By Nicholas Riebel, Contributing Writer ||
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who runs the state of New York, is not going to be president any time soon. Setting aside the fact that Hillary Clinton is going to take the White House for herself in a few years, there were a few rumors going around that Cuomo would have made a run for president himself, particularly if former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for whatever reason, chose not to run. But quite recently, his presidential ambitions were dashed by two very unlikely candidates for higher office: Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu.
Having read “The Meaning of Andrew Cuomo’s Embarrassment” from The New Yorker and “Cuomo Defeats Teachout, Liberal Rival, in the Democratic Primary” from the New York Times, there are a few things in each that should be analyzed deeply. Despite having the entire backing of the New York State Democratic party, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, and limitless campaign funds, (along with numerous other advantages, such as the active support of Hillary Clinton) Governor Cuomo only managed to take little over 60 percent of the vote, with his running mate Kathy Hochul winning about 60 percent of the vote.
This seems like landslide opportunities for the candidates, and certainly not a cause to worry. Yet this is deeply troubling for the governor: usually, an incumbent will easily win his or her primary elections, if they even have them. To win a less-than-impressive majority or plurality is very embarrassing; but to be outright defeated usually means the end of the politician’s career. And for Cuomo, he needed a large, overwhelming showing. Part of the reason he chose such a conservative person for his running mate (Kathy Hochul), aside from the fact he is trying to appeal to women voters, is that he wants to appeal to as many moderates and conservatives as possible in his state to show that he has what it takes to be president.
Governor Cuomo is (or was), beyond all else, desperately afraid of being labeled a “New York liberal.” He wants to be a (faux) moderate, bipartisan figure who can “get things done” (similar to his soulmate, Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey). But in following Obama in this Clintonian tactic (of going as far right as possible, but not so far right you can be considered ideologically the same as your opponent), he has nevertheless lurched too far right on a whole host of issues important to the Democratic Party and liberals in particular. While Cuomo may be an (extremely reluctant) champion on social issues, he is a conservative Republican on economic issues.
For most of recent political history, and especially during and after the Reagan era, Democrats have stressed the need to be as moderate on the issues as possible, for fear of offending moderates and independents. Recently, President Obama has proven that a socially liberal politician can win nationally, and this is increasingly true at the statewide level as well. Yet Cuomo represents the New Democrat and Blue Dog (conservative Wall Street) faction of the Democratic party that believes in fiscal conservatism and blind bipartisanship above the good of the nation. Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and most of the Democratic establishment believe this is the case. They are afraid of being proven wrong, which is why the governor threatened New York politicians with retribution so that they wouldn’t support the Teachout-Wu ticket. For a governor who increasingly appears corrupt in addition to conservative and beholden to Wall Street, the fact that he takes a Chris Christie approach to politics is truly disturbing.
But the true story is that liberal Democrats are increasingly opposed to Democrats who march to the right on economic issues, despite them being responsible for the most recent economic collapse and most (if not all others) before and since. Some Democrats believe that you can sabotage your own party, state, nation, and planet for votes. Cuomo has collaborated with state and local Republicans, along with conservative Democrats, for conservatives to control the New York State Senate so that they could squash any progressive legislation coming from it, so Cuomo wouldn’t have to deal with it (and avoid being accused a dreaded “liberal”). Cuomo has hurt his state’s economy with his massive tax cuts on the rich and attacks on education. Cuomo will not go out of his way for social issues, unless (as has been the case in New York) he is able to guarantee a large swathe of bipartisan support: we would not be seeing marriage equality or marijuana legalization under his administration. And because he is indebted to Wall Street, I am sure that issues such as campaign finance, global warming, and fair taxation and regulation would be controlled by those whom gave him the most money.
However, two law professors with almost no money were able to put a stop to this, by appealing to the liberals in New York who haven’t been fooled by Cuomo’s faux centrism and bipartisanship. Governor Cuomo is the Democratic version of Chris Christie, and it looks, fortunately, like we won’t have to deal with either of them in the White House. Let us just remember the truth about these politicians, and those like them. They may be the Democrats and Republicans of choice for the most powerful and wealthy among us, but, I for one, would prefer a president who truly cared about the rest of America.
Sources: http://bit.ly/1pfEhNJ, http://bit.ly/1nVzL7A, http://cbsn.ws/1y2L8Va, http://bit.ly/1qAHHkv
Nicholas Riebel is a sophomore staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.