Election 2020

Andrew Cuomo Can't (And Won't) Save the Democrats From Joe Biden

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says, "We can hold them for this long but that's it." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Even though the Democratic primary is kind of in limbo right now, it’s clear that the nomination is Biden’s for the taking. He’s refusing any more debates, and coverage of the coronavirus pandemic is overshadowing all things 2020 presidential election. Biden can’t compete with Trump in terms of getting media coverage, and the only person getting less attention than Biden right now is Bernie Sanders, who is apparently still running… I guess. As it stands now, Biden is the likely nominee, and that, understandably, has some Democrats nervous. His cognitive decline, while often a punchline for those of us covering his campaign, is seemingly less of a joke to those evaluating his chances to defeat Trump in November.

Naturally, when the media decided to turn New York Governor Andrew Cuomo into Trump’s foil during the coronavirus pandemic, his national profile increased, and many saw him as the savior from the disaster that will become Biden’s candidacy, should he be the nominee. Over the past couple of weeks, a Draft Cuomo movement has emerged. This, in my opinion, reflects more on the weakness of Biden than the strength of Cuomo. But Biden is the one whom Democrats chose, largely on his perceived electability, no less. If the Democratic Party managed to ditch Biden for Cuomo, it would likely do more harm than good.

Andrew Cuomo hasn’t been on the national stage long. He is unvetted, and a national campaign for president would force him to leave behind his gubernatorial duties to campaign. What kind of campaign can he launch when the nation is in a virtual lockdown? He can’t hold rallies. He can’t connect with voters. He’d be stuck doing exactly what Biden is now: video podcasting from his basement.

Cuomo can’t be a candidate for president while coordinating the state of New York’s response to the coronavirus, which means that the very thing that thrust him into the national spotlight would be gone the moment he becomes a candidate. Cuomo most likely has presidential aspirations, but he’s most certainly looking at 2024, not 2020.

The governor himself insisted he is not going to run for president this year in a terribly awkward exchange with his brother Chris Cuomo on CNN:

Normally, I don’t believe much of what he says, but I think in this case, he is actually telling the truth. He has no chance to build up a national organization in the middle of a pandemic that has virtually shut down the country.

So, Democrats are going to have to come to grips with the fact that they chose Biden. Cuomo would be silly to turn his back on the state that is currently giving him high marks for his response to the coronavirus in order to run for president during what is clearly an impossible time to challenge an incumbent president. Cuomo won’t run for president now. They’re pretty much stuck with Biden or Sanders… and it looks even worse for Sanders than Biden at this point.


Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis