By Alan S. Chartock | August 29, 2020

From time to time, I hear from people on the streets, on the phone and in the mail. I’ve made a composite of a couple of their questions, so here goes:

Dear Doctor: I recently heard from you that Governor Cuomo, who is at the peak of his popularity, has less and less of a chance of being elected president, an opportunity that was denied to his father. You speak to him occasionally, so I ask you — has he forever given up his chances for the presidency? After all, I’m assuming that Kamala Harris will be in a position to be our first woman president. Could Cuomo really primary her? Does he even harbor the ambition to be president? What say you? Sign me, Sasha in Schenectady.

Dear Sasha: Does a bear walk in the woods? Does Andrew, one of the most talented and ambitious politicians in the country, have any ambition to be president? He will deny that proposition until the moment he actually runs. First, Biden has to win. I think that is very likely to happen. Then Biden will have to stick to his early suggestion that he may only serve for one term. That was something that he allegedly said early on in the primary season when things weren’t looking too good for him. A lot can happen between now and then. Andrew is a very ambitious man and somehow, he has gotten himself to be one of, if not THE, most popular Democratic politicians in America. Like his father, Mario, this prince knows how to be patient and think through the combinations and permutations that would be necessary for him to grab the gold ring.

Sasha, he’ll run if he can and by no means should you count him out. It will be particularly interesting to see whether he eventually accepts a top position in a Biden administration. If, God forbid, something should happen to Biden, that will open up the vice presidency and I would have to believe that Andrew would be at the top of the list of those who might be appointed by then President Harris. Should the presidency shift back to the Republicans after a Biden presidency, the door would be open for an older but very much still in-there Andrew.

Dear Doctor: When are those dumb Republican senators going to show some backbone? Are they completely without honor or the ability to do what’s right? In a few weeks when they lose the Senate, it will be their fault. Are they so stupid that they don’t see what’s coming? I read you from out of state, so sign me Beulah from Baltimore. By the way, my friend tells me that I have crush on you, but I read that you have been married to the same beautiful woman fort almost fifty years! How lucky can one woman be?

Dear Beulah: It is I who is lucky. She agrees and she is right. She is always there for me no matter what those people who hate my guts say. In any case, back to your question. The Republican members of the Senate are between a rock and a hard place. They MUST know that Trump is a jerk who seems determined to kill American democracy and poison their planet.

I’m sure they go home and shake their heads after hearing one of Trump’s outrageous statements. They have got to see his love of Vladimir Putin and his obvious inability to get out of Russia’s grasp. But if they say that, the so-called Republican base will vote them out of office. They would rather die with the word “Senator” on their tombstone than exhibit guts, wisdom and courage. There really are times to do the right thing and say, “To hell with it.” I take it you get all of that!


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].