While liberals celebrate Biden and Cuomo at brunch, the situation for the growing class of “have-nots” in the U.S. and around the world becomes more grim.
“Years of Cuomo-led austerity cuts came home to roost on the pandemic.”
For nearly eleven months, corporate Democrats and their allies have showered love upon New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The latest example of the Cuomo lovefest has come in the form of an Emmy. Cuomo received the International Emmy Founder’s Award on November 23rd for his “effective use of television during the pandemic.” Cuomo praised himself for providing “authentic truth and stability” while New York and the rest of the United States was experiencing the first round of COVID-19’s rapid spread. What the millionaires in the Academy were really honoring, however, was Cuomo’s effective service to corporate power.
Cuomo has been so effective in the preservation of the rule of the rich in New York that he is viewed by many as the future of the Democratic Party. His leadership is considered the gold standard for how Democrats can get away with mass murder and austerity during a catastrophic crisis of legitimacy. The corporate media’s non-stop coverage of Cuomo has played a large role in his ascendence to the status of the “love gov.” Liberal Americans glued to the television have been soothed by Cuomo’s steady hand and tight-fitting attire. Behind the substance-free celebration of Cuomo is a litany of crimes against humanity.
“His leadership is considered the gold standard for how Democrats can get away with mass murder and austerity during a catastrophic crisis of legitimacy.”
Cuomo played politics with New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and squandered precious weeks before responding to COVID-19. By the time stay at home orders were initiated, the virus had spread across the city and state virtually undetected. Years of Cuomo-led austerity cuts came home to roost on the pandemic. Hospitals were without the beds to treat COVID-19 patients because Cuomo and New York Democrats had cut an average of 1,000 beds per year since 2000. Dead bodies piled up. A Brooklyn morgue remains in possession of hundreds of frozen dead bodies from the virus’ initial surge last spring.
To add insult to injury, Cuomo signed devastating Medicaid cuts into law at a time when New York was averaging hundreds of deaths per day to COVID-19. The cuts slashed $400 million from hospitals and an overall 2.5 billion from the state’s Medicaid budget. Cuomo has delayed the implementation of many aspects of the cuts so that New York remains eligible for federal aid. However, the delay can neither erase the crimes that will surely come from the cuts nor those that were committed during his initial response to COVID-19. After all, it was Cuomo who placed an order for nursing homes to accept COVID-19 positive patients in a failed bid to ease stress on New York’s hospital system. Thousands of seniors perished from COVID-19 as a result of this policy alone.
“Cuomo signed devastating Medicaid cuts into law at a time when New York was averaging hundreds of deaths per day to COVID-19.”
Cuomo is the quintessential corporate Democrat in the era of late stage capitalism. He has received millions from corporate firms and their billionaire executives to implement austerity, gentrify cities, and privatize the public sector. Cuomo raised state tuition in 2011 at the behest of one of his biggest donors, James Simon, a hedge fund manager of Renaissance Technologies. New York City’s transportation and public education system is being starved by Cuomo’s budget as a means to provide lucrative real estate deals for his donors in the transportation and construction industries. While Cuomo has been lauded for his opposition to private prisons, New York prisoners found themselves ordered to bottle hand sanitizer amid the rapid spread of the virus behind prison walls.
New York, as was the case for the rest of the United States, failed to contain the pandemic. Cuomo now champions a new narrative that conveniently blames the victim and erases his corporate crimes against humanity. In a press conference on November 18th, the brains behind “New York Tough” declared “If you socially distanced and you wore a mask and you were smart, none of this would be a problem. It’s all self-imposed. It’s all self-imposed. If you didn’t eat the cheesecake, you wouldn’t have a weight problem.” The mantra that we are all in this together only counts when Cuomo and his donors look good. When problems emerge, the fault for the spread of COVID-19 falls on the shoulders of workers and the oppressed people who have been left without a semblance of a social safety net to survive this moment of crisis.
“Cuomo conveniently blames the victim and erases his corporate crimes against humanity.”
Andrew Cuomo and his masters in the billionaire capitalist class are to blame for the fact that New York and the rest of the United States is nearing the ninth month of the pandemic’s surge. The DNC refused to fight for real relief. Trillions were siphoned from the public coffer to subsidize the profits of the rich while universal healthcare, income support, and debt forgiveness were never put on the table. Republicans predictably flanked to the right of the Democratic Party by stifling much needed relief to local and state governments. But it was the Democrats who ceded political ground by refusing to couple a COVID-19 containment strategy with economic measures that would make their implementation successful.
Andrew Cuomo is being primed for the DNC stage because he has proven himself to be a serviceable weapon for corporate power. Joe Biden has stacked his administration with Cuomo-like figures to the complete exclusion of Bernie Sanders or his surrogates. While liberals celebrate Biden and Cuomo at brunch, the situation for the growing class of “have-nots” in the U.S. and around the world has become no less grim. The fallout from COVID-19 has demonstrated that only socialist policies like those implemented in China, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, New Zealand and elsewhere can stem the economic and social cost of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuomo may have won an Emmy for his superficial performance on television, but it is the masses who lose when he and the Democrats are allowed to masquerade as the preferred form of political leadership under the U.S.’ racist and capitalist regime.
Danny Haiphong is co-coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace Supporter Network and organizer with No Cold War. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News--From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). His articles are re-published widely as well as on Patreon at patreon.com/dannyhaiphong. He is also the co-host with BAR Editor Margaret Kimberley of the Youtube show BAR Presents: The Left Lens and can be reached on Twitter @spiritofho, and email at [email protected].
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