In his own new book, “The Pragmatist: Bill de Blasio’s Quest to Save the Soul of New York,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says Hillary would have won if she had only listened to him.
In an interview with author Joseph Viteritti, de Blasio says he and other progressives were showing Clinton the path to victory, and she ignored them.
“Although I opposed the [pro-Bill Clinton] DLC (Democratic Leadership Council) and its centrist politics, I had real hope for Hillary,” de Blasio said. “I thought she would eventually take a stronger position on income inequality. She could have generated more support if she had taken a stronger stance, and done it sooner.”
The New York City mayor has a long-standing and complicated relationship with the Clintons, going back 20 years to when he ran Hillary Clinton’s successful 2000 Senate campaign in New York after working as regional housing administrator in Bill Clinton’s administration. The former president even swore him in as mayor.
But de Blasio has always been a little too far left to fully bend the Clintons’ ear and has always chaffed against moderates in her midst. Even as the campaign manager for her Senate run, he was consistently overruled.
“There was a split within the campaign between the progressives and the moderates, and the latter won out,” he told Viteritti, a professor who chairs Hunter College’s Urban Planning and Policy Department and worked for the Koch administration.
Viteritti is candid in his analysis of de Blasio, saying it must have been difficult for him to choose to support Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
“Even as a mature political actor, this man who once dabbled in Marxist causes remains an odd player on the American scene,” Viteritti writes, referring to the mayor’s support as a young man for Nicaragua’s Sandinista regime.
Even after endorsing her, Clinton snubbed him for a speaking role at the DNC convention, and instead allotted former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking time.
Viteritti describes de Blasio as leaving his progressive mark on New York City politics while sharply criticizing his stance on charter schools. De Blasio has consistently been a detractor of the schools although data shows they are extremely successful for minority students in the city.
“No educator or political leader who seeks to improve educational opportunities for low-income populations can ignore such data,” he writes.
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