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The Perfidy of Andrew Cuomo, An Ongoing Series

[ 87 ] January 2, 2017 |

gideon-0

A Democrat like Andrew Cuomo is better than a Republican because he’s at least susceptible to pressure from the left on high-profile issues. But a Democrat like Andrew Cuomo is worse than an actual liberal because on lower-profile issues he’ll remain a conservative:

The New York Civil Liberties Union today condemned Governor Cuomo’s late-night, New Year’s Eve veto of bipartisan legislation that would have overhauled New York state’s failing public defense system. The legislation would have established statewide standards for effective counsel and shifted financial responsibility for public defense services from counties to the state – reforms based on the results of a settlement in the NYCLU’s lawsuit, Hurrell-Harring v. New York. The new standards would have included limits on public defense attorneys’ caseloads, the presence of counsel at a criminal defendant’s first court appearance and access to the resources necessary to provide adequate representation.

“We are deeply disappointed that the governor has vetoed the most important criminal justice reform legislation in memory,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “He has rejected a groundbreaking and bipartisan fix to our deeply flawed public defense system and left in place the status quo, in which the state violates the rights of New Yorkers every day and delivers unequal justice.”

The obvious question here is whether Cuomo can be subject to a primary challenge. Teachout maybe, although I’m not sure she can put together a majority coalition and the loss in the House race doesn’t help. A tweep suggested Paul Tonko — no idea if he’d be interested but he’d be great and could do a lot more as governor than as a minority party House backbencher, and NY-20 is safely Democratic. There really needs to be a serious challenge (note: threatening to withdraw Working Families support is not any kind of serious threat to Cuomo.)

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  1. Phil Perspective says:

    I really do hope Andrew Cuomo runs in 2020, so he can get his ass kicked in the primary like a rented mule.

    • Jeremy W says:

      I’d like to see that, but I’m hoping that he doesn’t run, because if he runs, he just might win, while if he doesn’t run, he can’t win. Or, even worse, he could win the nomination, but then get his ass kicked in the general. I’d love to believe that being a neoliberal sellout is a recipe for disaster in a Democratic primary race, but it just doesn’t seem to be the case.

    • Simeon says:

      If 2016 has taught me anything, it’s to be careful when wishing for people you dislike to run for president for the sake of watching them go down in humiliating defeat.

      • Phil Perspective says:

        I don’t think people realize just how interesting 2020 will be for the Democrats. Will Cory Booker run? Will Cuomo indeed run, since he wanted to last year but didn’t because of Clinton? I don’t think people realize how horrible almost all of the possible 2020 choices are. Cuomo. Hickenlooper. Ugh!!

        • jim, some guy in iowa says:

          what office will you be running for?

        • Jordan says:

          Fuck that. Harris or Warren could easily run. And several others.

          The lesson that I think most dem primary voters will take *won’t* be to vote for a jackass like cuomo.

          (I think booker might be fine, in the sense that democrats generally are fine with notable exceptions).

        • Just_Dropping_By says:

          What’s wrong with Hickenlooper?

          • mds says:

            He can get elected governor of Colorado as a Democrat.

            More seriously, he seems to be way too business friendly (unsurprisingly, given his background), and he seems to be to the right of Dems in the legislature. On the other hand, he’s pretty much to the left of Republicans in the legislature, and Republicans control one chamber. And AFIACT he doesn’t have the same zest for posturing and being a backstabbing shitstain the way Cuomo does.

            None of which is to suggest he’d make a good candidate for President, unless there’s some vast untapped demographic who thought Martin O’Malley was too exciting. We can (and will?) do better than someone who’s centrist in Colorado terms. We’ll also do better than Cuomo, because almost anyone would be better than Cuomo, and he doesn’t have some magical means of “clearing the field” or whatever.

    • MidwestVillager says:

      Do we want Andrew Cuomo getting national attention from people we hope will vote for a Democratic nominee in 2020?

  2. Murc says:

    (note: threatening to withdraw Working Families support is not any kind of serious threat to Cuomo.)

    In a general? No. In a primary? Seems like it might be.

    Teachout made a good start; she had almost no money and no name recognition and spent far, far less per vote than Cuomo did. However, she did in fact, you know… get slaughtered.

    What’s problematic is… well… Cuomo is in fact a pretty good politician, and New York is pretty liberal but only in certain ways. Cuomo was happy to sign gay marriage and gun control into law, for example, but labor is surprisingly flabby here in New York and so he doesn’t feel the need to give a shit about their needs or desires. He has been real careful to never make liberals so mad at him they actually do anything about him.

