Democrats

Takeaways From The DNC

From the Morning Memo:

Now that both major party conventions are in the books, the long slog to the general election now begins. To say the least, it’s going to be an unpredictable race and a hotly contested one on the presidential level between both parties. It remains to be seen how much Hillary Clinton can benefit from the week here in Philadelphia or if Donald Trump will continue to use uncertainty and violence in the world to his advantage.

But in New York, there a number of key issues facing elected officials and voters this fall.

1. Democrats in New York are with her, except some aren’t: Gov. Andrew Cuomo right off the bat wanted to make unity pitch to his delegation. It was clear Cuomo did not want his delegation to be the problem at the convention highlighting a New York resident’s historic nomination for the presidency. The second morning of the convention, Cuomo brought along a high-powered liberal guest: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who urged his contingent in New York to support Clinton’s bid. Cuomo knew he — a firm supporter of Clinton and member of that wing of the party — would not be able to make that personal appeal successfully. The Sanders appearance subdued what could have been a noisy rebellion against Clinton within New York’s delegation. Still, there is talk of finding a liberal challenger to Cuomo in 2018 when he runs for a third term after they were buoyed by the better than expected showing of Zephyr Teachout in 2014. Finding a credible challenger with name recognition could be difficult, however. Cuomo, too, continues to bolster his support on the institutional left with a series of victories on the minimum wage and paid family leave.

2. The Cuomo-de Blasio feud will always be with us: Mayor Bill de Blasio quietly left the Thursday delegation breakfast after the morning’s program went too long and his time slot was taken up with lengthy remarks by Cuomo and awards given to Rep. Charlie Rangel and Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Cuomo’s team insisted it wasn’t a snub, while the chronically tardy de Blasio was scheduled to attend a roundtable forum on cities. As a result, the mayor of the state’s largest city did not speak before the New York delegation, whose breakfasts were organized by Cuomo’s team. Regardless of the scheduling, the incident — fairly or unfairly — is being viewed through the prism of the longstanding feud between the two men. And how could it not? De Blasio has accused Cuomo of repeatedly undermining his agenda and the city’s interests in Albany. Cuomo’s office, meanwhile, continues to blast the mayor as feckless and his advisors as “hacks.” For all the unity themes Cuomo had sought this week, the de Blasio snafu was a discordant note.

3. A plea for help in the Senate: And speaking of unity, Senate Democrats would really like everyone singing from the same hymnal when it comes to flipping control of the chamber. Cuomo this week once again declined to explicitly endorse that campaign, however. Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins sought to make the case before the delegation — and before Cuomo himself — the slog of negotiating with Senate Republicans would not be as much of a problem should Democrats gain control of the chamber. Stewart-Cousins this week sought to thread a needle: Yes, there have been a lot of accomplishments and key liberal victories. But these victories in New York — a minimum wage hike, paid-family leave — should be slam dunks in a liberal state like New York. For his part, Cuomo acknowledged the Senate Democrats are in a “frustrating” situation in the minority. It’s likely cold comfort, though, for Democrats who are close, but yet so far, to gaining power.

4. Father and son: And finally, Cuomo’s remarks to the Democratic National Convention was the evolution in many respects of the governor’s own interpretation of his father’s legacy. A lot — almost too much — has been written dissecting their relationship and their different approaches to governing. Mario Cuomo was the aspirant thinker, Andrew Cuomo has been the nuts-and-bolts doer. The younger Cuomo on Thursday evening sought to fuse those two personalities together: You can aspire to doing big things and those big things can get done.

Stewart-Cousins: ‘We Can Unify’ State Dems In NY

A Democratic majority in the state Senate would make it easier for liberal and progressive causes to pass in Albany, Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in her remarks to the New York delegation breakfast this morning.

“There is opportunity. And in terms of progressive leadership, because I know we’ve finished part of our progressive agenda, but there’s so much more to do,” she said. “We’ve got to take the state Senate back for the Democrats.”

Those victories, too, wouldn’t come with deals and strings attached Democrats have found difficult to accept, she said.

“We can do more than survive. We can grow, we can thrive,” she said. “We continue to lead the way, not by giving a little here and taking a lot there and, yes we believe in compromise and working across the aisle. But I don’t think fighting for working men and women should be a struggle.”

