Mayor Bill de Blasio went on MSNBC on Wednesday morning, and was asked the question he will get asked over and over again every time he goes on national television until he finally gives in and says, “yes.”
Are you endorsing Hillary Clinton? How about now? Are we there yet?
He wasn’t ready today on Morning Joe to go that far, but he did say he was “optimistic about where she is going.” He added, “I have seen some clear signals, some clear ideas come out of her conversations in Iowa. Certainly, the speech on criminal justice reform the other day I thought was very powerful. What she said yesterday about immigration. I think she is beginning to fashion a progressive agenda.”
He then neatly segued into talking about his “Progressive Agenda,” the Contract for America–esque platform that he and several other national leaders will debut next Tuesday in D.C. The manifesto, as described by Politico, will include universal pre-K — something that de Blasio has talked about since first running for mayor — a $15 minimum wage, progressive taxation, and paid family leave. Rolling Stone’s next issue will feature a preview of the platform, and de Blasio’s brainstorming and support team has included advertising types and celebrities who are sure to be involved in spreading the news about it.
As de Blasio tries to export the ideas that he talked about during his mayoral campaign nationally, New Yorkers are feeling skeptical about the state of the city. A new Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist poll shows that 45 percent of voters think the city is headed in the right direction — the lowest number since de Blasio was elected. De Blasio’s approval rating, on the other hand, has gone up since last year, to 44 percent. As The Wall Street Journal points out, a somewhat lackluster approval rating is not a useful way to gauge the future success of a New York mayor — when Michael Bloomberg was entering his second year of being mayor, his approval rating was around 32 percent. His electoral future was not doomed.
De Blasio’s approval rating has jumped up most with black voters. In March 2014, 50 percent of black voters thought de Blasio was doing a good job; now 59 percent do. Thirty-five percent of white voters, and 49 percent of Latinos approve of de Blasio’s job performance. Fifty-eight percent of African-American voters think de Blasio is changing New York for the better; 21 percent of white voters and 53 percent of Latinos think the same.
Sixty-nine percent of voters do not see what the big deal is about the mayor not endorsing Hillary Clinton yet.
On Morning Joe, de Blasio also offered advice — “When you are emailing, be very careful to send the email to the right person” — and endangered his approval ratings once again by reminding residents, “I’m a Red Sox fan since childhood. I’m proud of it.”