As each increasingly tragic and dangerous day passes it becomes more likely that Andrew Cuomo will be drafted to become the Democratic Party’s candidate come November. That is in part due to Cuomo’s ongoing stellar performance as New York’s and America’s de facto leader in response to Covid-19. In equal measure, Cuomo’s ascendancy results from the deficiencies exhibited by Trump and the pre-plague presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Biden’s failings are in the nature of things. We commented in HL 97 that his March 12 Covid-19 leadership speech was far superior to the President’s late, bumbling, wheezing and grudging admission that there is a problem. But Biden is a melting ice cube. Those of us who have closely watched as time ravaged the once sharp or even brilliant minds of loved ones and colleagues, recognize what is happening to the good soldier Joe.
With Trump there’s never a last straw. Never a lowest point. He’s the spoiler to Kelvin’s (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius) absolute zero. He’s the quantum mechanical deviation from Einstein’s elegant general relativity. Trump’s only temporary new low was reached with his “We’re not a shipping clerk” expectoration at the states and their governors in response to their urgent requests for tests, ventilators, masks and other things needed to protect and treat their residents. Plus Trump’s failure to use the Defense Production Act to obtain things that are needed to combat the virus.
Andrew really emerged on March 9 when he calmly reassured New Yorkers that the state’s prisons were producing better hand sanitizer than the price-gouged commercial sanitizers that are being horded. Every day since, Cuomo has increased his calm but forceful presence and response to the dangerous shortage of medical material and to logistical challenges. He has become the leading governor among a group that has performed well in response to and anticipation of Trump’s failures. A President who both tells them to take care of this job themselves and lashes out when they do that. As he did when calling Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee a “snake” (soon after Pence had praised the governor’s response to the cluster of infections and deaths in the Seattle area). And as he did when charging Cuomo with “political weaponization” of his response to the crisis.
The clearest sign that Trump and his handlers see Cuomo as an emerging threat to the president and his chances for reelection came in the news conference they held on March 22. Trump repeatedly lauded Cuomo and New York for its crisis management and partnership with the federal government. Trump even read a list of items being provided to New York State and warbled the exact number of each item provided. Andrew took note, as will the 4750 delegates to the Democratic convention, or at least the sentient among them will.