Friday, September 14, 2018


Excellent news in my state:
Years of anger at a group of Democratic state senators who had collaborated with Republicans boiled over on Thursday, as primary voters ousted nearly all of them in favor of challengers who had called them traitors and sham progressives.

The losses were ... a resounding upset for the members of the Independent Democratic Conference....
Of the eight members of this turncoat conference, six lost primaries yesterday, including their leader, Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx. They thwarted quite a bit of progressive legislation, and our governor, Andrew Cuomo, liked it that way. And yet he easily survived Cynthia Nixon's primary challenge by campaigning as a foe of Donald Trump and by emphasizing the issues on which he's more progressive -- immigration and LGBT rights, for instance.

But Matt Yglesias thinks Cuomo's obvious presidential ambitions have been thwarted by the choices he's made -- choices that were intended to make him a more viable presidential candidate.
Somewhat ironically, it was actually Cuomo’s presidential aspirations that, in retrospect, have ended up dooming his presidential aspirations.

... Cuomo ... had the ... fear ... that governing as a progressive in such a heavily Democratic state would push him to adopt policies that would make him unelectable in a national contest.

Consequently, Cuomo has consistently worked behind the scenes to keep the New York state Senate in Republican hands via the machinations of a small group of state senators who, despite winning election as Democrats, caucus with the GOP. That kept the most ambitious progressive ideas off the legislative agenda, allowing Cuomo to avoid both having overt fights with his base and endorsing policies that pushed the state substantially to the left.

... in retrospect, it was too clever by half. The mood among national Democrats has swung substantially to the left over the past five years....

Had Cuomo simply done the normal thing and supported Democratic state Senate candidates and gotten the chance he feared to sign ambitious progressive bills, he’d be perfectly positioned for the circumstances of 2020.
But now he's out of step with likely Democratic primary voters. Or is he? Someone who'd be in the same "lane" as Cuomo in 2020 is once again signaling that he wants to run:
Billionaire ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning to run for president in 2020, according to a report in the Times of London. The report says Bloomberg, who toyed with an independent run for the White House in 2008, 2012, and 2016, is going to run as a Democrat.
And then there's this guy, who sent up a presidential trial balloon over the summer:
Howard Schultz is the quintessential corporate Democrat. As CEO of Starbucks, Schultz preached (and, arguably practiced) the gospel of “conscious capitalism” ...

On Monday, Schultz resigned from the board of his coffee company, and signaled interest in a potential run for president....

In recent interviews, Schultz has argued that progressive Democrats have grown so rigidly ideological, they can no longer recognize basic political and policy realities.

He has also contended that the wealthiest nation in human history can’t afford to provide public health insurance to all of its citizens; that the national debt is a bigger threat to the United States than climate change; and that Democrats would be wise to demonstrate “leadership” to the electorate — by calling for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Cuomo might be hopelessly out of step with regard to the Democratic primary electorate, but candidates who are arguably even more out of step think they have a shot in 2020. I worry that a centrist could win the primaries because there'll be so many candidates in the progressive "lane" and they'll split the votes. But we may not have to worry about a corporatist because the corporatist lane could get awfully crowded, too.

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