With most of the country divided between efforts to either tear down or prop up the Trump presidency, there are various players on the political chessboard conducting maneuvers which remind us of one unpleasant fact. There are barely 1,300 days left until the next election. (I’ll pause for a moment here to allow some of you to reach for your airsickness bags.)
Despite the seemingly ridiculous proposition that people would already be maneuvering for that race, it seems that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo feels there’s no time like the present. While he has repeatedly insisted that his sole focus is on his own reelection bid in 2018, the New York Post notes that Cuomo is taking some of the predictable, early steps required for someone getting ready for such an effort. One of the best examples which has been dug up so far is the curious question of why the Governor of New York is hiring fundraisers in the key swing state of Florida.
Gov. Cuomo has hired two Florida fundraisers, a sign he’s building a national network to launch a presidential bid, sources told The Post.
The two consultants — one is former Hillary Clinton money man Jon Adrabi — will help plan events and build relationships with Democratic donors in the key swing state, sources said.
“Hiring out-of-state fundraising staff, particularly in a battleground state, opens up money spigots beyond what would normally be available and is a key first step to laying the groundwork for a run,” said one source, a Democratic operative, who said Cuomo’s plan is to hire political consultants with experience outside of New York.
Cuomo and his staff can make all the denials they like but it’s never been any real secret in the Empire State that he has had aspirations toward the presidency since he first got into politics. He’s been feathering his nest along those lines for quite some time, but especially since becoming governor. Has built a resume which seems specifically tailored to appeal to the furthest left factions in his party, much in keeping with the desires of the Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wings of the party. He has, among other things, pushed through steep hikes in the minimum wage, gay marriage initiatives, gender equality rules and one of the most draconian laws in the country designed to suppress the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. These are all ribbons one might wish to pin upon their chest when seeking the Democratic nomination nearly four years from now.
Pardon me if I find such a position to seem slightly delusional. For all of his efforts at burnishing his liberal reputation, Andrew Cuomo remains a politician deeply mired in scandal with a lot of baggage trailing behind him. I was remarking just this weekend on Twitter that it was awfully convenient for Cuomo that US Atty. Preet Bharara was fired this week. He was in the middle of multiple investigations into Cuomo’s fundraising activities and use of taxpayer dollars. That may not turn out to be much of an escape route however, because as MarketWatch quickly noted, those investigations (along with others into the affairs of New York City’s mayor) will likely move forward under the direction of the existing staff in that office.
For the moment, Bharara’s departure is unlikely to have a significant impact on the pending investigations within the office, largely because the interim leader of the office, Joon Kim, is a close friend and longtime colleague of Bharara’s. Since 2013, Kim has served in various leadership roles within the Southern District of New York, including most recently as deputy U.S. attorney…
“We anticipate that the work of the office will continue for the foreseeable future with minimal disruptions,” said a lawyer within the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office. Most notably, Bharara leaves behind his office’s yearlong probe into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, and his aides in connection with a corruption investigation into the mayor’s fundraising operations.
Is Cuomo really the face that the young liberal lions of today’s Democratic Party truly want representing them? He may be speaking the language of current activists on many subjects, but he is still very much of the party’s old guard. His roots run deep into the old and frequently corrupt Democratic machine in New York and the many questions swirling around his dealmaking would likely leave a bad taste in the mouths of today’s younger, energized Democrats. But if that’s how he wants to spend his time and considerable campaign funds (currently over $22M and counting), who are we to deny him his hobbies?