    • EliHawk says:

      What’s problematic is… well… Cuomo is in fact a pretty good politician, and New York is pretty liberal but only in certain ways. Cuomo was happy to sign gay marriage and gun control into law, for example, but labor is surprisingly flabby here in New York and so he doesn’t feel the need to give a shit about their needs or desires.

      Yup. But responding to those incentives and doing useful things in response can never be something you get credit for, it’s only something to cover up his true conservative perfidy. Cuomo’s in the ‘Secret Evil Dem’ club and, though he’s wrong often enough, for the liberal internet he could piss rainbows and swallow half the world’s carbon dioxide and they still wouldn’t give him any credit.

      • Murc says:

        Cuomo’s in the ‘Secret Evil Dem’ club

        No, he’s in the openly evil Dem club.

        I mean, for fuck’s sake. Cuomo openly worked to make his own party lose control of the State Senate! And he did that for the obvious reason of not wanting unified Democratic control of the legislature to send him legislation he felt was too liberal.

        for the liberal internet he could piss rainbows and swallow half the world’s carbon dioxide and they still wouldn’t give him any credit.

        You don’t get credit for things you only do because you’re forced into them. There’s a finite amount of political energy in the world. I would prefer it be expended at the Republicans; having to expend it at the Republicans and also having to keep a constant, weary eye on Democrats who need to have their arms twisted every step of the way is a bit much to ask.

        • EliHawk says:

          You don’t get credit for things you only do because you’re forced into them.

          Eh. Part of the problem is assuming any good thing he did is because his hand is forced somehow. That’s what I’m talking about. Politics isn’t manichean good vs. evil. Cuomo’s first and foremost self-interested in what goes best for Cuomo and knows how to work within the system, but so was LBJ. Put him in a political environment that rewards progressivism and he’ll give you plenty: See Gay Marriage, Fracking Ban, and Gun Control. But like LBJ, it’ll take 50 yrs before the liberals give him any credit for it.

          • Murc says:

            Part of the problem is assuming any good thing he did is because his hand is forced somehow.

            I don’t. I think Cuomo actually is in favor of a number of the things he passed; getting gay marriage through the Senate was a legitimate heavy lift.

            However, the list of good things he’ll go to the mat for, as compared to the list of things he has to be forced into or the list of bad things he’ll go to the mat for, is… lacking. Especially for New York. We can, and ought to do better.

            But like LBJ, it’ll take 50 yrs before the liberals give him any credit for it.

            Liberals always gave LBJ credit for the Great Society and the CRA.

            They just also gave him hell for Vietnam, and he 100% deserved every single bit of it they gave him.

          • jamesepowell says:

            Cuomo like LBJ? Are you out of your mind? You can really see president LBJ doing a dirty back room deal to give control of the senate to the Republicans? Again, are you out of your mind?

            LBJ, flaws and all, produced several of the most important policies in our nation’s history. Cuomo hasn’t produced a single thing of note.

            True, Cuomo has never committed the country to a horrible war in Southeast Asia, I will give him that. He definitely did not do anything like that. Of course, we can’t say he wouldn’t if he had the chance, now can we? There isn’t any kind of good/bad or right/wrong or decent/horrible line he won’t cross, is there? Does he have any principles?

            • EliHawk says:

              The point is less that Cuomo is going to give us Great Society out of the goodness of his heart than that, like LBJ, he responds to his environment. (Though LBJ wasn’t above doing deals with Republicans or going soft on them in elections: The biggest strategy of his early years was to position the Senate Dems as more behind Ike than the GOP. Mitch McConnell he was not.)

              LBJ was very conservative when his incentives were to win in Texas, got more liberal when his goal was try to win the Democratic nomination in 1960, and was super liberal when he reached the Presidency and could a) run nation wide while b) trying to guarantee his renomination in a very liberal Democratic Party. Cuomo wanting to run in 2020 is probably the best thing that could happen to New York liberals, because Cuomo, trying to make a resume for a Democratic Primary campaign, would start sucking up to them nine ways from Sunday.

              • Jordan says:

                So, hmm, you still don’t have a response to the “Cuomo assisting the republicans to a ‘majority’ ” thing, right? In any incarnation thats not something LBJ would have done.

                • ExpatJK says:

                  Yeah, LBJ would have used all his insider knowledge to make recalcitrant legislators give in to his demands, rather than…what Cuomo did.

