One of the stranger moments following the end of the New York Democratic gubernatorial primary was the distinct absence of the winner, Governor Andrew Cuomo, on television. He spent the evening at the Governor’s mansion with his family. But when he finally emerged this weekend, he had plenty to say. It wasn’t exactly a victory dance, but his more than 30 point trouncing of actress and activist Cynthia Nixon clearly left him feeling his oats. As far as the flood of challenges to establishment candidates by the party’s socialist wing, Cuomo seemed to scoff, saying that the wave wasn’t even a ripple. (The Guardian)
Democratic New York governor Andrew Cuomo has said the so-called insurgent progressive wave in his party is “not even a ripple”, arguing that it’s pragmatists like him who can get things done who are the true progressives.
Cuomo, a two-term Democratic incumbent, on Thursday defeated challenger Cynthia Nixon by a 30-point margin – turning back the latest attempt by a newcomer from the left to unseat a Democrat favored by the establishment.
The governor, viewed as a potential 2020 presidential contender, used a victory lap press conference on Friday to make a forceful case for his own vision of the party.
There’s yet another reference to Cuomo’s barely concealed thoughts of being the next President. He certainly sounds like he’s making a pitch to a national audience rather than just his home state. He’s talking about how he “delivers progressive results” rather than just talking about it.
Michael Goodwin of the New York Post thinks a Cuomo POTUS bid is essentially a done deal. Even more, Goodwin fancies the governor as a possible frontrunner(!?). But what about that promise he made, saying that the only way he wouldn’t serve a full, four-year term as governor is “if God strikes me dead?” (Emphasis added)
We’ll get the answer in time, but we should assume for now he will be a candidate in the next presidential election. His ambition combined with the unforgiving reality of politics almost guarantees it.
Besides, following his methodical, 31-point demolition of Nixon, Cuomo would be foolish to miss his opportunity.
If he wins the general election in November, as seems likely, he will be viewed as a top-tier candidate for the Democrats’ nomination, and possibly the front-runner.
I won’t deny Goodwin’s view that Cuomo would very much like to be the Democratic nominee in 2020. He’s not exactly made a secret of it. For a moment I almost asked if Democrats would consider nominating somebody who had told such a blatant lie about whether or not they were running. But then I remembered that they just nominated Julia Salazar and put that thought aside. Still, I wonder if hanging out in the Big Apple and focusing on New York politics for too long can distract you from the national scene. While Cuomo’s family is legendary in northeastern politics and the Governor’s ambitions are huge, it still seems to me that his chances in the Democratic primary battle to come are slim to none, and Slim was just seen buying tickets to get out of town.
Despite Cuomo’s claims about the progressive wave being “a ripple” this year, he’s clearly in denial. Even in his own state, the socialist wing picked off nearly a half dozen establishment incumbents. The Berniecrats and Elizabeth Warren acolytes are what’s driving all the action right now. Andrew Cuomo represents pretty much the opposite. His family would be the Clintons in New York if the Clintons didn’t already exist. And despite his many progressive “victories” in the Empire State, he remains yet another retirement-age white male in a time when that’s the last thing the Democrats are shopping for.
And don’t even get me started on the skeletons in his closet. Cuomo may have slipped the noose in the many corruption investigations and scandals which have taken down some of his closest aides and biggest donors (with some of them going to prison even now), but all of those stories are still out there. His potential opponents in the primary would have a field day digging all of those tales up for national consumption. His debate opponents would come to the stage with lists of factoids about the Buffalo Billion memorized. In that regard, he would be a dream candidate for Donald Trump and a Cuomo nomination would send national Democratic strategists running for the panic rooms.
All in all, Cuomo seems to be living in a fantasy world, both in terms of how strong the socialist movement in his party has become and his own chances at national office. But boy howdy… I’d love to see the Democrats nominate him. Stocks in popcorn would triple overnight.