Donald Trump’s election had a crazy affect on the political left, but none has been as enlightening perhaps as the moment of clarity that has befallen New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (He killed a groundhog #NeverForget). Suddenly, de Blasio has discovered the joys of Federalism when it comes to governing his city.
From education to climate change, Comrade Mayor has issued dire warnings about the overreach of an overbearing federal bureaucracy and especially, the power hungry executive branch.
When Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord earlier this month, de Blasio called a press conference (mercifully groundhog-free, thank God), declaring that he would be signing an order to keep New York City itself in the accord. The Paris Accord is largely a symbolic agreement between countries that is unenforceable, but also required the US contribute almost $3 billion to be shared amongst other participating countries. As of now, de Blasio has not stated how much of New York City’s taxpayer funds he will be issuing, but gosh it sure is great to see the sentiment.
When the President issued his travel bans early in his tenure, de Blasio also stood firm on the side of political sanctuary. “The NYPD will not participate as immigration enforcement agents because we have, for decades, built a close working relationship with immigrant communities,” de Blasio stated back in March. “We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” he declared in January as well as tweeting out “The president’s executive order runs contrary to our values, but the stroke of a pen does not change the people of New York City.”
Immigration policy generally rests with the executive branch, alone. In 1952, Congress took action on immigration, giving the President broad powers by stating he/she “may by proclamation and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens and any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants” whenever he/she thinks it “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Thinking, being the key word. If the President thinks it would be dangerous to let immigrants in, then the law is generally on his side, no matter if everything else he thinks is batsh*t crazy.
None of this seems to matter to de Blasio as he openly defies the federal government. Probably makes the ghost of James Madison swoon. De Blasio should just get a tattoo across this throat that says “Federalist No. 45” but backwards, so he can read it in a mirror and smile.
Even more than the earth’s climate and immigration, is an issue near and dear to his cold dead heart, early childhood education. De Blasio has been pushing for a Mayoral Control initiative for the city of New York, taking education policy out of the hands of not only Trump and Education Secretary Betsy Devos, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as well (Cuomo and de Blasio are not the best of comrades).
Under state law, the mayor has the power to install education policy as well as an education chancellor. De Blasio has been fighting for a year long extension for this year’s budget, to no avail yet. It’s a powerful tool de Blasio could use against any new federal guidelines from the Trump administration, which has threatened to cut Common Core from national curriculum.
De Blasio claims Trump’s budget would cut almost $900 million in federal aid next year for New York, which he claims also funds counter terrorism in the Big Apple. But all is not lost for the new federalist champion. Per Wall Street Journal City Hall reporter Mara Gay, current schools chancellor “Carmen Farina says she increased civics curriculum this year because people aren’t voting enough, or intelligently.” De Blasio echoed that sentiment explaining there’s “no way on earth” pre-K could have happened without mayoral control.
This is some wicked mad sorcery happening here in the schools of New York. Advocating local communities know how to adjust a curriculum to better serve and educate the children of that community? What an incredibly novel concept.
Whatever the reasons, I for one applaud Mayor de Blasio’s coming around to the value of local municipalities in the face of overbearing federal policy. But let’s not kid ourselves, this is red team vs blue team politics, and any whiff of a lesson de Blasio might get out of this will dissipate very quickly, when he announces his own bid for the Presidency some time in early 2019.