New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued a blunt critique of his fellow Democrats on why they lost the midterm elections and what they have to do to win electoral majorities again.
In an interview with Danny Feingold at the news site Capital and Main, de Blasio said the November elections did not represent a conservative tidal wave but was the consequence of too many voters staying home, “including a lot of Democrats, because they didn’t hear a lot from their fellow Democrats in too many cases.”
“I think the biggest development we saw [in the midterm election] was Democrats not standing up for the ideals of the Democratic Party, not talking to the economic realities of our people, not being willing to offer real progressive solutions,” de Blasio said.
Throughout the question-and-answer session de Blasio displays the forceful advocacy for progressive values and policy that earned him a Progressive Champion award from the Campaign for America’s Future in October. He says that cities like New York are serving as the vanguard for progressive policies that address the effects of income inequality and economic injustice, but he adds, “We shouldn’t be satisfied for change to occur only in our cities. Cities are in a position to act forcefully on a progressive agenda, but that has to be … the beginning of something truly national that ultimately changes the reality of Washington. … I expect cities to change the national debate.”
He adds that today’s economic climate of a shrinking middle class is sparking a “re-examination of what life is in this country and what the possibilities are – similar even to what was experienced in the Great Depression. Democrats and progressives have underplayed their hand when it comes to recognizing the intensity of the change that has happened on the ground and our need to meet and it respond to it and show a path forward.”
The fast-food-worker protests in New York City and around the country are a testament to the willingness of people who are experiencing the effects of our rigged economy to be organized around an agenda for fundamental change, de Blasio says. “But again, how ironic that Democrats and progressives are not the ones leading the way in a lot of places on that discussion, that sometimes business leaders are ahead of the people who should be sounding the alarms and talking about the solutions. The day will belong to those who speak to the real solutions.”