To follow up a bit on Dr. Black, I agree entirely with Alex’s substantive take on Cuomo. I don’t agree, though, that the Evan Bayh of New York politics will be able to “retain a progressive reputation,” at least among Democratic primary voters. (For that matter, I don’t think he has one to retain.) I’m frankly not sure why he gets so much talk as a potential Democratic nominee in 2016, when he’s at best the third most viable candidate in New York. The nomination is probably Clinton’s if she wants it, which I’m ambivalent about. And then there’s Kirsten Gillibrand, who has both a more proven appeal to rural upstate voters and a more progressive record, in addition to what I’m guessing will be a strong (and justified) presumption that if the 2016 Democratic nominee isn’t a woman there had better be a damned good reason. Cucomo isn’t even a colorable reason. I don’t know if she wants it, but if she does barring something unforeseen she’d beat Cuomo easily. And there should be any number of candidates you can say this about.
Liberals may not always have the power in the Democratic primaries to get a preferred nominee, but they do have veto power. If you think Cuomo’s act will play against a decent candidate in national primaries, here are a couple of cases you may want to look at: Joe Lieberman 2004 and Al Gore 1988. (Gore got the Democratic nomination only by running if anything to Clinton’s left in 2000, and he wasn’t more conservative than Bradley.) Even when relatively conservative candidates have one, they have been acceptable to liberals. Clinton was the most liberal viable nominee in 1992. 1976 is more complicated, but again Carter’s opponents were mostly as bad or clearly worse — Brown, Scoop Jackson, Wallace, ugh. If Cuomo has any chance it’s because progressives can’t find a better candidate to run, and in 2016 there’s no excuse for that. We won’t be looking at a context in which Democrats have suffered repeated defeats and are looking for the safest choice.
None of this is to day that Alex is wrong to worry — I think Cuomo can be stopped pretty easily if he runs, but progressives will need to make this happen. Still, I don’t think Cuomo will be a remotely strong candidate.
…also, I should mention another point in Gillibrand’s favor — her support for filibuster reform.