New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is as likely to be elected the 46th president of the United States as Ivanka Trump is being selected the next Miss Black America.
Yet for reasons unbeknownst to those of us into logic and odds, Chirlane McCray’s husband is reportedly on the verge of announcing that he would like to join the growing chorus of people in the Democratic Party who yearn to waste their time and other folks’ resources to launch a vanity bid for the presidency. Why has he taken so long to make a decision? Perhaps he took the MTA to arrive on this fool’s errand.
Regardless, given a lot of variables – say, people don’t even like him all that much in New York City right now – de Blasio’s plans have rightfully puzzled onlookers, but let him tell it, he humbly argues he has a path. “I was the underdog in everything I’ve ever been near, and I’m not saying that with any hubris,” explained to the New York Daily News late last week. “Any time I get in a race I get in it to win.”
There are also rumors that de Blasio feels a way that South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is getting so much attention despite being the mayor of a smaller town located in the Midwest. This is the part where some readers will murmur “favor ain’t fair” to themselves. This sounds like something that could be fixed with a publicist and more competence in City Hall, but some people take “shoot your shot” too far.
To quote one source in the accompanying article, “He may have a shot if every Democratic candidate is caught sending racy selfies to minors.”
To be somewhat fair to de Blasio, he’s not the only white man seeking a presidential run that sounds doomed from the start.
The same day de Blasio was trying to sell the idea that he has a chance, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet announced his presidential campaign.
“Well, you know, I called my mom and I said to her, ‘Somebody has to be 22, and that’s why I’m running,’” Bennet joked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “And it turns out I’m not, I’m 21. I’ve already made a little bit of progress.”
Who is Michael Bennet, you ask? Well, some have described him as “a bland white guy you’ve never heard of,” which is impolite but nonetheless accurate although if we’re being generous, Bennet did recently make a little noise on Twitter after lighting Ted Cruz up during an uncharacteristically fiery speech on the Senate floor. Not enough noise to credibly launch a presidential bid, of course. More like, “Oh, that was cute…hopefully the Democrats don’t lose the Senate for a decade so he can score a nice chairmanship and recurring guest role on the Sunday news programs.”
Last month, the New York Times published an article entitled “Should a White Man Be the Face of the Democratic Party in 2020?” I vote no for a plethora of reasons, but in light of mainstream media’s collective failure to properly contextualize Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, the inconvenient truth is voters of every ethnic and racial background wrongly assume that only a white man can beat him. It was going to be a large pool of candidates in the primary no matter what, but a lot of these white men running are doing so in an effort to capitalize on that misguided concern.
Everything ain’t for everybody, though.
As far as the old white men contingent goes, we have Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. With respect to the younger white dude demo, Beto O’Rourke is scoring Vanity Fair profiles and comparisons to members of the Kennedy political dynasty. And yeah, there is de Blasio’s apparent new frenemy Buttigieg who is largely being sold to me as Barack Obama’s white gay remix.
Of all of the white guys seeking to take on Trump, those four are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.
There is John Delaney, who is not winning. And John Hickenlooper, who is not winning and should run for Senate instead. And Seth Moulton, who is really not winning after trying to get Nancy Pelosi out of her role as House Speaker not so long ago. And Tim Ryan, who also once challenged Pelosi for her then role as Minority Leader, so he is definitely not winning either.
Some white men like Eric Swalwell and Jay Inslee are running on specific platforms that make their campaigns somewhat stick out, (gun violence and climate change, respectively), but they are probably not winning either.
There may be even more white dudes to come.
On Wednesday, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who is also mulling a presidential bid, took to Twitter to share a Washington Post piece about rural voters, writing: “As the only Democrat to win statewide re-election in a Trump state in 2016, I know firsthand: we must reach out to rural voters.”
Never mind the impact voter suppression had on Black voters who lean heavily Democratic and typically save them in elections. Or the fact that “rural voters” are not all white.
While I understand so long as you are over the age of 35, you have a right to run, I question why all of these white men with virtually no chance at succeeding are trying. Again, not only is the white man demo full but isn’t there a way to better use the perks of being a well connected white man? Say, a Senate run. If a bisexual atheist can win Jeff Flake’s old seat, I can only imagine what a boring white man with a push from the party can accomplish. To that end, Steve Bullock and John Hickenlooper should be running for Senate, and if you don’t believe me, ask Chuck Schumer who is currently failing miserably at trying to get big name Senatorial candidates.
It just feels selfish for these candidates to keep crowding the field. For all other white men considering a bid, please look to Terry McAuliffe for guidance and stay home.
Last month, the former Virginia governor announced that he would not run for president, telling the New York Times that “I would have loved to have run for president,” but acknowledged it would have been “a hard primary.” In other words: he knew if a white man were going to win, it wasn’t going to be him.
I’m not in the habit of giving white male politicians who are business friendly compliments, but I will say that he realized there was no real path to the nomination for him so he was going to at least use his resources to assist others (it’s good PR should he run for the governorship again, but useful all the same). In his case, it’s local candidates who are struggling in fundraising efforts.
“They’re desperate down there,” McAuliffe asserted on CNN.
His decision ought to serve as a guide for other white men, notably the ones polling at 1% and don’t have much of a chance of zooming past 3% anytime soon. Seriously, boring white men with greater ambitions but no conceivable way to reach such a lofty goal like the presidency in 2020, why not channel that white male privilege elsewhere since it’s already too much of it seeping through the Democratic Primary?