When I analyzed the long-shot possibilities of progressive Zephyr Teachout winning the Democratic primary for New York governor a few days back, I made a huge analytical mistake. I forgot that the Working Families Party has already nominated Andrew Cuomo for Governor, so even if Teachout should pull off the miracle of miracles and defeat Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York state, Cuomo will still be on the ballot come November.
There is no telling what could happen: New York is the bluest of blue states, so many voters may vote the Democratic party line, no matter who the candidate is. Cuomo’s name recognition may swing the election his way. Cuomo already has $23 million in his election kitty. The national Democratic fundraising machine may do nothing for Teachout.
Or Teachout and Cuomo may split the votes, swinging the election to conservative Republican Rob Astorino. Most progressives believe that electing Astorino as Governor would be an unmitigated disaster.
On the surface it seems as if New York progressives better vote for Cuomo or risk Astorino.
But consider the facts: Both Cuomo and Astorino are for fracking. Both are for lower taxes for businesses and against higher taxes for the wealthy. Both support union-busting charter schools. Hasn’t Cuomo just spent four years playing ball with Republican state legislators? It is true that Cuomo is much better on social issues than Astorino, but it’s New York we’re talking about. No one is messing with a woman’s right to an abortion and no one is taking away the hard earned right of gays to marry. Evolution and climate change will be taught in the public schools.
Consider, too, that Cuomo has refused to debate Teachout and has said that debates can be a disservice to democracy. This kind of fascist double-talk in and of itself should disqualify Cuomo from our consideration.
In her career and political life, Zephyr Teachout has never swayed from standard progressive positions on the environment, the economy, social issues and education. She is a true progressive who deserves the votes of those opposed to fracking and charter schools, and in favor of more support of education and alternative energy and government policies that promote job growth and an equitable distribution of wealth.
Progressives in New York have an historic opportunity to send a real message not just to New York state but to the country that we want policies that lead to economic equality, higher wages, more jobs, smaller classrooms, lower tuition, more unionized workers, alternative energy development, more mass transit and a cleaner environment. It’s easy for the ruling elite to ignore and invalidate a series of demonstrations like the Occupy movement. But they can’t turn their backs on the voters—that is, if we vote.
Because of the national implications of the New York state primary race for governor, I’m proposing a national campaign by progressives to “Reach Out for Teachout.”
To be part of Reach Out for Teachout, all you have to do is identify every New York state resident among your friends and family and contact all of them about Teachout by email, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Ask all of the New York residents in your vast (or not so vast) network to vote for Teachout on September 9 in the Democratic primary election. And tell them to tell all of their friends to vote for Teachout.
Starting with OpEdge readers, maybe Reach Out for Teachout will go viral. We have seen the power of social media to aid in revolutions in other countries. Maybe it can help start a revolution by vote in the United States. First beat Cuomo, then beat Astorino. Put the Democratic Party and our elected officials across the country on notice that we expect policies that help others than just the top one percent of the wealth ladder.
I urge you to work your lists and get out the New York vote for Teachout, even if you live in Duluth or New Orleans.
Reach Out for Teachout.