The speech was in many respects aimed as a pitch to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has worked well with majority Republicans in the Senate over the last six years. Cuomo gave Stewart-Cousins a leadership award at the breakfast before she spoke and acknowledged how the Democratic conference has a “frustrating situation” being in the minority.

The GOP conference has backed Cuomo’s push for a minimum wage increase for some parts of the state to $15 and a 12-week paid family leave program this year, with a tax-cut package coming along as part of the deal.

Democrats have long grumbled Cuomo does not want their party to control the Senate, believing he prefers the split Legislature in order to triangulate during negotiations.

Asked this week n Philadelphia, Cuomo once again declined to endorse a Democratic takeover of the Senate.

But Democrats in the Senate typically make gains in a presidential election years, and they are playing offense in districts on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley (Republicans want to flip a western New York seat as well as a district in Westchester County).

Stewart-Cousins, too, has sought to improve the relationship with the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, which has aligned with Senate Republicans.

Calling up Democratic lawmakers, Stewart-Cousins made a pointed plea for unity.

“I want you to understand that as we unify Democrats on the national level, we can unify Democrats on the state level,” she said. “I want you to understand we know how important as the governor said it’s hard to be dragged to be place when you don’t see the people, you don’t understand the problem.”

I want you to see them. I want you to understand that as we unify Democrats on the national level, we can unify Democrats on the state level. I want you to understand we know how important as the governor said it’s hard to be dragged to be place when you don’t see the people, you don’t understand the problem.

Let’s run the table.

De Blasio Leaves Breakfast Without Speaking To NY Delegation

Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were scheduled to speak at the New York delegation breakfast on Thursday morning.

What could go wrong, right?

The mayor, who is locked in an intense public feud with Cuomo, left the delegation breakfast shortly after the governor concluded his 25 minutes of opening remarks.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told the delegation de Blasio was due to moderate a panel discussion elsewhere in Philadelphia and had to leave. His public schedule released by his office on Wednesday night showed the mayor would attend a panel discussion clled “City Solutions: Income Inequality” at 9:45 a.m.

The breakfast was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., but speakers did not take the stage until around 9 a.m. Both the mayor and governor had released schedules advising they would speak at the same time.

It was de Blasio’s first and only appearance at the breakfast delegation this week while he is in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention.

Cuomo spoke first at the breakfast, followed by speeches and awards given to outgoing Rep. Charlie Rangel and Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Cuomo and de Blasio sat at separate tables during the breakfast, with the governor flanked by Rangel and his daughter, Cara. The mayor sat next to Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, whose office has released audits and reports critical of Cuomo’s handling of the state’s finances and economic development spending.

Free Trade Debate Roils Convention

From the Morning Memo:

As workers across the country are being roiled by stagnate wages and the continued aftershocks of the economic recession, New York Democrats are making clear their opposition to free trade agreements.

“Should I, God willing, become the majority leader, we’re going to have an entirely different approach on trade,” U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer told the New York delegation on Wednesday, adding his opposition to free trade pacts that could ship jobs overseas has become only stronger in the last several years.

“You don’t need a phd in economics to know why companies want to take jobs out of America and move them to Indonesia or Mexico or anywhere else,” he said.

And Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also striking a populist tone one major trade deal in particular: The Trans Pacific Trade Partnership — a deal aimed at opening up the Asian market which was forged by President Obama.

“When they tell you now we’re going to pass TPP, what they’re saying is they don’t understand the damage they’ve done in the first place and now they want to redo it and extend it with TPP,” he said.

Throughout the week here in Philadelphia, it’s hard not spot at least one person wearing an anti-TPP button, often being worn by supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Both parties are facing headwinds this election cycle as voters turn to populist candidates like Donald Trump and Sanders, both of whom have signaled strong opposition to trade deals. Hillary Clinton initially supported the deal, but now opposes it.

“The platform that was adopted is satisfactory to the labor movement, we’re all in favor of it,” said AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento.

Opposition to the TPP is potentially crucial for Democrats against Trump, considering the voter outreach labor unions can provide.​​

“Donald Trump does not have the organization to actually and poll people, go knock on doors,” Cilento said. “That’s the strength of the labor movement.”

