I was oddly cheered by De Blasio Takes His Modern Family on the Campaign Trail. The article, buried deep in the A section of today’s paper, reports that NY Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s family is a major part of his campaign, and that by deploying them, and especially his kids, he is portraying himself as at once the most politically progressive candidate but also the ‘family’ candidate.
Obviously, this sort of strategy ought to work against serial selfie-sharer Anthony D. Weiner, a candidate who is, to say the least, not family friendly. Perhaps less cheerfully, it also may work against Christine C. Quinn, whose wife, we are told, is not much of a campaigner.
One might well ask what is cheerful about a campaign ploy that could be said to subtly play against the fact that the leading candidate is not just a childless woman, but one married to another woman. The answer has two parts. First, that in the Times’s coverage at least, the modern nature of the City Council Speaker Quinn’s marriage invokes no comment at all. Second and more significantly, the de Blassio family consists of an Italian-American male, an African-American woman, Chirlane McCray, who did not take his name, and their two kids — one of whom stars in the campaign’s first video and promises among other things that de Blassio will reform the NYPD’s excessive stop-and-frisk policy.
Twenty-five years ago, I doubt that a campaign for major office, even in New York, could have been built around an inter-racial marriage as a major selling point. (Nor that it would showcase a 15-year-old kid with a big black Afro promising to rein in the police.) In twenty-five years we’ll see gay candidates on video boasting about the longevity of their marriage and about their kids.
Progress in action — slow, yes, and as always incomplete. But progress nonetheless.
Oddly related: Down With Tyranny’s The Failure Of Identity Politics– And It’s Not Just Wall Street Shill Cory Booker; one inevitable consequence of progress is that now anyone can be a sellout.