Cuomo’s turn to the left only proves he was the problem – Mother Jones
Andrew Cuomo has a curious tendency to be good at his job. Last week, after years of countless false starts, the governor of New York announced a deal to legalize marijuana. He finally signed an invoice end solitary confinement in state prisons and prisons. And, on Monday, reports revealed that Cuomo was set to strike a deal to impose new taxes on millionaires and corporate franchises. These are all important, popular, and progressive victories for a Democratic governor.
Yet it all comes as the three-term Democrat faces the biggest threats to his political career after a wave of sexual harassment allegations and a separate scandal over his administration’s manipulation of coronavirus data. Some have referred to the governor’s dramatic left turn in recent weeks as a strategic effort to deflect attention from growing demands within his own party for him to step down.
But none of this should absolve him. Cuomo’s newfound willingness to take action on distinctly progressive issues – and perhaps, more importantly, the ease with which he is suddenly able to turn the left’s biggest political priorities into political reality – shows that it It was Cuomo who largely opposed this progress in the first place. After all, Democrats have had trifecta control state government since 2019. That it took the worst scandals of a political career to convince him to finally take action on hugely popular policies that had otherwise languished in Albany is not only telling, but serves as a helpful reminder that Cuomo is eager to transform into a progressive hero when it benefits him the most.
It also adds to a bad track record. His work to legalize gay marriage and embracing increased gun control, two important victories, once seemed to make him a potential presidential candidate. But for progressives, they have done little to cover Cuomo’s devastating cuts to social programs like Medicaid – including during the pandemic – in a state where one in three accounts on the critical health care agenda, his frequent battles with trade unions, and ubiquitous accusations of running an abusive government plagued by rampant corruption. As for his accomplishments, many saw the governor riding on the ponytails of a movement that had put years of tireless work into making its policies popular. “You can be a politician to a politician and struggle to act on an issue until you see a clamoring audience,” Representative Pramila Jayapal once said. Atlantic. “You always deserve to be commended for doing it, but where were you when an issue wasn’t popular?”
Still, Cuomo, who often sees himself as the only adult in the play, criticized those who questioned his progressive credentials.
“I am the left,” he said in July 2019 radio interview, before attacking critics for having engaged in fantastic policies which, according to him, lacked “realistic plan or knowledge”. In the same conversation, Cuomo boldly called himself “New York’s most progressive leader”. Now, the rush to launch these policies should only be seen as a selfish and ultimate effort to save a failed political career.
But Cuomo’s recent adoption of a more left-wing platform may also reflect a broader awakening among establishment Democrats, who seem increasingly willing to break away from the so-called center. Once ridiculed as magical and marginal ideas – held by dangerous amateurs who knew no better – this agenda is proving not only hugely popular with the electorate, but in fact achievable. The same realization could be applied to the early days of the current White House, where President Biden, once a vocal defender of filibuster, suggests he could support the elimination of the 60-vote requirement of the government. Senate to advance most laws. Other moderate Democrats, including Amy Klobuchar, also spoke in favor of the reform of filibuster. In another potential reversal, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Politico Thursday that Biden is still considering taking executive action to write off up to $ 50,000 in student loan debt. Polls have shown a majority of Americans support both changes to systematic obstruction and some form of government assistance to help students repay their loans.
For the most part, this is all quite encouraging. But in the case of Andrew Cuomo, it really makes you wonder what more could be accomplished when selfish men step aside and start thinking about what’s best for people. How much could it have been done if Cuomo hadn’t needed to stop it from happening to improve his own reputation? For now, the left will welcome and reap the benefits – and keep telling Cuomo to step down.