COMMENTARY | The fight between New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over charter schools is illustrative of a hidden divide between the far left wing and the slightly less far left wing of the Democratic Party.
Thus far the advantage has been to Cuomo, according to the American Interest.
“The first round of Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fight over the city’s charter schools has ended with a decisive victory for Cuomo. De Blasio made hay during the campaign with his pledge to end the city’s practice of allowing charter schools rent-free access to public school facilities. But the new budget deal that passed yesterday in Albany takes the matter out of his hands, requiring all cities to provide space, free of charge, to charter schools if it is available. If not, the cities will be required to pay up to $40 million in rent to install them at alternative accommodations. Even more pointedly, it explicitly authorizes the three Success Academy schools that de Blasio rejected earlier this month.”
Why is Cuomo putting the brakes on De Blasio’s jihad against charter schools? The short reason is that the New York governor entertains desires to be president. He knows that left wing solutions to problems have fallen out of favor thanks to the overreaching by the Obama administration. He would like to run as a Bill Clinton kind of Democrat, someone who has triangulated between the Republicans and the ideologues of his own party like De Blasio. That is ironic, considering that Cuomo’s main opponent in the Democratic nomination fight in 2016 is likely to be Hillary Clinton, at least according to the conventional wisdom.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party is filled with true believers of the type who elected Obama twice, many of whom are now of the opinion that the president has not gone far enough. Mind a Cuomo presidency, especially if it is tempered by a Republican congress, who not be a bad thing from the perspective of the Democrats. Bill Clinton met his greatest success when he was forced to deal with the Gingrich congress. But it remains to be seen whether Democratic primary voters will go with the heads or go with their hearts and go far left.