He stood at a podium surrounded by a crush of City Council members and left-leaning advocates from protests groups like Make the Road New York and local unions.
“Si, se puede!” (“Yes, we can!”), they shouted, crammed shoulder to shoulder on a tiny stretch of sidewalk in Bushwick, Brooklyn, under the elevated subway tracks. As the trains rushed by every few minutes, the man of the hour—standing in front of a backdrop adorned with his campaign’s slogan, “One New York, Rising Together”—paused and raised his arms like an orchestra conductor, urging the overflow crowd penned behind police barricades across the street to burst into chants again.
When Bill de Blasio decided to run for New York City Council in 2001 after managing Hillary Clinton’s successful U.S. Senate campaign, political observers were bewildered.
After spending the previous year attending late-night strategy sessions at the White House and earning a shout-out on The West Wing, the rising star could have landed a lucrative consulting position or launched a big-money K Street firm. Instead, he opted to compete in a crowded, long-shot race for the chance to debate zoning regulations and field constituent calls.