                • EliHawk says:

                  As was reported when this stuff came up, Cuomo has every incentive not to try and replicate Spitzer, who even before the prostitutes had pissed away half his governorship feuding with the GOP State Senate leadership. He doesn’t go after them because he can work with them, and going after them would threaten that: “If you come at the King, you best not miss.” Making Albany work is what makes him popular more than any specific partisan gain or action, and doing that means not fucking up his governorship like his predecessors, with their endless budget negotiations) means taking a whiff on them. I’m not saying I agree with the calculus, but that’s the calculus, not that he’s a secret right winger or something.

                  And LBJ certainly did that enough, not going after certain Republicans, including the President, while in the Senate, and staying ‘cordial’ with Dirksen to the point that he froze out his own Congressional leadership on occasion while in the White House.

          • ExpatJK says:

            Cuomo’s first and foremost self-interested in what goes best for Cuomo and knows how to work within the system, but so was LBJ.

            Hahaha. LBJ did a lot of good things, as other commenters have noted, and also bad things, as other commenters have noted. However, he also signed the CRA knowing what it would do to Democratic chances in the South; arguably, this was a move not taken out of self-interest.

            Cuomo might have been on the right side of history re marriage equality, but LBJ he isn’t. It is virtually impossible to imagine Cuomo doing a CRA-style move the way LBJ did.

        • efgoldman says:

          You don’t get credit for things you only do because you’re forced into them.

          See “the liberal” Trixie Dicksie Nicksie re the EPA

          • EliHawk says:

            Yeah, but there’s a difference between say, signing McCain-Feingold in the dead of night or Nixon signing veto proof bills and Cuomo acting on your behalf when you create a political environment where it’s in his interest to do so.

      • JL says:

        When you do things like block legislation to improve public defense, that being, after all, the topic of this post, then yeah, I get to talk about your perfidy, and you don’t get to use same-sex marriage as a cover.

    • Joe_JP says:

      However, she did in fact, you know… get slaughtered.

      If you had the idea she was truly running for the nomination, maybe, but I personally didn’t really think she’d win. OTOH, see 1968 and so on (LBJ), getting around 35% of vote as a protest isn’t really being slaughtered. Especially for someone who is an outsider like herself.

  3. EliHawk says:

    The obvious question here is whether Cuomo can be subject to a primary challenge.

    Yeah, no, it’s really not. We have Governorships to go after in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Florida (plus Pennsylvania and Minnesota to protect)that will be make or break for redistricting in 2020. The last thing we need to do is waste the gobs and gobs of money it takes to run in New York to go on a pointless vendetta against Cuomo, a guy that, you even admit, can be pressured from the left.(Including, probably, on this, if you fix the budget stuff enough for him). Especially given the last time this happened, he beat back the progressive challenger nearly two to one.

    Also, having gone through one election cycle as a New York voter, for the life of me I can’t see a purpose for any of the Fusion voting parties as anything other than a circle jerk that lets the ‘purer than thou’ 3rd party voter have their cake and eat it too. It’s nice enough, but that still doesn’t keep the Greens from doing their nonsense anyway.

    • vic rattlehead says:

      This almost seems like a non sequitur. As a New Yorker I kind of resent being lectured about how I should approach electoral politics in my home state. Part of pushing Cuomo involves coming at him from the left-a credible challenger could be very helpful in this regard. I’m not going to do the preemptive unilateral disarmament so many wishy washy fellow Democrats seem to be so fond of.

      We are a collection of 50 states like it or not. We can and should work to get the best Democrats possible elected. In some states, ANY Democrat will do-I’d take Zombie Howell Heflin back as Senator from Alabama in a New York minute over any Republican. Cuomo would not be a Democrat I would grumble too much about in a deep red state. In New York I think we can do better and it’s not a waste of time to try.

      • EliHawk says:

        As a fellow New Yorker, I’m pretty darn comfortable talking about what should happen in electoral politics in my state. And pissing away money and energy for a doomed primary challenge that could be used to go after, say, winnable House districts and idiot IDC Senators in the state and Governorships in neighboring ones, then yeah, that’s a waste. It’s not unilateral disarmament so much as taking the problematic ally you have and trying to make him better, and there are ways to do that better than toothless primaries.

        • Philip says:

          It’s astonishing to me that people can look at the Republicans of today and think primarying doesn’t work well to enforce ideological discipline.

        • rewenzo says:

          We can do two things. We can both try to elect Democrats to seats they don’t currently hold and elect better Democrats to seats that bad Democrats currently hold. Finite resources are finite, but humanity has enough to do this.

    • JL says:

      From the Times Union article:

      “This bill is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to shift costs from the counties to the state taxpayers under the guise of indigent defense.”