Left unsaid by Democratic officials and labor leaders in New York is whether rank and file union members will stick with the Democratic Party this fall, or break for Trump and his populist economic rhetoric.

In Convention Speech, de Blasio Rips Trump

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio opened up a stinging line of attack against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in his remarks on Wednesday afternoon at the Democratic National Convention.

The mayor attacked Trump’s business record as well as his rhetoric at women, knocking him as an egotist who is not suited for the presidency.

“Donald Trump is reckless, he’s risky, he’s wrong, he’s scary,” de Blasio said, adding Trump is part of Wall Street’s “predator class.”

The remarks were a display not of the mayor who has sought to fight income inequality in New York City, but a sharp-elbowed flash of the political operative who managed Hillary Clinton’s 2000 campaign for the U.S. Senate in New York.

“He’s degraded women to make himself feel big, while revealing what a little man he is,” de Blasio said of Trump.

Blasting Trump’s business acumen, he mocked the mogul for inheriting money from his father and then claiming the title of self-made man.

“He made a career out of ripping people off, racking up billions in debt, and bankrupting his companies,” de Blasio said.

The speaking slot for de Blasio was initially 4:30 in the afternoon, a potentially abysmal speaking time in which few people are watching the convention on television.

Given the scheduling at the convention, de Blasio eventually spoke at 5:30 in the afternoon. Earlier in the day, de Blasio insisted the time he spoke wasn’t a concern for him, while he parsed the decision to his predecessor Michael Bloomberg speak to boost Clinton’s candidacy.

Schneiderman: ‘Powerful’ Message For Bloomberg To Speak

Add Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to the list of liberals happy to have former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking this evening at the Democratic National Convention.

“I think it is incredibly powerful that Michael Bloomberg, who is nationally recognized as a balanced, centrist leader, who is interested in getting problems solved, is here to endorse Hillary Clinton,” the AG said earlier today.

Bloomberg, a onetime Democrat who was first elected as a Republican mayor in 2001, and later became an independent, is due to endorse Hillary Clinton after considering – and then abandoning – his own run for the presidency.

Schneiderman believes Bloomberg’s nod is a signal to “business Republicans” that Clinton should be elected over Republican Donald Trump.

“This represents the core of the American business community that we can’t put our country in the hands of this narcissistic, megalomanic, xenophobe,” he said.

Clinton must still answer questions, it would seem, from the base of the party, which believes she is not liberal enough on key issues. But Schneiderman said Bloomberg’s remarks will highlight Clinton’s own desire to govern.

“Mike Bloomberg really embodies that sort of practical, smart, non-ideological, but inclusive, expansive, and visionary role for America,” he said.

De Blasio Shrugs Off Afternoon Speaking Slot

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in an interview shrugged off the 4:30 time slot he was given to speak at the Democratic National Convention later today, telling NY1’s Zack Fink he’s not a marquee speaker at any rate.

At the same time, de Blasio praised the decision to have his immediate predecessor, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, to give a prime time keynote address endorsing Hillary Clinton.

De Blasio is not the only New Yorker who has been scheduled to speak at the convention, with congressional candidate Adriano Espaillat speaking briefly on Monday night and Gov. Andrew Cuomo expected to go on Thursday (a time has not been released for when Cuomo will talk).

“I don’t worry about any of that stuff,” he said. “There are hundreds and hundreds of speakers to accommodate. There are folks who I understand 110 percent who need to get into the proper speaking slot.”

As for Bloomberg, a billionaire whose style and approach to the mayor’s office de Blasio has pointedly sought to avoid, the Democrat called the move “wonderful.”

“That’s really going to help build some support among independents,” he said.

Primetime speaking slots at conventions are typically highly coveted. Cable audiences grow at 8 p.m. hour, with network stations switching to convention coverage for the keynote speeches at around 10 p.m.

But de Blasio insisted that while it’s an honor to speak, he’s more concerned with the broader campaign effort of electing Clinton.

“So, there’s no news in me supporting Hillary Clinton,” he said. “It’s going to be an honor to speak during the convention and I’m going to work very hard on her behalf. But I think as people in political life, we should not worry about ourselves, but about the future of the country.”

