July 17, 2017

“Summer Of Hell” Continues To Exact A Toll On Cuomo’s Political Future

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has the name, position, and money to join the elite ranks of Democratic contenders in 2020. The problem? Voters don’t like him.

The latest entrant in the growing genre of progressives hate Andrew Cuomo stories is a piece today in The New Republic. The article makes the case that far from “riding high,” Cuomo has “never been more vulnerable” because of the growing list of New York Democrats who “have set their sights on taking Cuomo down.”

One group keenly interested in that goal is the Working Families Party (WFP). Long a thorn in Cuomo’s side, the director of the WFP, Bill Lipton, focused his criticism of Cuomo in The New Republic on Cuomo’s history of ideological wavering:

“As Bill Lipton, director of the Working Families Party in New York, told us, ‘Everyone in New York knows Cuomo has a history of being very focused on short-term, political calculations. When attacking teachers and public sector unions was in vogue, he did that. When progressive forces made a $15 minimum wage a big thing, he stepped up and moved in that direction. What’s been missing all along is a long-term commitment to a progressive vision and to electing progressive candidates—and voters notice that.’”

Yet perhaps the biggest danger to Cuomo’s political prospects lies in failing to deliver on the priorities of average New Yorkers. No issue better encapsulates that presently than the crisis Cuomo himself dubbed the commuter’s “summer of hell.” After Cuomo ducked responsibility for the crisis, Riders Alliance president John Raskin went so far as to say the crisis at the MTA calls into question Cuomo’s leadership abilities:

“‘Subway riders are suffering, and they’re going to make Governor Cuomo suffer too, at least until he fixes the MTA so everyone can get to work,’ John Raskin, president of the Riders Alliance, told the New Republic. ‘The subway meltdown has become a question about Governor Cuomo’s abilities as a leader: Will he fix the subway and find a sustainable funding source, or does he try to push the problem into the future for someone else to deal with?’”

Many New York political observers also credit the growing MTA crisis for the fact that Governor Cuomo’s poll numbers have dropped precipitously of late. Andrew Cuomo is limping toward re-election, and before this “summer of hell” is finished, his political prospects might be there with them.