New York Mayor Bill de Blasio received an unexpectedly strong welcome at a Democratic dinner in Wisconsin–drawing a bigger crowd than any politician (including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) in the last 7 years.
While the very liberal mayor–who has neglected to endorse Hillary Clinton at this point of the cycle–has been coy about his future goals, there’s increasing chatter that de Blasio might be planning to challenge Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The New York post recently quoted a “national party operative” (who remains anonymous), who declared “de Blasio is positioning himself to be the leftist ‘progressive’ alternative to Wall Street-friendly Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president.”
Even Ed Cox, the New York State GOP chair, said de Blasio is clearly building a foundation for a run in 2016.
“A non-endorsement of Mrs. Clinton was a political masterstroke on his part, again, to further his national ambitions,” Cox said. “His mind and part of his time is elsewhere for purely political purposes.”
De Blasio has a history of radical Left-wing involvement–notably with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 1980s, a group described by the Reagan White House as “tyrannical communists.”
When he was 26, back in 1988, he went to Nicaragua to distribute food and medicine to Sandinistas during the civil war. He later returned to the USA and worked for a group that shipped supplies to Sandinista families, and then worked as a fundraiser for the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York.
He was arrested twice during rallies against U.S. foreign policy.
De Blasio also went to communist Cuba in 1994 for his honeymoon, after his marriage to former lesbian Chirlane McCray, with whom he now has two kids.
His controversy has extended to his tenure as Mayor of New York City.
After two NYPD officers were shot in their car just before Christmas 2014, de Blasio was widely blamed for fanning the flames–having given support to the race riots that had struck places like Ferguson, Missouri. The head of the police union even said that de Blasio had “blood on his hands” over the two killed NYPD officers.
Famously, hundreds NYPD officers literally turned their backs on de Blasio at one of their fallen colleague’s funeral–a striking show of defiance against the city’s mayor.
Bill de Blasio beating Hillary Clinton remains a tough shot–and whether or not his far-Left ideology can win a general election is even less likely.
But a big name politician challenging Hillary from the Left could very well be the biggest shakeup of 2016.