With all the talk of literally dozens of Democrats champing at the bit to take on Donald Trump in 2020, it’s refreshing to find a story of someone bowing out of the fight before it begins. At least for now. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken the unusual step of pulling his hat out of the ring for the next Democratic Primary and doing so before we’ve even finished putting up all the Christmas decorations. (New York Daily News)
Gov. Cuomo Tuesday definitively ruled out running for President in 2020.
“I am ruling it out,” Cuomo said during an appearance on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.” “I ran for governor (in November). I have a full plate. I have many projects. I’m going to be here doing the job as governor.”
During an August Democratic gubernatorial primary debate with actress Cynthia Nixon, he said he planned to serve a full four-year term if reelected to a third term unless “God strikes me dead.”
But that didn’t stop many political insiders on both sides of the aisle from believing he might still consider entering the race once he was safely re-elected.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that he might not change his mind later if he truly feels “the need to answer the call of the people.” Keep in mind that NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made a similar pledge to serve her full term in the Senate if re-elected, but abandoned that promise less than 24 hours after being declared the victor. When Cuomo made the “unless God strikes me dead” promise, some observers in New York thought it might be a veiled shot at Gillibrand.
Setting my normal skepticism about New York politicians aside for a moment, I will venture a guess that Andrew Cuomo is actually serious about abandoning his POTUS dreams for the next cycle. While I may disagree with him on almost every policy point up and down the line, I will be the first to admit that he is an experienced politician. The man knows how to win elections and can also recognize when discretion is the better part of valor. He’s no doubt been lifting a finger to sample the political winds and doesn’t like what he sees.
First of all, it’s going to be a massively crowded field in a moment where the party’s base of primary voters are talking about diversity and identity politics. The last thing most of the young socialists in the Democratic Party are looking for right now is another old, wealthy white guy with a last name locked into a political dynasty.
Then there’s the fact that Cuomo would be serving up so much ammunition to his competitors. Over the past couple of years, the number of close Cuomo aides, donors and associates who are either in prison or on trial for corruption has grown into double digits. The fact that Cuomo himself hasn’t been indicted seems almost miraculous. Do the Democrats really want someone with that sort of albatross around their necks leading the charge against Trump?
All things considered, I’m tempted to take Cuomo at his word here. He can probably see how 2020 is likely to play out and his chances were never better than dark horse territory. He probably sees it as better to stay above the fray than drag yourself out of it as a massive loser.