      New Yorkers, am I missing something here? Wouldn’t the state taxpayers be the same people whose tax money funds the counties, which are within the state? Is this code for “People in rich counties shouldn’t have to help fund better indigent defense in poor counties?”

      • Jordan says:

        That was my read, but if anyone who has more specific knowledge wants to chip in …

      • kenjob says:

        the status quo is that counties pay 90% and the state pays 10%.

        counties don’t/can’t/won’t — for reasons — raise revenues to actually pay their share.

        the state is paying 100% of the cost for Syracuse, suburban Rochester, the right part of Long Island, and two rural counties upstate — that would be a can’t, two won’ts, and two don’ts by my reckoning — as a result of legal action taken by the NYCLU.

        this is code for “If you want to expand that settlement state-wide, you’re going to have to take it to court. If you want play budget, we can play with my ball and my metal bat; you can bring a mitt but then I get two more bats.”

  4. What were Cuomo’s stated and unstated reasons for vetoing the bill? It would have cost some money, but not much in the context of the whole state budget. Trial lawyers losing business?

    • AMK says:

      The GOP attack in a less blue state would be obvious–Gov using taxpayer dollars to line pockets of rich lawyers to keep gangbangers on the streets. Or in a presidential campaign.

    • EliHawk says:

      Cuomo wrote in his veto message the legislation ultimately would require that the state spend more than $800 million a year to fully reimburse counties for all expenses associated with non-criminal legal defense work, including legal services in family and surrogate court.

      “This bill would do little more than transfer to the taxpayers of this state an entirely new obligation to pay for any and all existing expenses related to general defense legal work, far beyond legal representation of indigent criminal defendants,” Cuomo wrote.

      The state now pays roughly 10 percent of the 2010 spending levels for indigent legal services for each county currently.

      The legislation called for the state to assume control of indigent legal service costs by 2023, with the state assuming 25 percent of costs starting April 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

      The governor proposed modifications to the bill that he contended would have led to state funding for costs associated with extending reforms statewide, with fiscal oversight through the state Division of Budget.

      “Unfortunately, the Legislature did not adopt those modifications, highlighting a basic and fundamental misunderstanding within the Legislature as to the true, intended purposed of this bill,” he wrote. “The Legislature framed this bill as ‘indigent defense’ bill. It is not. This bill is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to shift costs from the counties to the state taxpayers under the guise of indigent defense.”

      The governor pledged to introduce a plan aimed at ensuring “that counsel at arraignment, caseload standard reform, and quality improvements are extended throughout the state, with appropriate tools to ensure accountability and results.”

      Source: Gov. Cuomo vetoes legal services bill (Albany Times Union)

      Essentially, the argument is over the budget. The bill essentially transferred all funding for county legal services to the state, and Cuomo vetoed it arguing that it put the state on the hook for everything with no way to do cost control. It seems less “Punch the criminals” and more “Fiscal Responsibility!” The reasons may be horseshit, but given the new legislature’s about to come into session, it seems likely there will be horse wrangling on it and there will eventually be a bill on this.

    • kenjob says:

      i can see how the framing might be treacherous for the non-native. i will do what i can to translate.

      the GOP-led senate passed the bill because public defense services are currently funded 90% by each county government. this is an “unfunded mandate” which the state has cruelly laid upon the backs of property owners. reducing the impact that “unfunded mandates” have on local budgets is a win for small government and government-that’s-not-for-that-sort-of-person.

      at this point one should note that the state is already paying full freight for these services in 5 counties, due to the settlement of a court case alleging the failure of the status quo.

      the Democratic-led house of representatives passed the bill because if the state is paying 100% of the cost of these services they may actually get delivered. they might also be expanded, a prospect which is otherwise grim; more services are more “unfunded mandates” under the status quo.

      Cuomo vetoed the bill because it was essentially an expansion of the Hurrel-Harring settlement state-wide.
      .: why shouldn’t he veto? they’re not the supreme court.
      .: there weren’t enough levers with which to squeeze county governments for the privilege of “fiscal responsibility” unburdening them of “unfunded mandates”, which is a net Democratic loss at every turn.

      the veto and accompanying statement signals
      .: to the NYCLU that they will need to spend real money in court rather than chump change lobbying if they want to press their recent gains
      .: to the legislature that Cuomo is the budget man (welcome to the Empire state!) and that if they want to play budget it will get very bad for them very quickly.

