Want to Un­der­stand Gov. An­drew Cuomo?

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Alan Char­tock Capi­tol Con­nec­tion

If you want to un­der­stand An­drew Cuomo, you have to know two ba­sic facts about his quest for the fourth term that he told me he was go­ing to seek.

The first truth is that he loved and hon­ored his late fa­ther, Mario. You’ll re­call that Mario Cuomo was de­nied a fourth term as gov­er­nor, prob­a­bly be­cause his re­elec­tion came in 1994, a ter­ri­ble year for the Democrats. The sec­ond fact is that An­drew had not only a love for his fa­ther but also a com­pet­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with him.

Win­ning a fourth term would be a way to honor his old man and at the same time, prove to the world that he could do what his fa­ther could not.

There are real dan­gers with try­ing to win a fourth term. The first is that of­ten peo­ple sim­ply get tired and are ready to try some­thing new. It might that is just how Don­ald Trump won his pres­i­dency although that may be ar­gued vig­or­ously, con­sid­er­ing the fact that he was whipped by Hil­lary Clin­ton in the straight in­di­vid­ual vote count by al­most three mil­lion votes.

Nev­er­the­less, un­der the rules a win is a win. Un­less An­drew loses a pri­mary elec­tion, it is doubtful that he could lose in blue state New York. If Don­ald Trump wins re­elec­tion in 2020, it is hard to be­lieve that New York vot­ers will not be ready to dump Trump at any cost. What’s more, An­drew Cuomo will cer­tainly be a can­di­date for pres­i­dent in 2024 and will be the new hope for Democrats who will rally to his ban­ner.

It will be for that rea­son that Tough Guy An­drew will be one of the few Democrats who can best any Repub­li­can in a bid for the high­est of­fice in the land.

If, on the other hand, Trump loses in 2020, that will give his Demo­cratic con­queror a po­ten­tial for eight years in the White House. That will make for tough sled­ding for An­drew. An­drew will have to do ev­ery­thing in his power to en­sure that he will win a fourth term.

We al­ready see the out­lines of his plan.

First, he will have to raise such a vast amount of money that no one can com­pete for tele­vi­sion, ra­dio and in­ter­net time. He is al­ready on his way to do­ing just that. Prac­ti­cally ev­ery time you turn around, you see An­drew rais­ing money. Any ex­cuse, from birth­day par­ties to good old­fash­ioned fundrais­ers, will do and the donors will be lin­ing up to buy tick­ets and of­fer sup­port.

Let there be no mis­take — hu­man na­ture dic­tates that if you want some­thing from govern­ment, you kick in. As Dean Ske­los and Shelly Sil­ver have shown us, any­one who is play­ing this par­tic­u­lar fundrais­ing game had bet­ter be very care­ful not to do any­thing that a jury might con­strue was de­signed as a quid pro quo ar­range­ment. I sus­pect that An­drew is way too smart for that. He will be very care­ful about that although sev­eral of his for­mer aides, headed by Joe Per­coco and Todd Howe, did take a ma­jor fall af­ter they got greedy.

The sec­ond way Cuomo will come out vic­to­ri­ous is to make sure that folks like Work­ing Fam­i­lies Party will not run any­one against him in a pri­mary as they have in the past. You do that by chang­ing the rules so that the WFP will not qual­ify for bal­lot ac­cess. It looks like Cuomo and his hench­man, Jay Jacobs, are do­ing ex­actly that.

When you ask why this is nec­es­sary, you see that An­drew just doesn’t want the WFP to do to him what they did last time and run some­one against him.

Of course, he may not run but he sure can’t say that. There is al­ways a host of other pos­si­bil­i­ties like U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral or Sec­re­tary of State. Hey, you never know.

Alan Char­tock is pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at the State Univer­sity of New York, pub­lisher of the Leg­isla­tive Gazette and pres­i­dent and CEO of the WAMC North­east Pub­lic Ra­dio Net­work. Read­ers can email him at [email protected]

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