New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Featured Opinion Uncategorized

Cuomo should quit governor’s race and run for president now!

[Editor’s note. Artvoice is aware of the name of the author of the following post, and aware of the relationship the author has with Andrew Cuomo. For reasons explained in the post, the author has asked to remain anonymous and let his words be judged on their merits.]

By “Anonymous”

Let me start by making a prediction.

In November, Andrew Mark Cuomo will be reelected governor of New York State.  He will easily beat the sex- city celebrity with the thin credentials in the Democratic primary then go on to defeat the , Exec. of tiny Duchess County in the general election.

I also predict Cuomo will not listen to my advice that he should withdraw from the race at once, despite the fact that he has often taken my advice before. And, so to not confuse my track record of sound advice and my personality with what I am advise now, I am writing anonymously. Let this be judged by merit and logic and not by who writes it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am biased in his favor. I believe Andrew Cuomo has been the most transformational governor of New York since Nelson Rockefeller. Let me further disclose that he does not know in advance I wrote this – it was not his idea and I doubt he would have approved my writing of it had he known.

One more disclosure: His coming victory does not give me joy.  I believe there is a higher calling he should  answer, one that requires his full attention: Our nation is in peril, on the precipice of calamity, nearly as calamitous as Civil War, and as detrimental to the fabric of democracy as Vietnam/Watergate. It is a crisis that could result in the loss of American exceptionalism that made our values and system the envy of the world; a world that looked to us for leadership and systems we built as the world’s mainly benevolent super power.

The Trump presidency, like a cancer, has reignited and made much deeper the decades-long divisions of culture wars  that metastases now to the point that, if not stopped, will undo the hard fought advances of the last 50 years and permit authoritarian governments – like China and Russia – to gain greater power at our expense.

In turbulent times, good leaders may become great leaders. For all his ups and downs, his mistakes, his exceptions, his tribulations, sometimes even failures, Andrew Cuomo is a good leader. For no one, anywhere, can say he lacks energy, courage and in the end, the will and vision to do what he sees as right for the steady course. Our country is in need of one such fearless person now.

I see no one of his stature, his standing. His determination. That is why I believe Governor Cuomo should make a bold move, for the sake of our country, and announce he will not seek reelection for governor and devote his full time and attention to running for the presidency of the United States.

Cuomo is one Democrat who can go toe to toe with Trump  – tough guy to tough guy, and can take back from him the blue collar, middle class voters Democrats lost in 2016, in places like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where loss of traditional base voters resulted in defeat for Democrats — despite winning the popular vote.

Cuomo’s success in passing the Safe Act, put the strongest gun regulations in the nation in place. His success in obtaining marriage equality, where he convinced a Republican-Conservative State Senate to pass the bill;  showing he is a Lyndon Johnson like legislative dealmaker – that Trump only claims to be and who months ago lost any ability to become one – proves he is a progressive. It was New York’s leadership in passing gay marriage that was the tipping point that led state after state to follow. Those are impressive, progressive credentials. He went on to win an increase in minimum wage and call for free college tuition at all State Colleges (endearing him surely with the Sanders’ wing of the party.)

Liberals across the country, with the exception of New York State, see Andrew Cuomo, son of liberal lion Mario Cuomo, as a progressive. Coupled with his proven track record, he would attract the liberal leaning prime voters who turnout in primaries and caucuses.

The nasty Nixon primary challenge only proves the adage that you can rarely be a prophet in your own state.

While his progressive accomplishments, his position on immigration, his actions in fighting systemic racism will attract the left and minority constituencies, other accomplishments in his two activist terms as governor – like turning around, and growing New York’s economy (especially in rust belt upstate areas), his curtailing growth of runaway spending by reigning in the state budget, and imposing a property tax cap, eliminating old and counterproductive bureaucratic regulations that kill jobs – show he can appeal to small business owners, traditional blue collar workers, and centrist Democrats and independents. Like Bill Clinton, who ended the Reagan Republican era with the same combination of record and ideals, Cuomo represents and possesses the golden balance for Democrats.

Yet, surprisingly pundits list many names of potential presidential nominees before they mention Cuomo. A popular two term governor of New York, with Washington experience as Secretary of HUD, with fundraising prowess, high name recognition, oratory skills, ability to give good sound bites, ability to use social and digital media, strong performances in debates and a fine life story.

He should make top of the list.  By the way, most people don’t realize he did not grow up as the spoiled son of a governor, but was raised in middle class Queens, son of a working lawyer and grandson of immigrants; as a young man he worked as a AAA driver/mechanic helping stranded motorists – to help pay for his own college and law school.

On top of that Cuomo probably is one of few that can follow the customs and protocols Americans expect of  presidents, while not humiliating himself or his office with ridiculous tweets or crude actions. Yet Cuomo could go one-on-one in the tough war of words and attacks, blow-by-blow with fellow Queens native Donald Trump and do it with class.

Who else is in his league. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, even Hillary Clinton have refused to go peacefully into the night. I think, however, by 2020 people with 20/20 vision will see they are too old, too past their sell date to be the nominee.  What about Elizabeth Warren? Trumps’ dream opponent, his George McGovern. She is so liberal, so socialist, so likely not to win the votes Democrats lost in mid America. Kamala Harris, Corey Booker? Too new and inexperienced.  Mayor Garcetti or Landrue? Really, a mayor?? That’s never happened that I recall. Senator Kristin Gillibrand might be a good candidate But would be better, if she had executive experience as Cuomo has.