  5. stonetools says:

    I’m OK with a primary challenge, if there is a decent challenger. But I also remember when many thought it was a good idea for Bernie Sanders to primary Hillary Clinton. It would impose ideological discipline on Clinton, and surely the liberal Bernie supporters would unite behind Clinton in the general and not throw the election to the Republican by not voting for her in the general.
    Well, it didn’t work out that way. The Republicans may just be better at enforcing ideological discipline through primary challenges then uniting for the general. Primary challenges seem to just wreck Democratic unity , period.

    • Murc says:

      But I also remember when many thought it was a good idea for Bernie Sanders to primary Hillary Clinton. It would impose ideological discipline on Clinton, and surely the liberal Bernie supporters would unite behind Clinton in the general and not throw the election to the Republican by not voting for her in the general.
      Well, it didn’t work out that way.

      It worked out exactly this way. Liberal Bernie supporters did, in fact, unite behind Hillary Clinton and voted for her en masse. The election was not thrown by Sanders supporters sitting home in any conceivable parsing of the results.

      Also, you’re not really using “primary Hillary Clinton” in the commonly used way. That phrase is usually used to mean using a primary challenge to get rid of an already-elected official who is the presumptive nominee specifically because of the fact of their incumbency. As in: “Eric Cantor got primaried by Dave Brat.” “We should primary Andrew Cuomo.” “Republican Congresspeople are reluctant to deviate too far from orthodoxy for fear they’ll be primaried.”

      It isn’t used to mean “someone throws their hat into the ring in an open primary.” Like, you would not say “Howard Dean primaried John Kerry in 2004.” That’s a silly statement; Kerry wasn’t the sitting President and was not the presumptive nominee because of incumbency. 2004 was an open primary. Similarly, “thought it was a good idea for Bernie Sanders to primary Hillary Clinton” does not really work as a statement; Clinton didn’t have a claim on the nomination owing to her incumbency the way that Obama did in 2012.

      • cpinva says:

        “Clinton didn’t have a claim on the nomination owing to her incumbency the way that Obama did in 2012.”

        no, that’s true. however, Sanders coming out with the bullshit “rigging” accusation, supposedly “supported” by a bunch of hacked emails, that did no such thing, certainly didn’t help matters, when it came to the general. his and the “bros” whining alone was enough to completely turn me off of him, forever.

        if this was the result of a lawsuit, couldn’t Cuomo be held in contempt, for refusing to sign off on it?

      • stonetools says:

        se. The election was not thrown by Sanders supporters sitting home in any conceivable parsing of the results.

        I would disagree with you there. I’ve interacted with lots of Bernie supporters who drank the Wikileaks cool aid and wbo proudly said they stayed home or voted third party because Hillary was corrupt and Bernie was cheated. You may not think it’s a thing, but it’s a thing. Combine that with the fact that a significant number of Obama 2012 supporters either stayed home or voted third party this time , and my conclusion is that right wing ratfucking and Russian disinformation worked.
        Now will that be a factor on the state level? Maybe not, but do we want to play with a NY governship? One of the problems with the Democratic situation is that there is just not much room to experiment.

        • JL says:

          89% of Democratic voters voted for Clinton, according to exit polls. Which is the same percentage that Obama won in 2008. 84% of self-described liberals (given the three choices of liberal, moderate, conservative), regardless of party, voted Clinton, compared with 89% voting Obama in 2008 – a slight dropoff, but not a big one, especially considering that in 2008 the primary candidate most associated with the left was the nominee. Overall turnout in the presidential election was 60%, the second-highest since 1976, despite all the shit analysis claiming low turnout before the votes were actually done being counted. I’m having trouble finding anything reliable about Dem, liberal, or Sanders supporter turnout because so much turnout-related stuff is wrong to begin with, but the high general turnout and high numbers of Dems and liberals voting Clinton don’t point to mass Sanders supporter defection.

          Meanwhile, if we want to play the anecdata game, more than half of my canvassing partners for Clinton in NH were Sanders supporters, as was I, as were some of the organizers. Sanders supporters are not more than half the Dems in general here. We were overrepresented in the Clinton canvasses I went on.

          Edited to add: Also, some of the Sanders people who defected were people who normally would never consider voting for a major party candidate and were only considering it in the first place because of Sanders. Those people are, in my opinion and that of most people here, incorrect in how they approach electoral politics. But they were never potential Clinton votes, regardless of anything Sanders did.

          • humanoid.panda says:

            The problem with this is that, given the narrow margins, that 5% liberal drop probably cost her Michigan+WI (in WI, for instance, there were like 20,000 Bernie Sanders writeins). One could say that the defections were not enough to impact a normal year. But this wasn’t a normal year.

