Bill de Blasio is the nation's It progressive, and Hillary wants in. Though the Clintons didn't campaign for de Blasio during the mayoral primary, Hillary hosted a fundraiser for him in October, and they'll be attending his inauguration on Wednesday. That's likely in the hope that de Blasio will be able to boost their street cred among progressives, Politico's Katie Glueck and Maggie Haberman argue. Meanwhile, de Blasio gets the added national media boost their star power provides.
Just as de Blasio painted a tale of two cities in New York — one poor and getting poorer, one rich and getting richer — the Clintons, who make schmoozing with the rich look easy, are on the wrong side of the Democratic Party's new income inequality focus. Hillary has been making her case with Wall Street donors, setting herself up as an alternative to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's anti-fat cat populism. At the same time, Hillary wants and needs populist street cred, and de Blasio might be able to give her that come 2016 (assuming he does a good job). That's not to say that the Clintons aren't well liked in the party, but de Blasio is IN right now. In November, The Washington Post wrote that the de Blasios varied hair textures represent New York's diversity. When de Blasio invited the mother of the young girl, Dasani, profiled in The New York Times homelessness story, to his inauguration, New York presented that as a stark contrast to Mayor Bloomberg's callous response. He's red hot right now.
He's also in a unique position to relate to and help Clinton. De Blasio served as Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign manager in 2000 and has close ties to several members of their circle. And he can talk her up to the far left so she doesn't have to. “If you want to be a candidate who tries to cling to the middle — that’s where the general election is won — it’s important to have allies to protect your flank from your own political party,” Democratic strategist Tad Devine told Politico. That way, Hillary can focus on winning the hearts, minds, and deep pockets of Wall Street from Chris Christie, leading up to a election showdown that's still purely speculative.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.