New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was an early and vocal supporter of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He campaigned with her and worked hard to help her win the Democratic primaries. But on Dec. 11, he said the former secretary of state lost the presidency for the same reason her primary rival, Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, could have won it.
"Everyone asks that question and the first thing to say is it's highly theoretical, right," de Blasio told WABC in an interview when asked whether Sanders would have been able to defeat President-elect Donald Trump. "We don't know how all the facts would have played out. I think Bernie would have had some real strengths but also some real weaknesses. I think the message would have won the election."
One major campaign issue that harmed Clinton's bid for the presidency, the mayor explained, was her move away from addressing income inequality, which de Blasio said she "downplayed in the last few months of the election, including the debates when she should have been pumping it up."
"I say it with tremendous respect for her and again, she won 2.6 million more votes than Donald Trump so it's kind of hard to ignore that fact," he added. "But I believe if she had had a message of economic change, it would have overwhelmed a lot of what Trump was putting forward, I think it would have helped her to keep some of those states."
De Blasio, who managed Clinton's 2000 bid for the U.S. Senate, endorsed the presidential candidate in October 2015 after an aide reportedly talked him out of publicly supporting Sanders, notes The Hill.
"The candidate who I believe can fundamentally address income inequality effectively, who has the right vision and the right experience to get the job done, is Hillary Clinton," de Blasio said in his endorsement speech, according to The Hill.