Schneiderman: ‘Vicious Tweets’ From Trump Supporters

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman blasted on Wednesday the supporters of Donald Trump who have sent him “vicious” anti-Semitic tweets in response to his lawsuit against Trump University.

“I should show you the vicious anti-Semitic hate tweets I get from Trump followers,” he said to members of the New York delegation earlier this morning during their breakfast meeting.

Speaking with reporters after his remarks, Schneiderman accused Trump of giving a tacit thumbs up to hate speech, linking the anti-Semitism to the Republican nominee’s rhetoric on immigration and Muslims.

“Donald Trump, more than any candidate in modern history, has really openly embraced bigotry,” Schneiderman said. “He’s advocating discrimination based on religion; he’s advocating discrimination based on national origin in a way we haven’t seen in a very long time.”

Schneiderman has led the effort on the lawsuit against Trump University, in which former students of the online school claim the course offerings were of little value promised and promoted by Trump himself.

Trump has repeatedly slammed the lawsuit and Schneiderman over the lawsuit, dismissing it as little more than a political stunt by the Democratic AG. He also caused waves several weeks ago when he criticized the judge in the case over his Mexican descent.

“This open door to bigots lets out all the bigots,” Schneiderman said. “We can’t only say this only about being anti-Muslim. (Trump) has given the green light to a lot of ugly stuff. This is opening he door to a lot of virulent anti-Semitism. I see it and there are other public officials who are seeing it, too.”

Schumer Vows ‘Different Approach’ On Trade

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer on Wednesday vowed to take a different approach on free trade agreements should he ascend to the majority leader post in the U.S. Senate, he told the New York delegation.

“I have been very skeptical of these arguments that free trade is good for America,” Schumer said. “My views have become even harder and stronger.”

Schumer, in line to become the new leader of the Senate Democrats in 2017, sharply criticized previous free trade deals as well as the Trans Pacific Partnership, which has become a key issue for both parties in the 2016 campaign.

“You don’t need a Phd. in economics to know why companies want to take jobs out of America and to Indonesia or anywhere,” Schumer said to applause. “It’s because the jobs there pay next to nothing.”

He promised to continue to oppose the TPP agreement, a deal that was forged by President Obama in the final months of his administration and part of a broader pivot toward Asia.

“As long as TPP reduces the wages and working conditions of American workers, I will oppose it,” Schumer said. “Should I become majority leader, we’re going to have an entirely different approach on trade.”

Both parities are facing political headwinds over stagnate wages and anxiety over the economy following the aftershocks of the great recession. Republican Donald Trump has broken with party orthodoxy on trade in the last year, winning the GOP nomination in the process.

Much of Schumer’s address, too, appeared aimed at supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who address the delegation’s breakfast on Tuesday with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Many of Sanders’s supporters in the delegation, however, appeared to have skipped the breakfast this morning.

“There have been a few bumps in the road, but our party is unified on policy,” Schumer said. “The Sanders platform has had a great effect on America and the Democratic Party. Bernie is a constructive man, he always has been.”

Labor Plans GOTV Role For Dems

From the Morning Memo:

New York labor leaders plan to make a push for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid this year, even as some in the movement continue to harbor doubts about her positions on free trade.

Support from labor is key for Clinton, even amid a decline in private-sector union enrollment over the last several decades.

However, the labor movement in New York remains an active factor in political campaigns, providing important mobilizing tools and voter outreach efforts.

“Donald Trump does not have that organize to actually go out, poll people, go knock on doors, that’s the strength of the labor movement — the grassroots, organizing effort,” said AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. “That’s what we do. that’s what we’re good at all across this country.”

At the same time, Cilento insisted the concerns over trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership — which could nudge blue-collar Democrats toward Trump’s message — have been resolved.

“The platform that was adopted is satisfactory to the labor movement, we’re all in favor of it,” he said.

Voter outreach, though, remains a priority for labor groups like 1199/SEIU, said its president, George Gresham.

“We want to make sure we’ll get them to volunteer, to get out into the campaign, to create the energy and the excitement that for working people there is really no option to stay home and have someone vote for you,” he said.

“It’s a not question of who they should vote for, it’s a question of getting out and doing the right thing.”