PROFESSOR QUESTIONS THAT I DIDN’T GET
Dear Professor: You’ve taught political science for a long time. I don’t always agree with you but I can mostly tolerate what you have to say. I do have a question about Andrew Cuomo. You keep saying that you think he’ll be re-elected but I don’t see why. Maybe your love for Cuomo’s father, Mario, is clouding your judgement. Cuomo is surrounded by graft and corruption like New York State has never seen before. Even if Andrew Cuomo had nothing to do with his corrupt friends, he was supervising them. Shouldn’t he be held accountable for their actions? Let’s not forget that he disbanded the Moreland Act Commission that he established to root out corruption and when it was getting too close to him, he dissolved it. Sure, he’s doing all the right progressive stuff now but for years he kept the reactionary Republicans in power in New York. My friend says that proved he was a wolf in lamb’s clothing. So, Professor, I just don’t get it. Why is Andrew Cuomo ahead in all the polls and why are you saying that he’ll win again? Sign me, Perplexed in Poughkeepsie.
Dear Perplexed: First of all, in my own defense, I have mentioned all of your points once or twice. It is the job of the political scientist to concentrate on what is as well as what ought to be. The simple explanation for why things are what they are is that Andrew Cuomo’s last name is Cuomo. His father was a beloved politician and respect for the old man is palpable, especially in New York City. Of course, you might say that the son and the father are very different and you might be right although there are those people who will tell you that Mario also kept the Republicans in power to keep a brake on the spendthrift Democrats in the Assembly. Then again, you didn’t see anything like the pattern of corruption in Papa Cuomo’s administration although some of the same crooks worked for him. Anyway, the real reason most people don’t know or care about Andrew’s failures as an administrator is that people in New York City’s five boroughs pay very little attention to what goes on in Albany. These folks know more about their City Council members than they do about state legislators.
Of course, Andrew Cuomo could lose this election just like his father lost to George Pataki all those years ago and like Joe Crowley lost to political novice Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Cynthia Nixon could just catch fire. While the pollsters all have Andrew way out in front of Nixon in the primary and ahead of Marcus Molinaro and Stephanie Miner in the general election, it should be remembered that Crowley was way ahead in the polls but lost by a huge margin. You had better believe that Andrew is losing some sleep over that scenario.
But because I am a political scientist I will tell you that it looks like Andrew will win again.
Dear Doctor: I am a fan of the Working Families Party. I think they reflect my liberal views better than the old-line Democrats who are presently running the state. It is my understanding that while their rank and file nominated Cynthia Nixon for governor, the unions who have the big money want Cuomo and may hold out to dump Nixon from the ballot. Now there is a movement to remove her as their candidate if she loses the Democratic primary to Cuomo. Can they do that? Sign me, Confused as ever.
Dear Confused: If she says no, it will be hard to get Nixon off the WFP ballot. Now with the pollsters being proven wrong about these races, Nixon is breathing new life into her campaign. It would be dastardly for the WFP to remove her.
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].