. 

There’s also the issue of what remains to be done in New York City by the de Blasio administration. Mass transit, the lifeblood of the City, is still a wreck. It needs to be fixed, and doing so effectively will require a City/State, de Blasio/Cuomo partnership, which is something that will take a lot of work. The lead paint debacle in the City’s public housing needs to be ameliorated, and immediately. While the mayor has made a decent start in tackling New York’s affordable housing shortage, he needs to stick around to ensure that such housing is completed and is used as intended. But the mayor can’t finish what he’s started here if he’s running around the country on a likely-doomed, quixotic quest for the presidency. 

According to a December 2018 Quinnipiac poll, Mayor de Blasio’s approval/disapproval rating in New York City stands at 43-40 percent. Not exactly a mandate to expand his brand. As he is not all that well-liked in his hometown, just exactly who is it around the country whom he thinks are feeling enthused about he prospect of a de Blasio presidential candidacy? Does anyone outside of New York even know who he is, or care? 

So Bill, please. Do me a favor. Do the City a favor. Do the country a favor. Stay home and re-double your efforts to give New York City what it needs in terms of housing, transportation, education and more. As for your presidential ambition for 2020? We’ll keep that our little secret. 

[Editor’s Note: It is the policy of New York County Politics to run any op-ed it receives, with few exceptions. The op-eds do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of NYCP.]