Gov. Cuomo’s re-election strategy is to sacrifice New York City’s interests, take on Mayor de Blasio and pander to anti-tax and pro-business sentiments upstate, where he’s politically the weakest, angry Democrats from the city charge.
Whether it’s Cuomo’s battles with de Blasio over pre-K funding or the city’s ability to hike the minimum wage on its own, his support for lower taxes on manufacturers north of the city-oriented MTA region, or the $1 billion in state funds he plans to pour into Buffalo — stronghold of Cuomo’s 2010 GOP opponent Carl Paladino — “everything the governor is doing is about his re-election campaign,’’ a senior legislative Democrat has told The Post.
“The governor’s polling numbers show he will win the city with a huge margin. He knows that, he’s told people that, so he doesn’t think he needs the mayor or city Democrats for political help.
“Every program he has for his re-election is geared to upstate, and that involves taking money away from the city,’’ the Democrat, an important de Blasio ally, continued.
The anger of city Democrats is rooted in what is, in effect, a civil war pitting downstate “progressives’’ or leftist Democrats, who have strong support from public-employee unions and the union-controlled Working Families Party, against Cuomo, a small group of moderate upstate Democrats and, ironically, state Senate Republicans.
Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos has emerged as Cuomo’s chief political ally at the Capitol, backing the governor in his showdown with de Blasio even as all Democratic leaders, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, refuse to do so.
A Quinnipiac University poll last week showed Cuomo with 76 percent support among city voters in a matchup against Donald Trump and 70 percent of city voters in a faceoff with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
But among upstate voters, Cuomo received just 49 percent against Astorino and 51 percent against Trump. His numbers in the Buffalo/Erie County area alone are believed to be much lower.
The influential Democrats, who won’t speak out publicly against Cuomo for fear of retaliation by the governor and because they believe his campaign strategy can’t be stopped, predicted de Blasio would fail in his effort to take on the governor.
“A win for de Blasio on either pre-K or minimum wage would be a huge loss for Cuomo, and Cuomo’s not going to permit it,’’ said a second influential Democrat.
One way to hurt Cuomo over his strategy is to cut down on his support in New York City.
If the city support for Cuomo plummeted from the 70th percentile to, say, the 50th percentile, Cuomo would stand up and take notice.
Alas, many Dems in New York City continue to support Cuomo even after he screws the city and its citizens over and over.