The campaign that nobody asked for is finally about to begin.
After months of traveling around early caucus and primary states, eliciting a barrage of negative press characterizing his yen for higher office as a product of the same delusions of grandeur that have become a hallmark of his tenure in city hall, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is finally preparing to announce his campaign for president next week...which would make him the 22nd Democratic contender for the 2020 nomination.
There's only one problem: de Blasio, whose two terms as mayor have been marred by corruption scandals, soaring economic inequality, a worsening homelessness crisis and a rapidly deteriorating subway, is perhaps the least popular of all the candidates. And as we reported earlier this year, almost nobody - not his wife, not his kids, not his closest aides and employees, or any of his fellow Democrats - thinks a de Blasio 2020 campaign is a good idea.
But he has been undeterred, arguing that he has been the 'underdog' in every race he has ever run, and that he fully expects to use that status to his advantage during one of the most crowded primaries in American history.
Even the notoriously liberal, pro-de Blasio Daily News couldn't help but crack a few jokes about his notorious tendency to be late in a story effectively pre-announcing his announcement.
He’s late again.
Mayor de Blasio will jump into the 2020 presidential race next week, according to four people with knowledge of his plans, entering a crowded field of 21 other Democratic hopefuls and two Republicans - dead last.
The 2020 kickoff could come as early as de Blasio’s birthday on Wednesday, when he’ll turn 58, two sources said.
And not a second too soon. The last-minute announcement by the mayor - whose reputation for being late was cemented by his tardiness to a 2014 event honoring victims of American Airlines Flight 587 - has many politicos scratching their heads.
In a sign of just how low moral is in the de Blasio camp, one of the 'sources' who confirmed de Blasio's plans to the Daily News - likely a campaign insider given their proximity to the mayor - joked that de Blasio would only have a chance if "every Democratic candidate is caught sending racy selfies to minors" - a reference to the downfall of Anthony Weiner, the scandal that effectively transformed de Blasio from a dark horse into the frontrunner for the mayorship in 2014.
"Whatever theoretical bases he may target are already being courted by nationally recognized figures," one of the sources said. "He may have a shot if every Democratic candidate is caught sending racy selfies to minors."
De Blasio has said he wouldn’t run if he didn’t think he could make it all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
There is little appetite in New York City - or anywhere else in America - for a De Blasio presidential bid. According to one recent Quinnipiac University poll, 76% of city voters don’t want him to run for president.
Even in heavily Democratic New York, few believe De Blasio would be a better president than President Trump.
“I don’t know if he would be any better than the president we have now,” said Mott Haven’s Julio Valdez, 37. “I don’t think he can handle it. He can’t barely handle us right now."
And with so many problems festering in New York City, few are enthusiastic about the mayor's plans to effectively govern the city from Des Moines for the next few months (if he even makes it that far before running out of money).
Meanwhile, the problem of solving NYC's homelessness crisis - something de Blasio pledged to combat in both of his mayoral campaigns, with his now-laughable 'tale of two cities' narrative about economic inequality in New York - has been left up to city judges. Case in point: As the New York Post reports, a Manhattan judge has cleared the way for a homeless shelter to be built near "Billionaires Row", an area just south of Central Park, in a building that was formerly the Park Savoy Hotel. Residents had sued to block the shelter, but a judge has now thrown out their case, triggering paroxysms of NIMBYism in the supposedly liberal wealthy elite.
Amazingly, the Fairness PAC, which is blocking de Blasio, has been bankrolling most of his travel so far. But it's unclear who's funding this organization, and how much longer de Blasio will be able to sustain his Quixotic ambitions unless he manages to convince a few megadonors that he's a horse worth betting on.