Cuomo and Hochul Wins Show No Consequences for Democratic Politicians

Andrew CuomoAssociated Press is reporting that Andrew Cuomo has won the New York Democratic governor’s primary. He got 60% of the vote and Zephyr Teachout got 36% of the vote. That’s actually a pretty pathetic showing by Cuomo, given that Teachout had no name recognition and not much of a budget. Cuomo’s win depends entirely on the fact that most voters just go along with what they know, even though what they know sucks.

Cuomo is the ultimate New Democrat. He’s modestly liberal when it comes to social policy. And by that, I mean he is basically in favor of social policies that have majority support in the United States. But when it comes to economic policy, he’s easily as conservative as Ronald Reagan. To give you some idea of just how conservative he is, he’s even worse than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Back in 2011, Eric Alterman summed up Andrew Cuomo perfectly, Governor Cuomo Is Still Governor One Percent:

Asked why, when he was being forced to lay off thousands of city and state workers, cut the pensions of countless others, and reduce aid to mass transit and education, he insisted on fighting tooth and nail to kill the so-called millionaire’s tax on the state’s highest earners — a tax, by the way, that would have ensured an additional $4 billion for such needs, and that was favored by 72 percent of respondents in an October poll — Cuomo replied, “The fact that everybody wants it, that doesn’t mean all that much.” Cuomo then recalled that his father, Mario Cuomo, famously opposed the death penalty despite strong majority support. “Reporters would say, ‘Well, people want it,'” Cuomo added. “And the point was, you know, we don’t elect — you can’t just have as a governor a big poll-taking machine, right?” So Andrew Cuomo’s willingness to thwart the will of the majority and stick a thumb in the eye of his own party on behalf of the interests of multimillionaires and billionaires — literally, the “1 percent” — is somehow analogous to the lonely, brave, and extremely costly political stand his father took on behalf of condemned prisoners on death row.

Yes, Mario Cuomo is a great man and was a great politician. Andrew Cuomo is a privileged brat who thinks he deserves money and power. I can’t imagine that his father is anything but secretly ashamed of his son. I don’t mean ashamed as in, “My son is a drunk…” I mean, “My son is a selfish bastard who doesn’t care about anyone but himself…” And the fact that Cuomo the Lesser would fluff himself up as a brave truth-teller when what he is doing is to his political and economic advantage is truly offensive.

But the most disturbing thing from that quote is the statistic that 72% were in favor of the millionaire’s tax. It must have been much higher for Democrats. That was only three years ago. But these same Democrats marched to the polls to vote for a man who is only a liberal using the most generous definition. As Alterman noted, this is a man willing to “stick a thumb in the eye of his own party on behalf of the interests of multimillionaires.” If only Cuomo were as loyal to Democratic voters as they are to him.

Also on the ballot was Timothy Wu running against another New Democrat and all around offense to liberalism Kathy Hochul. He did better, gathering 41% to her 59%. But there was much discussion that he might even be able to win that race. So this is a real disappointment. And it is a reminder that there is no level of betrayal that a Democrat can show the base that will stop them from winning a nice, well-funded primary campaign.

With “liberals” like Cuomo and Hochul… Well, here’s Dead Kennedys doing “Kill the Poor”:

For the record, if Andrew Cuomo ever runs for president, and I’m sure that is his plan, I will not vote for him. In fact, if the Democrats nominate him, I’m leaving the party.

Update (9 September 2014 9:01 pm)

Associated Press has updated the numbers and it is even better for Cuomo and Hochul. Hooray! Democracy loses again!

Also, earlier today, Jonathan Bernstein wrote :

But anecdotally, there are at least some liberals who envy the Tea Party and its primary challenges, and it’s not at all difficult to imagine one or two improbable candidates gaining some momentum.

Yes, I am one of those liberals! And I think this is important for Democracy. The moderation of the Democratic Party, always pushing to the right, is what got us the crazy Republicans. If this were offset by actual liberalism, we would end up with more moderate parties. But as long as the Democrats insist upon being Republican Lite we are going to be stuck with a political system where there is no limit to conservative extremism because there is effectively no alternative to it.

Update (9 September 2014 10:54 pm)

I found this nice rundown on Cuomo from earlier today by Ed Kilgore. It actually includes all three things I hate about him. But give me some time, and I suspect I can come up with others. Well, maybe I have. His sense of privilege wasn’t mentioned. But this lays it out pretty well:

Gov Andrew Cuomo is going to be renominated today in NY, and will almost certainly win a second term in November. But a lot of people who will vote for him on one occasion or the other think he should perhaps be taken down a peg or two, and/or don’t particularly see in him what he almost certainly sees in the bathroom mirror each morning: a future President of the United States.

A lot of progressives don’t like Cuomo’s fiscal policies and his relationships with Wall Street, and a lot of partisan Democrats don’t like the game of footsies he’s played with the Republican-led coalition that (at the moment) controls the New York Senate.

Personally, I’m one of the remarkably large number of people who over the years have been impressed negatively by Cuomo’s exceptionally high opinion of himself, and his intolerance for constructive criticism. I haven’t paid close enough attention to his tenure in Albany to adjudge whether he’s making therapeutic progress on that front, or if he still needs to be reminded now and then of his non-divinity.

He also mentioned that Alan Greenblatt said that if Cuomo didn’t get at least 70% of the vote, it would be seen as a healthy rebuke. Well, Cuomo got only 62% of the vote. That isn’t quite as good as Cuomo finding that he has learned something that requires him to spend more time with his family, but I’ll take it.

Update (10 September 2014 12:11 am)

Andrew Prokop reported at Vox:

Yet there was an undercurrent of bitterness to the race. Cuomo’s campaign challenged Teachout’s residency in an unsuccessful attempt to get her disqualified from the ballot. When the candidates crossed paths during a Labor Day parade, Cuomo — intentionally or not — didn’t acknowledge Teachout’s presence. And, finally, as the election results became clear Tuesday night, several reporters tweeted that Teachout couldn’t call Cuomo to concede — because the governor’s campaign wouldn’t give out his phone number.

Classy, Cuomo. Real classy!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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