Bill de Blasio squeezes into the Democratic clown car
Seriously in violation of NCAA basketball scholarship roster limits. One for every hour of the day. "Twenty-four and there's so much more." Joe Biden and the 23 Dwarfs? Is your dictionary serious enough to have "tetravigesimal" in it?
What other jokes are there to make at this point? With New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's announcement on Thursday that he, too, is running, the number of declared candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination has increased to 24. The fact that many media outlets don't give the same number of candidates — The New York Times reports that de Blasio is only the 23rd Democrat to test the waters — tells you everything you need to know. One month before the first scheduled debate and more than half a year from the Iowa caucus, the 2020 election is a parody of itself. Here are more than two score sentient adults who insist Donald Trump's presidency has brought fascism to the United States yet who take defeating him about as seriously as an Oprah coupon giveaway.
What is it about American politics that emboldens any idiot with a C.V., a few donor connections, and a PowerPoint script to run for president? You can just about understand all the senators and governors who want to throw their hats in the ring now that the inevitable candidate has decided that she is no longer either inevitable or a candidate. Ditto the former vice president who is now the clear frontrunner. And there is always room for one or two kooks — a few hangers-on from the House, a '90s-era ambassador, maybe a lone general.
But mayors? We are at three of them now. And they're not even popular mayors. De Blasio is an East Coast progressive who is almost universally reviled by East Coast progressives. Appearing at a panel in New Hampshire back in March de Blasio found himself speaking before an audience of six. Pete Buttigieg's main achievement in South Bend is demolishing old homes. If you had “Make the fourth largest municipality in Indiana unaffordable to minorities in the hope of attracting developer cash” on your “What being left-wing means in 2019” bingo card, please forward to collect your winnings. Why, I wonder, is Wayne Messam considered a less serious candidate than Mayor Pete, when Miramar, Florida, is a city of roughly the same size as South Bend?
I expect that readers will forgive me for not bothering to acquaint myself with the specifics of each of the quarter of a hundred Democratic presidential campaigns. I couldn't do it even if I wanted to. I couldn't even find an official campaign website for Michael Bennet anywhere in the first 10 pages of Google results. It was only after visiting the 4president.org blog that I was able to discover a link to michaelbennet.com, where I learned that “Michael is running for president to build opportunity for every American and restore integrity to our government.” Even Kamala Harris cannot be bothered to have one of those nice bullet-pointed lists of things she cares about or wants to accomplish. Apart from the serial inducements to give her money and a short biography, I can find nothing about policy on her web page except a link, under the heading “Our America,” to the very boring speech she made when she announced her candidacy.
Probably the most representative thing I found on my brief tour of 2020 campaign websites was on Eric Swallwell's homepage: a video emblazoned with the slogan “Go big. Be bold. Do good.” This is the kind of nonsense that politicians and their speechwriters tell us all the time because they guess — rightly — that we are too stupid to take five seconds to think through what, if anything, it means. Are the above three imperatives meant to be undertaken in the order given? Must I “Go big” before I presume to “Be bold,” much less to “Do good”? Has it occurred to him that there is something to be said for the opposite approach — i.e., trying to do something good before going big?
You know, like running for president.