Politico has a big piece Friday suggesting that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo could defeat Donald Trump in 2020 as the Democrats' presidential nominee if he is able to win over "the left."
For the most part, we can dismiss this concept without even addressing the already tiresome idea that what a Democratic voting base that has spent the past six months getting jazzed up about aggressive resistance and unapologetically liberal policies is actually fixin' to do in 2020 is nominate a moderate centrist triangulating triangulator who—as Politico points out itself!—lowered taxes on millionaires and has close ties to his state's most powerful corporate executives. Let us simply look, in a nonideological fashion, at two of the most prominent things Andrew Cuomo has done in his time as governor of New York.
- He announced that he was creating an independent commission—the "Moreland Commission"—to investigate corruption in state politics and then shut it down because it started investigating his own allies. The entire process could not have been more perfectly executed to expose Cuomo as a self-serving hack, and widely respected ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (a registered New York Democrat) actually used "Moreland Commission" as a shorthand synonym for "craven corruption/ethics fiasco" when he was suddenly fired by Donald Trump in March. Just what Democratic primary voters want—someone who's known for replicating the worst behaviors of a widely disliked Republican president!
- He has allowed the New York City subway—which he is ultimately responsible for because the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs it, is a state agency—to deteriorate into total disaster. As a New Yorker (humblebrag!), I cannot overstate how poorly the subway system is currently functioning and how stabby it makes the city's residents.
Andrew Cuomo's approval rating in New York is 43 percent. It is not going to improve as he becomes increasingly associated in the public mind with subway mega-failures. In a Demcratic 2020 primary whose dynamics seem likely to resemble the 2016 Republican primary in many ways, he would combine the worst qualities of Jeb Bush (being an dynastic insider) with Chris Christie (being unpopular and famous for an act of brazen corruption, in his own state).
If Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Rahm Emanuel merged into a single person, would Politico declare that person a major contender for the 2020 nomination? (Yes, probably!)