The reason Cuomo’s name isn’t being mentioned, I believe, is merely because he’s running for reelection for governor. Running for president is a fulltime job and Cuomo has to travel the country to be the nominee. Not travel New York. He needs to spend the next two years in Iowa, not just Des Moines but Newton, Council Bluff, Davenport and Dubuque.

He needs to be in Manchester, New Hampshire as well Dartmouth campus and all towns in between

He needs to spend time in South Carolina and all the Super Tuesday Red States and get to know Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Richmond, Columbia, Raleigh, Charlotte  – where he can find Democrats to vote for him in primaries.

He has to spend time in Texas for Big Primary and caucus and big Delegation at the convention. And he is perfect for the California primary. A man of action, he worked with Jerry Brown when both kept their states in the Paris Climate Accord. It is one big state and he needs to hit all its major markets. He cannot do that from New York City, Buffalo or Albany.

When he’s out west, he can’t forget Seattle or Portland, Oregon, certainly not the purple states, Colorado or Nevada.  It would be tough to do that and work as governor, because you have to be in Albany running that huge government that is New York State; there’s no time to win the nomination and govern properly.

And if you do spend time out of state, things happen. Ask Chris Christie. The more you’re gone, the more you’re attacked, the more you’re attacked, the more your numbers go down, and the more people in other states start to think your home state might be on to something.

Then there is the reasonable question: Does he need a third term? Cuomo has had big wins. He’s been great as governor.  But third terms are tough, often ugly; suddenly you don’t look shiny and new. But a little rough around the edges. You’ve had eight years to do it. Why isn’t the job done by now?

Legislators see you can’t do much to jeopardize their jobs; so they’re rebellious, contrarian and want to make a name for themselves standing up to the governor.  Then there’s an attorney general who spent a lot of time trying to snag the governor in some political corruption case, who must be disappointed he can’t run for governor in 2018. He will do double time trying to embarrass Cuomo, if he fears Cuomo might want a fourth term. Ditto for NYC Mayor DiBlasio.

Even in winning his third term, there’s risk Cuomo could get banged up. His fight with Nixon has split the Working Families Party; several unions and political leaders might throw punches they ordinarily wouldn’t.

With incoming attacks, Cuomo could slip and overrespond saying something that can sound bad, go viral, or he could have a genuine temper tantrum recorded by Apple and Samsung phones now in use everywhere. He will most assuredly be forced to go further left by Nixon and DeBlasio to win the left NYC votes in the primary, which will make it more difficult for him to track back to the center for those Westchester, Long Island and Upstate votes he needs to win the general election.

There’s also a tough move Cuomo has to do. He does not want a shotgun wedding like his father was forced to endure when Al DelBello beat Carl Mcall in the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor, forcing his father to face a tough Lew Lehrman Republican challenge on a ticket with a Lt. Governor that brought no new votes to the table. The same thing applies here. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul can’t beat a downstate challenge from a Nixon-backed elected official from NYC. Nixon’s running mate will bring no votes out of non-NY City voters Cuomo needs in the general election this November.

Cuomo asked Hochul to do New York a big favor and win back the Congressional seat she narrowly lost to Chris Collins. (Collins represents that Trump-hating town of Amherst NY, is Trump’s biggest cheerleader and  has ethical issues.) But Hochul turned Cuomo down, publicly.

Now he needs to dump her from the ticket. Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester is surely someone who can win downstate votes in the primary and help him in the general election. But he has to get rid of Hochul and either way it’s a messy issue for she is too oblivious to know he wants her off the ticket.

Then there’s the Buffalo Billion trial coming at the home stretch of the elections. While it would be old news in 2020, it still might be a little raw in ‘18 coming on the heels of the Percoco trial that left Cuomo mostly unscathed but with a couple black eyes. Even though Cuomo will win, it could be an ugly win.  Certainly not a win that you could plausibly be sworn in, and have that plane at the Albany airport fueled up and ready to fly to New Hampshire.

Meantime our country is at a crossroads. Anyone who believes Trump will be easily beat or impeached is thinking optimistically. The Mueller investigation, Comey, and the relentless media hysteria have made this investigation look political; another Ken Starr hit job.

No matter the charge, I doubt we will see 2/3 of the Senate agree to a guilty verdict on impeachment.  Meanwhile Trump’s anti-elite, anti-mainstream media; Drain the swamp; build the wall diatribe and his authenticity with all its warts will hold 40% of voters he’s had since the 2016 election.

And they are dispersed in enough places to win the electoral college. Those red states will stay that way.

Trump can win again. Unless an equally tough, anti-elite candidate who is not only acceptable to all the energized anti Trump voters, but can bring back the blue collar voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and places that look like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica, New York.

A candidate who can run well in Florida and appeal to places where immigrant policy can work against Trump; like Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Maybe Texas.

We have one guy who has the ability to be those things, actually the right person at the right time, who has the skills to lead and turn the tide in troubled times . A man who has what it takes to be a president.

His name is Andrew Mark Cuomo

 


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