This column was written on April 2, so don’t confuse it for an April Fools’ joke. Cuomo really could win. Even if he just sat there, old-school style, and waited to be drafted.
His popularity has soared due to his skill at handling daily news briefings. Although New York state has the worst record in the country — tied with Italy for the worst in the world — his performance on television is comforting, human, competent and reassuring. His appearances with his brother, stricken by the virus, let us into the Cuomo family, a compelling soap opera.
Whether he is responsible for New York’s horrible health record or delayed acting when he should have (he only just this week closed playgrounds) is a debate for another day.
But his 71 percent approval rating in New York speaks for itself and is likely being replicated in other states as they watch him on network TV.
And the math shows he could be tapped to replace Biden, even over Joe’s furious objections.
With 1,991 delegates needed to win the nomination, here’s how the count now stands:
So a “draft Cuomo” movement could succeed. There are enough unselected delegates and enough time.
Fifteen states have postponed their primaries amid the virus and others are likely to follow. This is the revised primary schedule:
April 7: Wisconsin
April 10: Alaska
April 17: Wyoming
April 26: Puerto Rico
April 28: Ohio
May 2: Guam, Kansas
May 12: Nebraska
May 19: Georgia, Oregon
May 22: Hawaii
June 2: Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota
June 6: Virgin Islands
June 9: West Virginia
June 20: Louisiana
June 23: Kentucky, New York
So June 2 is the new Super Tuesday with 686 delegates to be selected. That is in addition to 565 that will be chosen, largely by mail ballots, between now and then.
New York, Cuomo’s bastion, has delayed its selection until June 23, the last in the country. Its 274 delegates will, of course, go overwhelmingly for Cuomo. Did he purposely make New York last for that reason??
The filing deadline in all states has passed. It could be reopened by the an act of the legislature or, in some cases, by the governor or the secretary of state.
But Cuomo doesn’t need to be on the ballot. A write-in campaign could sweep the country, harvesting not only delegates but enough of a popular mandate that the party elders couldn’t say no.
These “elders” are, of course, the superdelegates. While now bound by party rules to vote on the first ballot as their states have voted, those rules could be changed and they could provide a considerable boost to the nomination.
Cuomo could run a 19th-century front porch campaign, not electioneering or even declaring his candidacy. All he has to do to throw his hat in the ring is to not issue a Shermanesque statement. (William Tecumseh Sherman, the great Union general, famously closed the door on his potential candidacy in 1884 by saying, in more words, “If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.”)
But don’t think those words are coming from Cuomo’s lips anytime soon.
All of this momentum for Cuomo is due, of course, to Biden’s stumbling absent performance during the crisis. He has been mute. It’s as if he weren’t a candidate — just an elder statesman and observer. And the difference between his passivity and Cuomo’s and Trump’s activism has not gone unnoticed.
Would Cuomo stand a better chance of beating Trump? Yes. Would he win? Stay tuned.
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