Bill de Blasio is running for president in 2020. Here’s everything we know about the candidate and how he stacks up against the competition.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
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Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Who is Bill de Blasio?

Current job: Mayor of New York City.

Age: 58.

Family: De Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray have a daughter, Chiara, and a son, Dante.

Hometown: New York, New York, raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Political party: Democratic.

Previous jobs: New York City Public Advocate, New York City Councilmember representing Brooklyn.

Who is Bill de Blasio’s direct competition for the nomination?

Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in Bill de Blasio’s lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.

Bill de Blasio August 1

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Business Insider

INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as the nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.

Read more about how we’re polling this here.

What are Bill De Blasio’s policy positions?

  • On healthcare:
    • De Blasio supports universal healthcare, and recently unveiled a $100 million plan to extend comprehensive healthcare to uninsured, low-income, and undocumented New Yorkers to achieve a universal coverage rate in the city.
    • “Everyone is guaranteed the right to health care, everyone,” de Blasio said in January, according to The New York Times. “We are saying the word ‘guarantee’ because we can make it happen.”
    • At the first round of Democratic debates in June, de Blasio struck a contrast on healthcare with other candidates.
    • He and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were the only two candidates to support replacing private insurance with Medicare for All, and took a shot at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, saying “private insurance is not working for tens of millions of Americans…Congressman, you’ve got to start by acknowledging the system is not working for people. Why are you defending private insurance?”
    • Again in the second Democratic debate in July, de Blasio sparred with former Vice President Joe Biden over healthcare, saying, “there is this mythology that somehow all these folks are in love with their insurance in America. What I hear from union members and from hardworking middle-class people, they wish they had better insurance, and they’re angry at private insurance companies that skim all the profits off the top.”
  • On immigration:
    • As mayor, de Blasio debuted a program to grant New York City ID cards to undocumented residents to allow them to access city services.
    • De Blasio also successfully sued the Trump administration after they threatened to cut federal funding to New York and other so-called “sanctuary cities” which do not actively cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
    • Under de Blasio’s administration, New York only turns undocumented immigrants accused of violent crimes over to ICE, not those accused of non-violent or status offenses.
    • At the first Democratic debate in June, de Blasio also gave an impassioned answer on immigration, saying, “We have to change our discussion about immigration in this country…that is not America. Those are not our values.’ But we have to get under the skin of why we have this crisis in our system, because we’re not being honest about the division that has been fomented in this country.”
  • On climate change:
    • De Blasio recently rolled out a bold new plan to safeguard vulnerable parts of New York City, particularly lower Manhattan, from flooding and sea-level rise.
    • He also backed city council legislation that financially penalizes the owners of large buildings that do not significantly reduce their carbon emissions.
    • De Blasio addressed pollution and environmental justice at the second Democratic debate in July, saying, “We’ve declared the eradication of all lead, eliminating lead poisoning as the goal of our administration. Lead poisoning has gone down 90% since 2005, and we’re going to bring it down to zero” in New York City.
  • On campaign finance/election reform:
  • On abortion:
    • De Blasio is pro-choice. Earlier this year, he applauded New York state expanding protections and access to late-term abortion for health reasons. “It’s crucial that we protect a woman’s right to choose, particularly at this moment in history, when women’s rights are under attack,” he said.
    • De Blasio also spoke out against Alabama passing a bill that would ban all abortions in the state, tweeting, “Alabama’s vile and illegal abortion ban is an attack on women in all 50 states … we’re in the fight of our lives and can’t back down.”
  • On LGBTQ rights:
  • On education:
    • De Blasio implemented universal pre-Kindergarten in New York City, a major accomplishment of his administration.
    • His nearly $800 million plan to improve struggling New York City public schools, which he termed Renewal, was phased out, however, after producing mixed results and few tangible improvements, The New York Times recently reported.
  • On guns:
    • New York City has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, mainly limiting gun licenses to former law enforcement officials, professional bodyguards, and people who can establish a strong need for self-defense.
    • As mayor, de Blasio has partnered with the NYPD to direct resources towards reducing gun violence in neighborhoods with the highest rates of shooting incidents and stopping gun trafficking.
    • “We need the laws that we have to protect against guns being on our streets and we will fight to protect ourselves, that’s the bottom line,” de Blasio said in January regarding the Supreme Court hearing a case challenging a New York City ordinance prohibiting most gun owners from taking their guns outside of their homes.

