New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) is dismissing the burgeoning contingent of self-described democratic socialists successfully running for office under the Democratic Party’s banner as a “fluke.”
The governor, fresh off a resounding victory against a more progressive challenger in New York’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, made the remarks on Friday while discussing with reporters the efforts his state is undertaking to mitigate the damage by Hurricane Florence, according to the Associated Press.
Cuomo was asked about attacks his primary opponent, former “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon, made in the midst of the campaign accusing him of being insufficiently progressive. The governor expressed he came “from the most progressive tradition in the Democratic Party.”
“I think I received more votes in the Democratic primary than any governor in history,” Cuomo said. “I am from the most progressive tradition in the Democratic Party. My father was a progressive when they called progressives liberals.”
Cuomo is the oldest son of the late Mario Cuomo, who as governor of New York during the 1980s endeared himself to liberals for vigorously denouncing the policies of the Reagan administration. The younger Cuomo, however, has not aroused the same sentiments since taking office in 2011, with some astute political observers believing he would be vulnerable from a progressive challenge this year.
Such beliefs were proved to be unfounded on Thursday as Cuomo easily dispatched Nixon by over 30 percentage points in the Democratic primary.
Nixon, who received wide-sweeping media attention and had success in out-flanking Cuomo on issues like universal health care and immigration, failed to make inroads with voters across the expansive state. Even in heavily liberal New York City, where Nixon was speculated to be strongest, Cuomo routed the actress with his margin of victory being as high as 40 percentage points in some boroughs. As noted by the final vote tally, Cuomo improved on his 2014 primary performance, when he faced a lesser known opponent with fewer resources.
On Friday, only hours after securing victory, Cuomo declared the results provided a “very loud and clear and powerful statement” that Democrats valued “real help” over “abstract solutions.”
“They have real problems and they need real help in life. And they don’t need theoretical and abstract solutions,” Cuomo said.
Although the governor occasionally attempted to emulate the rhetoric of fiery progressives during the Democratic primary, Cuomo lambasted the notion anyone could mistake him for a “socialist,” especially considering he was “not 25 years old” nor a political “newcomer.”
“I’m not a socialist. I’m not 25 years old … I’m not a newcomer … but I am progressive, and I delivered progressive results,” Cuomo said.
He further added that progressive victories, like those exhibited by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year, were a “fluke” and elected officials associated with the Democratic Party’s establishment had nothing to fear from young insurgents. Cuomo cited as proof the fact that he bested Nixon in the congressional district Ocasio-Cortez is vying to represent.
Despite Nixon’s failure to unseat Cuomo, several progressive insurgents running for the New York State Senate defeated entrenched incumbents. The most high-profile victory was that of Julia Salazar, who identifies as a Democratic socialist.