            • JL says:

              The first part of what you’re saying assumes (though the specific WI data does not) that the small liberal drop from 2008 (I don’t know what the margin of error is on exit polls but I’m guessing it’s not 5 points, so I will take the existence of a small drop as a given) was evenly distributed among states. Michiganders defecting have a different impact than Californians defecting. My guess would be that the latter was more common than the former, but I don’t have data on that.

              The thing is, there are always defections, third-party voters, disillusioned sorts who don’t vote. The 89% of liberal voters that Obama got in 2008 was the highest in the last three decades and change, because 2008 was a good year. The Dem candidate got 71% of the liberal vote in 1984, 82% in 1988, 68% in 1992 (another year with a bitter primary that left a lot of progressives furious), 81% in 1996, 81% in 2000, 85% in 2004, 86% in 2012. Some of those are years with contested primaries, some aren’t. Some are years where the candidate associated with the left was the nominee, some aren’t. 84% in 2016 is highly consistent with the general pattern, and hugely better than 1992, the other “post-primary embittered progressives” year that comes to mind. That doesn’t point to some unusual detrimental effect from Sanders.

          • stonetools says:

            I would have to say that 5% is enough of a drop to account for narrow losses in 3 states. (There shouldn’t have been ANY drop, given the threat of Trump).In effect, those liberal voters looked at Trump, and said “Eh, it’s more important that I protest Clinton by sitting out the election, etc, than that I make sure Trump doesn’t get in.”
            Now one salutary effect of the Trump regime is that liberals aren’t going to be tempted to protest in this way for oh, about 16 years ( see the 2000 presidential election for the last such screwup). That will filter down to the state and local level, I hope.
            Maybe there is another way we can pressure Cuomo, like a dedicated letter writing campaign or showing up at town halls?Those tactics worked for the Tea Party.

            • JL says:

              See my comment above. 2008 was an unusually good year for liberals (as defined by the trinary classification system) falling in line with the Dem nominee, the best since before I was born. 2016 was consistent with norms in that regard, both from years with a contested primary and years without (and far better than the last time a bitter primary left a portion of the left flank really pissy).

              • stonetools says:

                Given the polarization and the realignment of parties, I doubt that the 1992 or indeed “historic” data is going to be helpful in today’s political arena. The reality is that a drop-any significant drop-in liberal support for the Democratic nominee is going to be a mortal threat to the Democratic presidential nominee. That’s what the 2016 election taught us. Republicans understand that uniting behind the nominee is crucial in a polarized environment , and they did just, despite their nominee being truly horrific , even to many conservatives. As someone tweeted, the Republicans want to win the football game, any way they can and with anyone they can. The Democrats stay home unless their nominee is a Disney protagonist. Again, maybe we need to educate our voters about strategic voting and the reality of a political situation that heavily penalizes emotional
                voting decisions.

                • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                  re: strategic voting- yeah, that is something people don’t always grasp. A few years ago we had two R and one D running for two at-large spots on county board. Even our D didn’t quite get, til I explained it to him, that I couldn’t vote for either of the Rs to fill the other seat because it worked out to voting against *him*

                • JL says:

                  Given the polarization and the realignment of parties…

                  True enough for 1984-1992 (though we were talking about self-identified liberals regardless of party here, as well as Dems regardless of philosophy, and that shows different patterns), but based on the data that I’ve seen, the polarization showed up in presidential elections in 1996. So that’s still a bunch of data that applies even if we think something about the pre-polarization era was messing with how liberals, and not just Dems, voted.

                • DocAmazing says:

                  You want to see voting drop off among Dems? Tell them to shut up and get into line. Most Dems just do not play that. (Those further left definitely don’t.)

                • I am skeptical that one can really derive anything of value from election-to-election changes in the % of self-identified liberals who vote D, simply because the population of self-identified liberals is not itself a constant. Liberals were 22% of the electorate according to exit polls in 2008. They were 26% of the electorate according to exit polls in 2016. There’s all kinds of stories you can tell about this: liberals turned out in larger numbers, but some of those new voters supported Johnson or Stein; more moderate voters started identifying themselves as liberal, resulting in a slight dilution; opponents of the nominee were more likely to identify themselves as liberal because they thought that’s what it meant to be against her.

                  At the margins, you need to be very skeptical of voters’ identification of their own politics and that of others. 17% of voters wanted the next president to be more liberal, and 23% of them voted for Trump. That’s 4% of total voters who apparently thought Trump was a liberal.

