Dear Secretary Clinton,
With the impending Republican takeover of the federal government as led by Donald Trump, we must be ready to resist their attacks on the liberty and safety of the American people at every level, while organizing a base that will remove them from power ASAP. As one of our most well-known political figures, and the winner of the popular vote for Presidential by a margin of nearly 3 million, there are many ways you can aid in this fight. But I beg you to realize that your rumored run for Mayor of New York City—spread amidst a slew of recent speculation about your political future—is not one of them. I will do my best to make a pragmatic case as to why.
First, at the risk of stating the obvious, New York City is already run by Democrats, who have 41 out of 53 City Council seats, the Comptroller’s office, and four out of five Borough Presidencies, as well as the current mayor, who, while not perfect, is a fairly progressive one. What is the upside of winning a high profile election against another Democrat in one of the most liberal cities in the country?
A New York Times columnist argues your public presence via “billboards” would “torture” Trump, and that you’d get “revenge” on various political rivals. But as a politician dedicated to actually accomplishing things, I think you’d agree that symbolic moves like this do little to materially help people—especially those most in need (and that his argument to base your politics on personal vendettas is not worth addressing). Unless your policy planks have suddenly changed, you’d be entering a huge battle just to run NYC the way it’s currently run.
Meanwhile the potential cost of this battle is enormous. Not to get all hyperbolic up in here, but the first 100 days of the Trump Administration could be one of the most important periods in American history. Both in statehouses and the streets, we must immediately set a precedent of resistance that will make the GOP’s obstruction of the Obama administration look like Neville Chamberlain in comparison.
It’s already difficult enough for politicians to keep track of all the threats our democracy and well-being now face. The people most affected by state attacks like the elimination of healthcare have the least time and emotional bandwidth to spend just keeping track of what’s going on, let alone organizing to change it (though they heroically do anyway).
As the Presidential election proved, the media already favors manufactured controversy to substantive coverage. If you run against Mayor De Blasio, can you imagine what the news will look like?
CNN spending six hours a day ignoring Trump’s rampant corruption to discuss his latest tweet on how “sad!” it is that “loser HRC moves from Chappaqua to be mayor but isn’t even real NYer”?
Every New York Times front page bolding the latest incendiary quote from “America’s most progressive mayor” on America’s most scrutinized Democrat, while Paul Ryan forces through the destruction of Medicare on page A5?
Even for a Republican President who monopolizes whole news cycles with his every blurt, a distraction like this would add fuel to fire. So I beg you, use your name recognition, resources, political clout, and enormous group of supporters in a better way. Why fight against a Democrat when you could be uniquely positioned to unseat an unpopular Republican incumbent? Or better yet, why not take your family’s estimated 45 million dollar net worth and give it to a critical organization like Planned Parenthood in a state where it’s about to be bankrupted by the GOP?
While I doubt you’ll read this, I think it’s worth writing anyway. Because, for all my serious disagreements with your politics, one that I have never bought into is that “Hillary Clinton only cares about furthering her own career.” I do believe you want to help the country and world, and especially its most vulnerable citizens. I hope that you will prove me right.
is a freelance writer and member of the DSA Climate Justice Committee.