Thingish Things

Cuomo Democrats?

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 21•11

Could Andrew Cuomo be reshaping the Democratic Party?

If he’s successful, I don’t know how he doesn’t. And that could have a significant impact on the local and national political dynamic moving forward.

A triumphant Governor Cuomo could potentially create a widely appealing fiscally responsible wing in the Democratic Party, a pragmatic wing that has been missing for a long, long time.

That would be a huge challenge for a Republican Party – Northeast Republicans in particular – struggling to regain its historic identity. It would leave Republicans in non-federal elections only social issues with which to compete, and those issues, however ardently felt by conservative voters, are electoral losers.

The whole ball of wax, of course, is young voters.  And with the fiscal challenges they face – they’re stuck with the bill for our orgy of spending and borrowing – fiscal conservatism should, eventually, necessarily even, appeal to them.

Younger voters tend to be socially libertarian. They do not remember a time when abortion wasn’t legal, and a growing majority support Gay marriage. The combination of fiscal conservatism and social libertarianism seems custom-tailored to them.

Lots of Northeast Republicans I know have talked about cutting a Party of this cloth for years – one that is socially neutral and fiscally exacting.  I don’t know a single Republican, though, who expected that platform to come from a Democrat.

It is still too early to tell if Governor Cuomo will succeed in his mission.  He is, right now, nose-to-nose with the powerful public service unions, and it will be all-telling to see who blinks.

If it’s the unions, lots of things could change.

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  1. Michael Benjamin says:

    Clinton found great success as a (somewhat) fiscal conservative. So did John Kennedy. Even Gov. Jerry Brown, in his first term back in the 70s, was considered by some conservatives more fiscally conservative than his predecessor, Ronald Reagan. So, I think your column is right on the money. If Cuomo can rein in spending and make NY business and family friendly, it will be very hard for the GOP to compete. A big if, but if that’s his goal, then I hope he succeeds.

  2. Good call, Michael.

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