It turns out that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who insists he is not running for president in 2020 despite hiring two veteran fundraisers based in the swing state of Florida, is in horrible shape to run for president in 2020.
According to a Monday story by The New York Times, although Cuomo is sitting on an enormous $25 million campaign war chest for his 2018 re-election bid, there’s just one problem—that chest is filled only with fabulous Faberge eggs and $1,000 bills (emphasis mine):
Since the beginning of 2015, Mr. Cuomo has raised more than 99% of his campaign money from donations larger than $1,000 and nearly 99.9% of his funds from donors who gave at least $200, according to an analysis by The New York Times. At one point last year, Mr. Cuomo went six months without reporting a single individual donor who gave less than $200.
It’s hard to convey how insane that is. According to the Times, if you were to compare Cuomo’s numbers to past Democratic presidential campaigns, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama (in 2012), and Bernie Sanders raised 18%, 32%, and 87% of their funds from donations of less than $200, respectively. In comparison, Cuomo raised just above 0.1%.
This isn’t a recent phenomenon, and it’s one that’s integral to Cuomo’s political identity: according to the Times, he’s raised only around $164,000 in contributions of $100 or less in his campaigns for 2010, 2014 and 2018 combined. To celebrate his 60th birthday this December, Cuomo is reportedly throwing a fundraiser that will cost $50,000 for “top-tier access” (i.e. hanging out with Cuomo), which, in normal person dollars, is more than the cost of 18,000 subway rides.
Politicians, for better and for worse, are defined by their donors, and the fact that Cuomo’s stable includes virtually no grassroots supporters speaks ill for a possible national bid. It also might help to explain Cuomo’s dedication to pushing middling, half-baked progressive policies in New York and his historically tacit support of a Republican-controlled state Senate. If Cuomo wants a chance in hell come 2020, he desperately needs to find some regular people to throw $10 or $20 toward his campaign. At the very least, it’s got to be a huge pain for the intern trying to buy coffee with a $1,000 bill.