New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the avuncular Brooklynite who won the 2013 election on a combination of anti-Bloomberg sentiment, flawed opponents and shrewd campaigning (thanks in part to his son Dante’s lovely hairdo) is highly vulnerable.
Before I give a point-by-point explanation of how de Blasio will be unseated, let me get a bunch of disclosures out of the way.
First, I love Bill de Blasio, and a photo my wife and I took with him at the 2015 St. Pat’s for All Parade is one of my most prized possessions.
Second, I’m a New York City public school teacher, and my union endorsed him.
Third, I volunteered for his 2013 campaign, which means I spent one night calling random people encouraging them to vote for him.
Now that I got that out of the way, here are the political stakeholders who may be responsible for his 2017 defeat.
Outer borough, middle-class white people – This group resented Michael Bloomberg’s perceived Manhattan-centric attitude towards city service, especially in noticeable instances like snow removal after blizzards. They are extremely nervous about any perceived increases in crime, such as seeing homeless people. They also hate Al Sharpton.
Staten Islanders – It may be redundant to specifically include Staten Islanders when I already mentioned outer borough white people, but it should be noted that this borough votes Republican no matter what. Case in point, the last two congressional elections, in which convicted felon Michael “I’ll Break You in Half Like a Boy” Grimm won reelection before resigning and being replaced by Dan Donovan, known to outsiders as the district attorney during the Eric Garner incident.
Charter school advocates – These are folks who would like to see the caps on charter schools lifted, and resent that de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña have tried to block the expansion of charter schools.
Police officers and their unambiguous supporters – These folks loathe discussions about police brutality, and loathe Al Sharpton even more. When the Eric Garner incident occurred and de Blasio referenced having to talk to his (Black) son about interacting with the police, the group was enraged. Cops turned their backs on him at funerals, and white folks across social media accused him of hating white people.
In the 2017 campaign, it is going to take a truly balanced politician to defeat Bill de Blasio.
The candidate will have to have just the right balance that includes a liberal resume, but also tough talk on crime, and a big business-friendly economic philosophy.
Here is what that candidate will have to do to defeat de Blasio.
Talk tough on crime – While for the most part crime in New York City has decreased, the murder rate has gone up. The perception of high crime is what one-termed David Dinkins in 1993, and its reduction made many New Yorkers love Rudy Guiliani in 1997 and too scared to vote against Michael Bloomberg in 2005 and 2009. A wise politician will seek the endorsement of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association –the city’s largest police union– and put diverse police officers in a campaign ad talking about how they feel restricted by the de Blasio administration.
Promote charter schools while complaining about the public school system – Promoting charter schools, first of all, opens campaign coffers up to donations from the many companies that manage these schools, as well as other big-pocket “education reformers.” Money from the Gates Foundation, the Success Academy Charter Schools and others can buy lots of ad with testimonials from sad minority children claiming Mayor de Blasio does not want them to have the highest quality education, followed by ads with happy minority children talking about how much they love charter schools and how proud they are that this new candidate loves charter schools too.
Talk development – Influential real estate developers are constantly in search of the next big project. Whether it is a new stadium for the New York City Football Club, or another luxury skyscraper, the candidate will need to get behind it and portray de Blasio as not doing enough to support it. The argument will be, “De Blasio doesn’t care about job creation. I do.”
As I said before in my disclosures, whoever it is that runs against Bill de Blasio, I hope they lose. Recent data suggests that de Blasio’s approval ratings are sinking, and if he does not take concrete steps to improve his public image, like his former boss David Dinkins, Bill de Blasio may be one-termed.
You can follow Eric Cortes @politeeric.