August 9, 2017

Racial Tensions Flare Against Cuomo During State Senate Meeting

Andrew Cuomo, like Hillary Clinton before him, is reviled by many members of his own party. It’s no surprise then that a major focus of America Rising’s new Andrew Cuomo Initiative will be to highlight the internal Democratic party criticism that comes Governor Cuomo’s way.

Today, the New York Times’ Shane Goldmacher broke a big story, highlighting the New York Democratic Party’s “political schism,” which could have a big impact on a future primary to the Governor. The current problem exacerbating internal Democratic tension is over control of the State Senate, with many Democrats feeling that Governor Cuomo has not done enough to make Democratic control a reality.

Last month, a meeting between Democratic State Senators and the Governor turned particularly unfriendly, when Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins told Cuomo that “you don’t see me. You see my black skin and a woman”:

“’You look at me, Mr. Governor, but you don’t see me. You see my black skin and a woman, but you don’t realize I am a suburban legislator,’ Ms. Stewart-Cousins said, according to the accounts of five people who were in the room. ‘Jeff Klein doesn’t represent the suburbs,’ she said. ‘I do.’ Mr. Cuomo reacted in stunned silence. The pointed exchange, which has not previously been reported, captures the raw tensions around the fractured Democratic coalition in Albany that threaten to dog Mr. Cuomo as he looks to his 2018 re-election, and possibly beyond.”

Governor Cuomo’s exchange with Senator Stewart Cousins, an African-American woman, is also significant because it spotlights the Governor’s “up-and-down history with New York’s black political leadership.” Governor Cuomo’s has long had a reputation as a “master manager,” yet this year he can’t go a whole week without alienating an important constituency. At this rate, by the time the calendar turns to 2018, Governor Cuomo will have no allies left.