Friday, May 17, 2019


Like everyone else who was paying attention, I groaned when I learned that the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, had entered the presidential race. No one wants him to run -- hell, I voted for him twice and I don't want him to run.

As Jennifer Senior of The New York Times noted yesterday, de Blasio started his run with a trolling effort that went spectacularly wrong:
On Monday, the mayor tried to hold a stunt news conference at Trump Tower. Ostensibly, it was to tout a new city bill that would fine building owners, like our president, if they ran afoul of new greenhouse gas emissions standards. But really, it was to hold a proto-campaign rally on Trump’s turf.

De Blasio couldn’t handle even that. A handful of protesters dominated the proceedings (“Worst Mayor Ever” read one of their signs), and the management pumped loud music, including “Rags to Riches” by Tony Bennett, into the lobby. The mayor had to shout above the din.
But it appears that de Blasio is unfazed and unshameable. (Having an immunity to shame is a useful trait when taking on Trump.) De Blasio trolled Trump in his introductory campaign video, Trump trolled back, and de Blasio just kept trolling:
President Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio traded barbs in dueling videos Thursday after the liberal mayor announced he was running for president -- and told his fellow New Yorker: “We’re coming for you.”

De Blasio, who has taken repeated shots at Trump before, launched another salvo in his campaign announcement video, where he called Trump a “bully.”

... Trump responded with a video from Air Force One, in which he called de Blasio “the worst mayor in the history of New York City” and “the worst mayor in the United States.” He also predicted that de Blasio’s White House dream will “never happen.”

“If you like high taxes and if you like crime, you can vote for him. But most people aren't into that, so, I wish him luck -- but really, you'd be better off if you get back to New York City and did your job for the little time you have left,” he said. “Good luck, do well.”

De Blasio responded a few hours later with an apparent attempt to mimic Trump’s habit of giving his political opponents a nickname.

“Hey, Con Don I saw your video and man you looked really low energy. And you were getting your facts wrong 'cause crime actually has gone down in New York City five years in a row, and our economy is booming, we have the most jobs we’ve ever had in our history. So you obviously aren’t getting your facts straight, and I really think you better rest up because you’re going to need it for the election ahead,” he said.

“We’re coming for you,” he added.
"Con Don"? I would have gone with "Don the Con" myself, although "Con Don" has the benefit of sounding like "condom." But I really like "low energy" and "we're coming for you." De Blasio might be capable of drawing Trump into a pointless beef, one that won't fire up his base any more than they're fired up already (they're at maximum fired-up-ness at all times), but might remind swing voters that Trump is a 72-year-old with the emotional makeup of a third-grade bully (which is what people hate most about Trump).

Do I think de Blasio could win the nomination this way? Or even make his way into contention? No, not a chance. What comes to mind is this Wikipedia page:
Enforcer (ice hockey)

Enforcer is an unofficial role in ice hockey. The term is sometimes used synonymously with "fighter", "tough guy", or "goon". An enforcer's job is to deter and respond to dirty or violent play by the opposition. When such play occurs, the enforcer is expected to respond aggressively, by fighting or checking the offender. Enforcers are expected to react particularly harshly to violence against star players or goalies.

Enforcers are different from pests, players who seek to agitate opponents and distract them from the game, without necessarily fighting them. The pest's primary role is to draw penalties from opposing players, thus "getting them off their game", while not actually intending to fight the opposition player (although exceptions to this do occur). Pests and enforcers often play together on the same line, usually the fourth line.
I don't know if de Blasio qualifies as an enforcer or a pest -- but whichever it is, I hope he keeps it up.

I've been thinking for a while that Democrats need a presidential candidate who can rattle Trump and force himself into pointless fights -- not a candidate who's a serious contender for the nomination, but one who softens Trump up for the eventual winner. De Blasio never seemed like the guy who could do it -- he's generally quite soft-spoken, and even his trash talk is a tad listless (see below). But de Blasio is the mayor of Trump's city and he doesn't like Trump, which means that Trump can't resist getting into a dick-swinging contest with him.

Keep it up, Mr. Mayor. Land a few while you're still in the race.

No comments: