Politics in New York resembles a Game of Thrones.
Rabid ideologues clash with pragmatic progressives in a fierce power struggle over governance of both city and state.
Last year, when called upon to expunge the statue of Christopher Columbus from Gotham’s skyline — and the pages of history — Gov. Andrew Cuomo crossed swords with feckless New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, defying the false gods of revisionism and declaring: Not today. And not ever.
In 2018, Cynthia Nixon relied on identity politics, a far-left agenda and her fame as a thespian to mount an ultimately futile gubernatorial primary campaign to wrest the gubernatorial Democratic nomination away from the governor.
Like Bill de Blasio, Nixon failed miserably.
In honoring his Italian heritage, championing Western civilization and defeating the uber-ideological wing of his party, Cuomo paved the way for a possible White House bid. Though Mario Cuomo missed his rendezvous with presidential destiny in 1992, the current governor of the Empire State is well positioned to make a full-throttle run for the Rose Garden in 2020.
Cuomo the younger values performance over populism. That is, he favors solid accomplishments over sturm und drang identity politics. This leitmotif combines the legal acumen of Ferdinand Pecora with Niccolo` Machiavelli’s virtu`.
From the Excelsior Scholarship program to gun-control legislation to LGBTQ rights to infrastructure revitalization and environmental protection, the governor has demonstrated profoundly astute leadership. What’s more, by persuading IBM, Intel, Samsung, Globalfoundries and TSMC to spend $4.4 billion in New York, Cuomo has also laid the groundwork for making the state a global nanotechnology center in the 21st century.
And in lauding New York’s fabled diversity, Andrew Cuomo has cited e pluribus unum — “Out of many, one.” But America’s national motto is not just a point of pride for the Empire State. It derives from the governor’s ancestral Italian roots in antiquity’s Pax Romana.
While he may never attain the rhetorical heights of his eloquent paterfamilias, Andrew Cuomo remains utterly sui generis: a pragmatic progressive untethered to ideological orthodoxies.
He takes immense pride in the august Italian jurisprudential tradition — and in the blood, sweat and toil of his grandparents who first made the trek to America.
Such cultural bona fides would play well in Potsdam, Patchogue and, yes, Peoria.
Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election created a void in the Democratic Party. Enter Gov. Cuomo.
A contest between Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump calls to mind Marcus Aurelius’s timeless juxtaposition: “A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.”
By Rosario A. Iaconis is an Italian Heritage Educator at Suffolk County Community College