De Blasio, running as the anti-Bloomberg, leads with Dante

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Dante de Blasio. ()
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Bill de Blasio is going up on television with an ad featuring his 15-year-old son, Dante, who says his father is the only candidate with the "guts to really break from the Bloomberg years" and the only one who "will end a stop-and-frisk era that unfairly targets people of color."

De Blasio's campaign has been pitching itself as the choice for voters who want to summarily reject the Bloomberg administration after three terms of a mayor who never embraced the role as empathizer-in-chief of the city.

Some of this contrast is simply biographical: The de Blasios, as the campaign frequently points out, are a multiracial, outer-borough, middle-class family whose children went to public school. Notwithstanding the common Massachusetts roots, de Blasio would provide voters with a look that is considerably different than the billionaire he hopes to succeed.

Substantively, the changeover from Bloomberg to de Blasio would be less radical, in many ways, than it's cracked up (by de Blasio and Bloomberg) to be.

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He would keep mayoral control of schools, although modified to include more parental input. Both Bloomberg and de Blasio supported the Atlantic Yards development, with de Blasio pushing the developer to deliver on his promise for more affordable housing. And de Blasio backed Bloomberg's plan to limit the size of large sugary drinks, something Bloomberg's closest political ally and fellow mayoral candidate, Christine Quinn, opposed. De Blasio once called bike-promoting transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan a "radical;" now he's firmly on board with her agenda, notwithstanding the occasional obligatory nod to the prospect of a more inclusive process.

De Blasio would be more likely than Bloomberg has been to raise new revenue from rich New Yorkers to strengthen the city's social programs, and would deal more generously with the public-sector unions, which played a significant role in helping him get to where he is today.

He has promised to make major changes to the way the city's police force works, and is the only Democratic candidate supporting each of two Council bills to increase oversight. He's also said that, unlike Christine Quinn, he'd replace Ray Kelly as police commissioner. But de Blasio hasn't called for an outright ban on stop-and-frisk, and he's said that he would consider as the next police commissioner one of Kelly's top deputies.

The question, of course, isn't whether de Blasio would upend every single policy of the current administration—he wouldn't. It's whether de Blasio more likely than any of his rivals to provide the change that a substantial and quite possibly decisive number of Democratic primary voters are now looking for. If you take Dante's word for it, he is.

Quote

"He's the only Democrat with the guts to really break from the Bloomberg years." — Dante de Blasio

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