The upcoming election for NYS governor provides voters with an opportunity to send a strong message to Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to win re-election. The top twenty polls all show Cuomo winning, by anywhere from 17 to 48% of the vote. His republican opponent, Carl Paladino — a real estate developer — lacks the capacity to run a serious campaign, much less capitalize on Cuomo’s dwindling support.
However, the Green Party is again running Howie Hawkins, of Syracuse. Hawkins has been active in progressive social and political activities since his teenaged years in the 1960s. These include the same general issues of Social Justice that have been important to those of us on the Democratic Left. Currently, the most significant issue where Hawkins offers a clear choice is on hydrofracking, which he opposes.
The personal quality that separates him from Cuomo and Paladino is ethics. The difference between this man and the two corporate candidates is, in other words, the same as the difference between sugar and shit. Hawkins is running for two primary reasons: first, he wants to improve the quality of life in our state; and, second, he believes that citizens should have an actual choice when voting in an election.
I’m sure that Carl Paladino has some fine qualities that are unrelated to his political ambitions. I’m far less sure about Andrew Cuomo. In fact, the one word that defines him is “ambitious,” and that is not intended as a compliment. He clearly intended his position as governor of NYS would be the spring-board that it was from 1876 to 1948 — when in 14 out of 19 presidential elections, the NYS governor was on the ballot — either for president or vice president.
If Hillary Clinton runs as the “fresh face in politics” in the 2016 democratic primaries, it is unlikely that Andrew would even be considered as a possible VP candidate. Geography would trump the fact that he has served, if anything, as a moderately conservative republican as governor. There is no social or political stance that Cuomo has taken that could be mistaken as even mildly liberal. There is no sign of any quality of braveness or independent thinking. He is obviously highly intelligent, but totally lacking in wisdom. He has none of his father’s ability to connect with people as human beings. Just the calculated ambition of a man who counts Chris Christy and Tom Libous as two of his closest political allies.
It is a shame to see the Working Families Party endorsing Cuomo as their candidate in November. The WFP counts for between 6 and 12% of registered democrats, who tend to participate in the primaries. In this year’s democratic primary, Cuomo lost about 30& of the vote to a largely unknown candidate (she is active in the teachers’ union). That sent a strong message to the governor; the WFP endorsement sends the wrong message.
We need to reinforce that primary message. It’s difficult for me to imagine the WFP folks I associate with actually voting for Cuomo. Thus, they are likely to vote for Hawkins. The Green Party tends to get about 3 to 6% of votes in state-wide elections. If the Greens, the WFP, and the teachers’ union vote for Hawkins, Cuomo will probably still win re-election by a safe margin. But it will show him that there is a price to pay for betraying democratic values. And that’s a price that a man of his ambition can ill afford.