  • On criminal justice reform:
    • As Mayor, de Blasio has phased out the Bloomberg administration’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy, which gave police officers wide latitude to stop people they deemed suspicious and was criticized by civil rights groups for disproportionately affecting black and Latinx New Yorkers.
    • In 2016, de Blasio signed eight criminal justice reform bills that required the NYPD to increase data collection and transparency, and expand the uses of community service and fines instead of jail time for low-level infractions like violating open-container laws, public urination, and noise violations.
    • De Blasio has also supported some bail reform measures in the New York state legislature.
    • New York’s largest police union sharply criticized de Blasio over comments he made at the first Democratic debate describing how he advised his son Dante – who is biracial – to “take special caution because there have been too many tragedies between young men and our police,”
    • At the second Democratic debate in July, de Blasio pledged that he is making reforms to New York’s police system after the DOJ declined to prosecute the officer who killed Eric Garner in 2014, saying, “There will never be another tragedy, there will never be another Eric Garner because we’re changing fundamentally how we police.”
  • On trade:
    • In a July 12 op-ed for CNN, de Blasio argued Trump should scrap NAFTA, or the North American Free Trade Agreement, altogether.
    • He wrote: “Why are we making minor tweaks to a policy that was never designed to help working people in the first place? The Trump administration wants to build a better mouse trap. Working families are the mice.”
    • At the Democratic debate in July, de Blasio said, “President Trump is trying to sell NAFTA 2.0. It’s just as dangerous as the old NAFTA. It will take away American jobs, like it did in Michigan. We cannot have Democrats be party to a new NAFTA.”
  • On foreign policy:
    • De Blasio forcefully spoke out against the Trump administration’s ban on immigration for people from majority-Muslim countries in 2017.
    • New York City is home to the United Nations headquarters, and de Blasio mainly engages in foreign policy issues through his Office of International Affairs. He’s particularly focused on collaborating with UN member states on global issues like migration and combatting climate.
  • On taxes:
  • On jobs and the economy:
  • On technology:
    • Through his Mayoral Office of Technology, de Blasio’s administration is working on expanding broadband access to New Yorkers, increasing the use of technology in classrooms, and forming public-private partnerships to increase technological innovation in New York.

What are Bill De Blasio’s political successes?

  • De Blasio has a history of winning crowded Democratic primaries, both in the 2009 New York public advocate race, and his 2013 mayoral campaign, where he beat out four and eight other candidates for the nomination, respectively.
  • His administration successfully implemented universal pre-Kindergarten across New York, a major victory for the mayor’s agenda.
  • Also in his time as mayor, de Blasio has overseen increases to New York’s minimum wage, introduced paid sick time protections for workers, and debuted New York City ID cards to allow undocumented and homeless residents to access city services.

How much money has Bill De Blasio raised?

In a July 15 filing with the Federal Election Commission, De Blasio reported raising $1.1 million since launching his campaign on May 16, and has $728,000 total cash on hand.

Could Bill De Blasio beat President Trump?

So far, de Blasio’s early polling numbers bode very poorly for his presidential prospects.

The latest version of INSIDER recurring survey of the 2020 Democratic primary found that despite 51% of respondents having heard of him – a fairly good level of name recognition – just 10% would be satisfied with him as the nominee and 44% would be actively dissatisfied, the highest dissatisfaction level any 2020 candidates have received in our surveys so far.

And just 12% of respondents believed de Blasio would beat Trump in a head-to-head match-up compared to a staggering 49% who thought he would lose. For comparison, 32% of our survey respondents believe a generic Democrat would beat Trump and 30% think a generic Democrat would lose.

How do Democratic voters feel about Bill de Blasio’s qualifications?

INSIDER has conducted polling about how voters feel about candidate attributes or qualifications. We asked respondents about a list of possible qualifications and if they made them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president.

For example, among respondents who said they’d vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability. We can then see how different candidates’ resumes stack up compared to those preferences.

Attributes perceived as most valuable include his released tax returns (+43%), that he grew up middle class (+36%), was an activist (+28%), is multi-lingual (+25%) and is a Mayor (15%) with an Ivy league education (+7%).

Attributes considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters include that he is a landlord (-32%).

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