De Blasio in DC: Democrats Must Keep Progressive Vision

NEW YORK (AP) -

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday urged his fellow Democrats to articulate a clear progressive message and reject the “safe” campaign themes he says doomed them in this month’s elections.

“The results speak for themselves,” de Blasio told Politico’s chief White House correspondent Mike Allen. “Folks who didn’t try this message lost, sadly, overwhelmingly. The safe messages didn’t work.”

De Blasio said any Democratic presidential nominee “should speak to income inequality … should be willing to challenge the status quo, should be willing to challenge wealthy and powerful interests and should marry that with a grassroots organizing strategy that epitomizes the message.”

The remarks, made during a live interview in Washington, D.C., echoed a column de Blasio wrote in the Huffington Post last week and suggested that the mayor, who rode a liberal campaign to a lopsided victory last year, is seeking to position himself as a progressive voice on the national stage.

De Blasio said a forthright liberal campaign serves Democratic candidates better than the moderate approach that many of them employed this year. “The moderate approach has been proven to fail so consistently, why would you not try a bolder approach?” he asked.

Asked which Republican would be the most formidable foe, de Blasio said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky “evinces a certain authenticity that any good Democrat should worry about.”

“To the extent that there is a Libertarian philosophy that he sticks to regardless of political convenience, I think that makes him a stronger candidate,” de Blasio said.