Cuomo’s Progressive Critics Want to Force Him Back Into the Fold, or Abandon Him at Election Time
Ideological purity is for election years.
The act of governing is an entirely different, more realistic matter.
But don’t try telling that to the progressive true believers in New York’s influential Working Families Party.
The party will meet this weekend to decide who to nominate – or endorse – for governor. For years ago it endorsed Democrat Andrew Cuomo, but at the moment the same outcome this year is far from a sure thing.
Why? Cuomo has been way too pragmatic in his approach to governing for those on the far left (and there are millions of them in New York). The WFP folks are hoping to bully him back into their corner with the threat of nominating someone else, thereby stealing precious general election votes from Cuomo.
How can they do this? Under New York law, a candidate can appear on the ballot as the nominee of more than one party. So the WFP folks have a choice of nominating Cuomo or some third candidate.
The second option would clearly be problematic for the governor. According to an article on FreeNewsPos.com, several respected polls have shown a “Candidate X from the WFP” consistently polling in the 20 percent range, and Cuomo’s support dropping from about 57 percent to 37 percent if there were a separate WFP candidate on the ballot.
Having two candidates split the left-of-center vote could make GOP candidate Rob Astorino a serious contender.
So Cuomo would love to be listed twice on the ballot once again, as the choice of the Democrats and WFP.
But to accomplish that, he’s probably going to have to do some fast talking, and make some uncomfortable promises, over the next few days.
The end result could be a Gov. Cuomo far less open to ideas from the right, even if they are good ideas that benefit all New Yorkers.
As the New York Post put it, “Cuomo won’t win the WFP endorsement without having conducted some business of his own – some of which will quickly be apparent, but most of which will probably never become obvious.
“Put more starkly, the governor will have sold his own soul – or a very large chunk of it – to the WFP.”
What a terrible shame that would be.
Make no mistake. Cuomo is a true liberal in just about every sense of the word. He shares a common passion for big, intrusive government and liberal social policies with his critics from the WFP.
The lefties tend to forget that he signed gay marriage and strict gun control legislation, as well as a large tax increase on the rich.
But he’s also demonstrated the ability to recognize a good idea, no matter where it comes from, and the courage to implement some of those ideas, to the horror of his progressive supporters.
He came out in defense of charter schools, after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the teachers unions tried to have them evicted from unused classrooms in city school buildings. He has pushed for business-friendly tax breaks to create more jobs, and pushed through a property tax cap to protect overburdened homeowners.
None of that sits will with the Marxists in the WFP.
“The state committee members can’t endorse Cuomo, because he goes against what we stand for,” WFP state treasurer Dorothy Siegel was quoted as saying.
What she’s really saying is that Cuomo only supports about 80 percent of her party’s platform, which is well short of the required 100 percent buy-in.
The citizens of New York – and all states – deserve to have leaders who are willing to abandon their party platforms and make wise decisions based on the best interests of all people. Cuomo has done this to a significant degree, and deserves to be respected for his pragmatism.
But the forces on the left are determined to kill that pragmatism and get Cuomo back on his liberal leash.
No wonder are nation is so torn down the middle, with extremists holding court in opposite corners, refusing to consider the possibility that the other side may occasionally have a good point.