        • EliHawk says:

          I’d say it’s less likely such stuff actually loses Dems the Governorship than that, by cutting down on the margin, they hurt down ticket in places that Dems need to do things like pick up House seats. The Spitzer landslide helped Dems pick up three House seats. There are a few seats in New York that could get targeted for the 2018 midterms, but if Dems are busy fighting each other, those could slip through our fingers.

    • rewenzo says:

      Even if I accept your premise, that Bernie Sanders running in the primary is causally related to HRC losing to Donald Trump, what are you suggesting here? No more primaries? Whoever declares that they want the position first, automatically gets the nomination?

      • stonetools says:

        Maybe just educating the voters that it’s important to unite behind the primary winner, rather than protesting the nomination by sitting out the election, writing in the primary loser, or voting third party? The Republicans understand this perfectly. After a 17 candidate primary struggle, they united smoothly and completely behind their horrible candidate. We unfortunately , did not unite behind our flawed, but qualified and far superior to Trump, candidate. Now Republican ratfucking & Russian disinformation explain much of the reason for disunity, but maybe we need to stress a lot more about the need for unity? It’s also time to explain to people that the “lesser evil is still evil” is a bullshit argument for not voting for the Democratic nominee.

        • JL says:

          It’s also time to explain to people that the “lesser evil is still evil” is a bullshit argument for not voting for the Democratic nominee.

          I agree that harm reduction voting is a good thing and more people should do it. I’m a bit puzzled as to why anyone would think that this hasn’t been explained already, and that people are failing to fall in line simply because of a lack of explaining. People have been harping on this for the entire duration of my political memory (I’m 31). And, well, given that the large majority of Dems who vote and the large majority of self-identified liberals who vote always vote for the Dem, most people who turn out to vote at all get this just fine. But there’s a core of remnants and non-voters (with a non-static membership, since every election there’s a set who have died since last time and a set who are newly eligible to vote) for which the same (largely correct) arguments repeated over and over have not worked, and if we want that set of potential votes we’re going to have to figure out other ways to organize those people.

          • stonetools says:

            Sadly , I think the Trump regime is going to drive this point home in a way no amount of jawboning will. When people see civil rights and reproductive rights go back to 1956 and a modern version of Operation Wetback implemented, they’re going to be left in no doubt as to how bad the greater evil can be. Let’s recall that liberals were completely satisfied with a 2008 platform much less liberal than the 2016 one.
            Even today , it hasn’t sunk in among those leftist third party voters just how much of a sh1t show things will be. My Twitter mentions are full of people who proudly voted third party and now are asking , ” How can we stop Trump?’ as if there was some magic trick to reverse the results of their non-vote for Clinton. Well, there isn’t any-and we will all feel the effects of that, just as how all of us had to to go through the results of another liberal protest in November 2000.

        • rewenzo says:

          The Republicans understand this perfectly. After a 17 candidate primary struggle, they united smoothly and completely behind their horrible candidate.

          I don’t think this is true. Yes, at the end of the day, Republican voters largely lined up behind Trump but to say that the Republican Party was a model of party unity ignores, among other things, a Senator giving an endorsement speech at the convention that didn’t mention the nominee’s name and told voters to vote their conscience, a speaker of the House who refused to campaign or be seen with the nominee, and open calls by Republican office holders in October for the nominee to resign.

          I also think that democrats by and large lined up behind Clinton. To the extent that some Sanders voters stayed home, unique to this election, left of center voters assumed Clinton had it in the bag, and felt freer to not vote, or vote their conscience than they ordinarily would be. (This is different than “Bush and Gore are the same.”) I don’t think this phenomenon will repeat itself.

          • stonetools says:

            The way to prevent the phenomenon from reoccurring again is to acknowledge what happened. Liberal disaffection with Clinton didn’t just happen. As far back as April 2015, both the NYT and Mother Jones wrote that right wing groups were attacking Clinton from the left and secretly seeding social media with articles & tweets saying that the Clintons were corrupt , greedy corporatists. The anti Clinton left uncritically adopted that meme and made it a major part of their attack on Clinton, pressing it up and even beyond the convention. By that point, the anti Clinton left was so committed to the narrative that it was impossible for them to unify behind Clinton, especially with the Russian/ Wikileaks disinformation campaign kicking in later on.
            Now will there be more ratfucking & disinformation come 2018 & 2020.? You should count on it because it worked. There will be more Russian hacking too. We can’t pretend that the stuff is “unique”. It will happen again, and we must guard against it.

      • Bill Murray says:

        I think the statement is, no one I don’t like should run against someone I do or the unliked person will get blamed.

  6. NewishLawyer says:

    Serious question, who is a Democratic and currently elected politician (beyond state rep) who risked political capital on fixing our broken public defender system?

    As far as I can tell, this issue is non-starter except among the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Also as far as I can tell, there is nothing about being a loyal Democratic voter or being liberal that corresponds to being soft on crime. Plenty of my liberal friends still post Amber Alerts on social media because it is “boosting the signal” and “you would want someone to do this if it was your kid” even if research shows that Amber alerts are largely ineffective and most of the kids are not in danger because Amber alerts usually are used in custody disputes gone horribly wrong.

    Teachout is a joke of a politician. She did surprisingly okay in her primary a few years ago but only won in the richer inner-ring suburbs of NYC and gentrified sections of NYC. Cuomo crushed her by winning the votes of most minorities who live in NYC. Something I suspect he could do again.

    • Happy Jack says:

      I can’t think of any who is presidential material. In this day and age you can’t appeal to the WWC by being seen as coddling criminals. This is smart politics on Cuomo’s part.

    • JL says:

      You can have sentimental, incorrect ideas about Amber Alerts and still believe in a strong indigent defense system (and other criminal justice system reform). I don’t see how those have anything to do with each other.

      • That fits. I’m still waiting for an answer from more knowledgeable commenters to my question above why Cuomo did this. If it was to project a “tough on crime” image, the man’s an idiot. Jailing the innocent does nothing to stop crime.

    • rewenzo says:

      As far as I can tell, this issue is non-starter except among the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

      Wasn’t this bill bipartisan?

      It seems to me that one of the benefits of living in New York (and god I hope there are some) is that policies “that are non-starters except among the liberal wing of the Democratic Party” have a fair chance of gaining currency and being enacted here. It’s a Democratic state.

      The other thing is I think there’s votes to be had from (1) recognizing the rights of the convicted and indicted and (2) letting them vote.

    • Bill Murray says:

      there is nothing about being a loyal Democratic voter or being liberal that corresponds to being soft on crime

      Is there anything about this bill that corresponds to being tough on crime?

    • Jordan says:

      Teachout is a joke of a politician. She did surprisingly okay in her primary a few years ago but only won in the richer inner-ring suburbs of NYC and gentrified sections of NYC

      This is a blatant lie, but keep going or something.

      • Lasker says:

        Right – she did better upstate than she did in any part of NYC. Perhaps most notably, she won Albany, backed by strong strong support from several Cuomo-hating unions there.

      • SIS1 says:

        She got more votes out of Manhattan than any other county, but that is purely the nature of voting in a NYS Dem. primary, and she lost Manhattan overall.

  7. BartletForGallifrey says:

    Sounds to me like he’ll be a flawed candidate when he runs for reelection.

  8. andrewlong says:

    What about Schneiderman? It’s the same path used by Cuomo and Spitzer, although neither had to mount a primary challenge. I think he’s seen as a strong Dem nationally, but is he any good at real politics?

    • EliHawk says:

      He seems positioning himself well enough and was compelling when I saw him at a NARAL fundraiser, but he’s smart enough to know that being the well-liked Dem AG in New York is a ticket to either the Senate or Governor’s office whenever either comes open, and about the only way he could fuck that up would be to try to primary someone who’s already there. Scheniderman’s secretly old (he’s 62 but doesn’t look it, actually 3 yrs older than Cuomo and 12 yrs older than Gillibrand) but he’s probably not impatient enough to do that when he could well walk into the Governor’s mansion in 2022.

      • kenjob says:

        i second your read on Schneiderman.

      • andrewlong says:

        Hmm, that makes a lot of sense, but I’m not sure he’s into playing that long game. Three terms as AG is abnormal these days, he’s going to be very old news by 2020, his window is closing. And assuming Cuomo does not run for, or does not win, presidency, why wouldn’t he run for 4th Albany term? Schneiderman would have the same prob then. His best play was to jump into Hillary’s admin, and second best is prob hoping/praying for 2020 Dem win.

        The longshot scenario could be wild: Gillibrand wins either Pres or VP, and Cuomo gets to appoint a replacement to serve until Nov. 2022. Not sure if he’d be legally able to appoint himself. But he could resign and have Hochul appoint him. If he didn’t go that route, would he choose Schneiderman? Or an elder statesman placeholder who would decline to run so Cuomo could? the intrigue would be kind of sickening.

  9. […] the thing about Andrew Cuomo. He will happily veto a bill that would grant the poor legal services and then just a few days later announce a plan for free college tuition at New York public […]

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