Last election season, Bill de Blasio rode a reinvigorated progressive voting bloc to an improbable victory, casting aside his more mainstream opponents and aligning himself with a truly progressive city council. Now, less than a year later, liberal New York City politicians have turned on the Frankenstein they've created, a monster who wants to keep voting for progressives, no matter how much the town leaders warn against it. Tim Wu bad, they tell him, but he (or she, or Z) does not listen.
Over the weekend, it became clear that Andrew Cuomo considers the possibility of a Tim Wu victory in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor next week to be very real indeed. So real in fact, that his operatives were rumored to be exploring ways to drop his chosen candidate, Kathy Hochul, from the ticket. Cuomo is sticking with his pick, however, and has focused the last frantic days of the campaign on getting NYC progressives to vote for Hochul, the pro-gun upstate Democrat, and not Tim Wu, the tech-savvy Columbia professor who specializes in antitrust and telecommunications law. If Wu wins the primary, Cuomo will be uncomfortably stuck with him on the same ticket in November.
To help try to convince NYC progressives that it's actually in their best interest to vote for Hochul, Cuomo has enlisted Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to reiterate their previous endorsements of Hochul in front of City Hall today, hoping to win the progressive vote by association. But are progressive voters ready to listen to their eminently reasonable leaders?
De Blasio and Mark-Viverito have spent the past year building a tenuous relationship with Governor Cuomo, who, although he is nominally of the same party, shares very little of their agenda. Over the past few months, they've gone from clashing with him constantly to brokering a peace that allows them to pursue some of their less radical policies in exchange for giving Cuomo the Working Families Party nomination.
But it's exactly this kind of Cuomo-style backroom dealing that New York City voters are sick of. And by New York City voters, we mean New York Democratic primary voters, the same voters that elected Bill de Blasio by a landslide, and that are feeling pretty confident about not having to compromise on their choice of candidate. And with an endorsement from the New York Times, Tim Wu's candidacy now has serious pull. His own press conference, which kicked off at 11 this morning, features progressive Hulk Mark Ruffalo.
Essentially, de Blasio and Mark-Viverito will try to convince NYC voters this week that an upstate conservative is the best choice to represent them. What a difference a year makes.