Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said twice over the past six months in no uncertain terms that he will not run for president, and as recently as Wednesday opined that former Vice President Joseph Biden is the best qualified member of the current field of potential candidates. Yet even as those remarks about Biden broke, there was the gov on the cover of the New York Daily News above the headline “Cuomo 2020.”
The reason the governor can’t escape the speculation that he will run for president is that, while he has discouraged it with words, he has in deeds done everything in his power to fuel it.
The fact is, on paper at least, Cuomo has as strong a case to be a viable presidential candidate as just about anyone in the current field of potential Democratic candidates. He’s a former cabinet secretary who is headed into his fourth term in statewide office in the fourth-largest state in the country, a prodigious fundraiser, a pol who has skillfully navigated his party’s shift to the left, a policymaker with real achievements to point to, an executive in a presidential field dominated now by legislators. There’s a lot to stop Cuomo from becoming a leading candidate, let alone the nominee or the president, and there are huge questions about his past and his present that he’d have to answer if he jumped in, but you could have said that about just everyone who’s run for president since George Washington, and you could certainly say that about everyone who might run now.
Sure, Cuomo probably won’t run. Still, as I argued on yesterday’s WBAI Max & Murphy show, analyzing whether Andrew Cuomo could or should is a way to talk about what it is exactly that we feel a person needs to be to have a shot at the presidency in 2020. What material is needed for a person to win and also govern well?
We receive most of our presidential candidates as finished political products, painted in the broadest of strokes. On the contrary, like him or loathe him, New Yorkers have seen Cuomo grow up and watched his development in granular detail. And so it’s worth asking whether or not he has a shot, if only so we can apply those same tests to others who decide to take one.
Hear Ben Max and I hash out below, or listen to the full program, where we also discuss the race for public advocate and talk with candidate Rafael Espinal.
Cuomo for President?: