Bill de Blasio

De Blasio slams Florida in online debate

'The future, unfortunately, is not bright for Florida,' the former mayor said, regarding climate change.

De Blasio went to Miami Beach, FL, for the United States Conference of Mayors in 2017.

De Blasio went to Miami Beach, FL, for the United States Conference of Mayors in 2017. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio disavowed Marxism Friday afternoon, declaring that New York City’s inclusive politics far outweighed whatever advantages of climate or affordability the state of Florida may have. “Unless you happen to take a Marxian perspective here, you can’t just talk about economics. You have to talk about cultural and political factors as well,” he said. “Florida has some strengths. But Florida is rapidly and aggressively undermining those strengths.” 

De Blasio put himself in the debate chair to defend his city on a livestream hosted by Open to Debate, a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to civil discourse. He took on Reihan Salam, the president of the conservative think tank the Manhattan Institute on the question: “Is Florida eating New York’s lunch?”  

Now a visiting professor at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, de Blasio sat there while Salam slammed him, indirectly, on the city’s cost of living, ability to educate its students, retain public employees including police and teachers, and argued that working class people were leaving in search of affordability. 

De Blasio, in turn, criticized Florida’s politics, including Gov. Ron DeSantis’ law banning abortion after six weeks and the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The current mayor, Eric Adams, has found DeSantis’ conservative politics to be an easy target too, and backed an ad campaign telling LGTBQ Floridians and their allies to come to New York. 

In a somewhat morbid closing argument, de Blasio invoked the threat of climate change to argue that New York will ultimately prevail in the rivalry. “The future, unfortunately, is not bright for Florida,” he said. “The human made threats coming out of their state government are bad enough, and will hinder Florida’s economic and social future. But the threat from mother nature is so much greater.”