BOSTON (CBS) – Bill de Blasio for President?

As the New York Post artfully puts it – LOL!

The New York City mayor’s approval ratings may be underwater, with notoriously fractured NYC voters united in their belief that the noxious, ethically-challenged de Blasio should not run for president. But that’s not stopping him and other no-hopers with (arguably) better stories to tell – like New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton and Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee – from going for it.

According to CBS News, de Blasio’s candidacy makes it 24 confirmed candidates on the Democrats’ side, with even more lurking in the cell phone parking lot of exploratory committees and “thinking about it.” And if most of them have no apparent path to the nomination, it begs a question – why do they do it?

(Image credit: CBS News)

For starters, consider the case of Mike Huckabee, an obscure former pastor who served two four-year terms as governor of Arkansas.

Huckabee – the father of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders – parlayed a folksy style and a grasp of popular culture into a first place finish in the 2008 Iowa GOP caucuses. His campaign faltered thereafter, but next thing you know, Huckabee has his own Fox News talk show and a budding career as an author. (Who can forget “A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories That Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit,” “Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement that’s Bringing Common Sense Back to America,” or the self-explanatory “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy”?)

When the Huckabee brand needed a refresh in 2015, he ran for president again, only to be squashed by the Trump steamroller. Another round of free publicity was generated by Huckabee’s unconsummated speculation about running for governor of Florida in 2018.

For the likes of Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Ben Carson, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, and other “candidates” who just happen to be peddling a book as they run, a presidential candidacy draws crucial media attention and brand enhancement. Before it yielded one of the most stunning upsets in US political history, the 2016 Trump campaign was widely perceived to be a publicity stunt aimed at bolstering Trump’s enterprises.

But plenty of unlikely candidates don’t have something else to sell.

Other motives may come into play: a desire to raise their profile as a precursor to a future run for the White House or a lesser office, or even the hope that they could garner enough support to become a vice-presidential or cabinet prospect.

And then there are the egomaniacal folks who do it because they sincerely believe they can and should be president, and either no one around them has the heart to tell them the truth or they are lost in a fog of narcissism that no truth can penetrate.

Yes, Mayor de Blasio, we’re talking about you.

Jon Keller