Why I Won't Vote for Andrew Cuomo
Now, Cuomo is a Democrat. He is rightly concerned that state government in New York is a mess. But look at who he blames and how he hopes to remedy the situation. According to The Times, Cuomo: "will mount a presidential-style permanent political campaign to counter the well-financed labor unions he believes have bullied previous governors and lawmakers into making bad decisions. He will seek to transform the state’s weak business lobby into a more formidable ally, believing that corporate leaders in New York have virtually surrendered the field to big labor." Are you kidding? First of all his diagnosis is, at best, tendentious. Like our local 800 pound gorilla Tom Golisano (corporate honcho, charitable benefactor and all around windbag), who has run for governor himself as an independent, Cuomo wants to blame everything on the unions. Second, he wants to invite in corporate interests as a remedy. This is a Democrat? Unfortunately, yes.
Let's not pretend that the public sector unions in New York are flawless. They surely are not. But if Cuomo wants to tackle the corruption and dysfunction in Albany he might try a more direct route - propose and push through institutional reform. Change the rules of the legislative process that make the state government about as undemocratic a governmental entity as you will find in the United States. According to this 2004 report from the Brennan Center at NYU Law School, the structure of state government is more or less wholly anti-democratic. (Nothing much has changed since the report was issued.) Consider some examples. The Speaker of the House and the Leader of the Senate exercise more or less dictatorial powers, including over the legislative calendar and the staffing budgets of individual lawmakers. The committee structure, such as it is, does nothing to promote examination of and debate over legislative proposals. There is no operative system of conference committees to resolve disagreements between the two chambers. The problem with state government, in other words, starts at home, with a constitutional structure that actively invites corruption and gridlock. And I am willing to bet that that structure was not put in place by public sector unions. It surely pre-dates their ascendancy. The venality and corruption in Albany are political in the narrowest possible sense. I also am willing to bet - and the article in The Times supports this suspicion - that Cuomo will do nothing to address the institutional problems of state government.
Since Cuomo is a sure winner in the election, I plan to vote for the Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins. Further down the ballot I'll vote my usual Working Families Party line.