The New Popular Front

A Bill de Blasio mayoralty would revive the city’s far-left coalition.

The early political careers of President Obama and Gotham’s likely next mayor, Bill de Blasio, have followed similar trajectories. Both Obama and de Blasio emerged from the radical activist wings of their respective big-city Democratic parties. Both achieved broad political success despite their leftist backgrounds, winning big electoral victories against the odds. Both have attractive, mixed-race families that have added to their political allure.

Each candidate also has had to deal with potentially damaging revelations about past involvement with violent anti-American radicals. Obama had personal and political ties to the ex-Weather Underground domestic terrorist William Ayers and the virulently anti-American and anti-white Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that, when he was 26, de Blasio went on a political pilgrimage to Nicaragua—then ruled by the Marxist-Leninist Sandinistas—and came back to the United States a dedicated “Sandalista” (as leftist American supporters of the Sandinistas were then called). Several years later, de Blasio and his wife illegally honeymooned in Communist Cuba.

This is where the similarities end. Barack Obama ducked and weaved about Bill Ayers, saying he recalled his bomb-throwing friend as just a “guy in the neighborhood,” who he “thought” was an English professor. (In fact, Obama knew Ayers was a radical education professor who taught future K–12 teachers how to use their classrooms for leftist indoctrination.) And the future president claimed not to have been listening in the pews when his pastor Jeremiah Wright launched into hate-filled sermons against the United States. Obama managed to get away with these fibs because the reverential liberal media refused to pursue either story seriously. He got even luckier when his 2008 Republican presidential opponent, Senator John McCain, declined to press him on his associations for fear of being labeled (by the same pro-Obama media) as a McCarthyite.

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