Should Cuomo Replace Biden?

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Posted: Apr 27, 2020 11:42 AM
Should Cuomo Replace Biden?

Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo

A recent Rasmussen survey found that, “Most Democrats now think their party is likely to hold an open convention in which the delegates choose a candidate rather than rely on the primary results. […] The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 55% of Likely Democratic Voters see an open convention as likely. […] Interestingly, separate surveying finds that Democrats are evenly divided when asked whether Biden or New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would make a better challenger against President Trump in November.”

There is little doubt that Biden is a fundamentally flawed candidate, based on his highly questionable treatment of females, history of family corruption, diminished ability to engage in conversation and speeches, and his dramatic misreading of the COVID crisis. Remember, he called President Trump’s travel ban on China racist and xenophobic. Former President Barack Obama’s obvious reluctance to endorse his former vice president until all other candidates withdrew speaks volumes.

Biden’s Democratic primary opponents never captured broad public support. The most significant challenge came from socialist Bernie Sanders, who has since given his endorsement.

Should the former VP falter due to health, corruption charges, or a sex scandal, Cuomo is the most likely replacement. His skillful speeches and commanding screen presence have greatly enhanced his position throughout the nation. But a closer look, which would surely occur in a presidential campaign, could reveal potentially fatal flaws. Indeed, Cuomo’s record is wide open to criticism. 

Cuomo gained significant acclaim for his COVID-related speeches. But his actual record on that issue is not particularly noteworthy.

A Federalist article found that, “While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blames the president and the federal government for the lack of beds and ventilators in his state, the power to determine the number of these critical medical supplies in New York hospitals falls squarely upon the shoulders of the governor.”

On March 1, noted ABC News, Cuomo claimed that general risk in the state “remains low” shortly before NYC became the pandemic’s epicenter

The New York Governor has a spotty record on corruption. In response to extensive calls to address state government corruption, Cuomo established the Moreland Commission. But it proved to be little more than window dressing. He directed the Commission away from investigations that were politically embarrassing. His actions prompted federal prosecutors to investigate, and although they said the evidence was “insufficient” to file charges, it is evident that the Governor sidelined his own commission to protect himself.

The New Yorker emphasized that “he shut down the investigation even though the Legislature failed to make significant political reforms. Bharara and the other prosecutors obtained the commission’s files only because Bharara publicly expressed his outrage at Cuomo’s action. Cuomo’s explanation ignored the symbolism: How could there ever be a legitimate reason, in a state long beset with corruption in its Legislature, for the governor to short-circuit his own marquee attempt to clean it up?”

Cuomo was also criticizing for “re-interpreting” regulations allowing him to take campaign donations from his own appointees, allowing him to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars from them.  

Perhaps Cuomo’s most significant weakness is his lack of tolerance for those with differing views.  Both the GOP and the Democrats will need to attract voters beyond their solid supporters to win.

The Washington Times reported that the Governor warned those that disagree with his positions on gun control and abortion have “no place” in his state. But it’s not just those on the right who have been disaffected by Cuomo. 

The Atlantic notes that Cuomo has a history of antagonistic relations with progressives. That will not play well in gathering the solid support he will clearly need from the Democrat left, a group already disaffected by the Party leadership’s treatment of Sanders in 2016 and 2020.

The idea of a Cuomo candidacy has, perhaps, more appeal than an actual candidacy would.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government