Public polling shows huge discontent with Gov. Andrew Cuomo among Democrats, with about half of them defecting to a Working Families Party candidate. That still puts Cuomo comfortably in the lead, but creates a dogfight between the GOP and WFP for second place.
It's actually worse for the GOP, as their candidate is also on the Conservative Party ballot line, giving Tea Party-types a non-GOP option to vote for their nominee. And since we're talking Republicans, they are also stupid, creating yet another ballot line for their guy Rob Astorino. The more non-GOP lines conservatives have to vote for Astorino, the fewer votes the Republican Party ballot line will have. Crazy huh?
But not as crazy as the WFP, which appears dead set on squandering this opportunity to achieve major party status by ... well, read this:
Eager to show they are serious about fielding a rival to Mr. Cuomo, the party’s leaders have in recent weeks been suggesting numerous candidates, including Diane Ravitch, the education historian, who has become an outspoken critic of charter schools and standardized testing.Ravitch seems like a compelling option (stuff like this is encouraging). Teachout, on the other hand, feels like a bad joke.
On Wednesday, a new possibility surfaced: Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor and author who has written on combating political corruption and the influence of money in politics.
If the name sounds familiar to you, it's because she was Howard Dean's internet director back in the day. Now, she's a law professor at Fordham. In between, she accused me of being bought off by the Dean campaign and not disclosing it, both charges being patently false. Still, her accusations allowed every right-wing asshole to pile on for weeks and gave the media a "both sides do it!" narrative in the wake of the Armstrong Williams scandal.
So yes, I'm bitter. I think I have a right to be. (And factor that into what I'm saying next.) But the bigger problem is that a Teachout nomination would surrender this historic opportunity to relegate the GOP to minority party status, and I want that BAD. So bad in fact, that given the circumstances, I was seriously considering a first-time strategic defection from the Democratic Party. Instead of giving people an inspiring accomplished personality to rally around, the "leading candidate" is someone with zero name ID, no candidate experience, and utterly lacking the heft and accomplishments necessary to spark a movement.
A Teachout nomination (choice is being made this weekend) would say "we're not seriously contesting this," and that would be great news for Andrew Cuomo AND the New York GOP.