Today Zephyr Teachout, a total underdog in the September New York primary for Governor against Andrew Cuomo, found herself in Supreme Court in Brooklyn to testify about her residency. NY law requires that Governor candidates live in the Empire State for 5 years before running; Cuomo says she hasn't been living here long enough. In response, Teachout says she moved to NYC in 2009 when she was hired to teach at Fordham Law School and that the lawsuit is frivolous.
The lawsuit is a culmination of Cuomo's campaign to get Teachout off the ballot. In July Cuomo protesters started to showed up at Teachout's rallies. Then there were the subpoenas. And now, trial testimony.
It's an odd circumstance when Governor Andrew Cuomo, the overwhelming favorite in the gubernatorial election decides to go after a candidate who represents little threat. You probably never heard of Teachout. In fact, 91 per cent of New Yorkers never heard of her.
But now you have.
Teachout is a law professor at Fordham. Her running mate, Tim Wu, is a law professor at Columbia who is credited with inventing the phrase "net neutrality."
Teachout served as the Director of Internet Organizing for the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign. Until some recent press in the Nation and the NY Times, she was virtually unknown. Let's face it: unless you're a governmental corruption law groupie or one of her students or a former Dean supporter, you don't know her name.
She has great outsider credentials. Including the seeming anonymity. And this is all part of a story that you can now help write, of upset of a corrupt favorite, surprises, righteousness, excitement, progressivism.
But wait. First some details. Zephyr Teachout has a lot going for her, the best part, why she's running. She says:
The system is rigged, and Andrew Cuomo is part of the broken system. We are running to lay out a bold vision and provide a real choice for voters. New York can have an economy that works for all of us — not one which works only for the wealthy and well connected. We believe in a New York where wages are rising, small businesses are thriving and our public schools are the best in the nation.Sounds good to me. With a potential federal indictment beclouding Cuomo's future, corruption running rampant in Albany (this is nothing new), and the chance to end the cycle of impunity that has dominated state government for decades, please consider backing a wonderful underdog and making the upcoming election a real debate about actual issues that matter.
We are not Albany insiders, but we believe Governor Cuomo and Kathy Hochul can be beat, and must be challenged. We will force Governor Cuomo to defend his record of deep education cuts, his tax cuts for banks and billionaires, his refusal to ban fracking and his failure to lead on the Dream Act. He has also failed to deliver on his core campaign promise from four years ago: cleaning up Albany.
Governor Cuomo and his corporate backers are going to come after us, and we need to know we can count on your support - can we count on you?
The NY Times finally noticed Teachout's campaign and is, sadly, so disparaging of her chances. To no one's surprise. It reports:
Lawrence Lessig, the eminent legal academic and advocate of campaign finance reform, has called Ms. Teachout’s bid “the most important money-in-politics race of the year.” As her running mate, Ms. Teachout chose another celebrated legal theorist, the Columbia professor Tim Wu.In other words, we're not even going to get to the other parts of her platform. Cannot even nod toward them, let alone enumerate them in the Times. So it goes in the world of political dismissals. So you don't hear about her views about Wall Street and income inequality and housing and the zillion other issues that face New Yorkers.
In some sense, Ms. Teachout’s emphasis on corruption has kept her in a cycle of inefficiency. It is what has caused the media to pay attention to her, so she has kept talking about it, but voters don’t vote as much from a place of outrage over this or that duplicity or brazen exchange as they do from a sense that prevailing economic paradigms have abused them. And it is not always the case that they see the connection between the two.
Corruption, as Don Levy, the director of the Siena Research Institute, told me, “isn’t something that really adheres.” When voters are surveyed, they typically say that they regard corruption as commonplace, which is also to say that they regard it as part of the atmosphere, like humidity in August, immune to undoing. In a recent Siena poll, 65 percent of voters said that they were never surprised when another state legislator in New York was indicted, and that they believed lawmakers “do what’s best for them.”
And so, Zephyr Teachout needs some serious outreach and some serious campaign help to make this the campaign we deserve, to make there be an actual debate, about the issues, rather than the current courtroom circus about the period of her residence.
And, you knew this was coming, she needs some money. Some of your money. You've done this before. You did it for Howard Dean, now do it for Zephyr Teachout. Tiny amounts and lots of them. Amounts small enough that it won't hurt. Here's the link: https://zephyrteachout.nationbuilder.com/....
Join me in my excitement about this candidacy. It has been forever since New York has had such a wonderful progressive candidate and a chance for a serious discussion of the actual issues. Let's take Albany out of the back rooms, out of the courthouses, let the sun shine in and let's make this important discussion happen.