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Usually, when a CEO severely underperforms peers, he or she is fired or handed a gold watch and given a quick retirement party. In the Democratic Party, a rotten performance is a qualification for the presidency.
I’m referring to the bizarre infatuation inside Democratic circles with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a possible replacement for Joe Biden at the top of the ticket. Democratic operatives are increasingly nervous that the party has tethered itself to a fatally flawed nominee. Cuomo is now heralded as the sure bet to beat President Donald Trump this November.
The love affair began when Cuomo began holding nationally televised addresses on the state of affairs with the coronavirus in the Empire State. The media fawned: He is so eloquent, so smart, so charming, so factual. He is everything, they gushed, that Trump is not.
Except they forgot something. Cuomo has arguably the worst record of any governor in America, and his decade-long tenure as governor has driven the New York economy into a ditch.
No state has lost more people since 2010, the year Cuomo was first elected governor, than New York. More than 1.2 million more people have left the state than have moved there. Its economy might have fizzled as factories, businesses and capital have fled for lower tax climates. Even before the virus, downstate New York started to resemble the Rust Belt state of West Virginia.
The fiscal mismanagement of the state under Cuomo is legendary. New York spends almost twice as much per resident on state and local government services than Florida, even though the two states have roughly the same population size. By most standards, public services at half the cost are better in Florida. New York also has triple the debt burden as Florida.
Democrats seem to love the idea of making America look more like New York, but good luck convincing Middle America of that idea.
Then there is the governor’s handling of the health emergency. This supposed stellar governor’s policies didn’t stop New York from having almost as many deaths as the other 49 states combined. His mishandling of the nursing homes allowed thousands of seniors to die. Two-thirds of the deaths in recent weeks have been in these senior centers. He isolated the seniors, so when they were on their deathbeds, they couldn’t be with their loved ones.
Cuomo’s most grievous error was keeping the New York subway open even as it became clear these trains were the single largest transmitters of the virus. The Big Apple would soon become the epicenter of the disease.
Still, the drumbeat for a Cuomo candidacy marches on. It is reminiscent of dreams liberals had in the 1980s of another New York governor becoming president: Mario Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo’s father. That never panned out, but don’t count out the ambitions of the son.
If Cuomo does end up crowbarring Biden out of the picture, the happiest guy in the country will be none other than Trump.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy.”
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