The Trump Gambit
Yesterday a junket of desperate Republicans met with noted Birther and tack merchant Donald Trump, urging him to run for governor of the state of New York against Andrew Cuomo. Among them was local political consultant and public relations maven Michael Caputo and birther tea party freshman Assemblyman David DiPietro.
In this episode of “let’s recruit the rich guy“, the Republican left on the sidelines is Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a solid Republican executive with wins under his belt, but little name recognition outside of downstate. Astorino also doesn’t plaster his name on all kinds of stuff or have a billion dollars, nor is he the Sarah Palin of billionaires. But New York State Republicans are not beneath screwing the guy who earns something in favor of the self-funding rich guy. Right, David Bellavia?
New York State has a population of just under 20 million people, almost half of whom live in the five boroughs of New York City. Add a million from Westchester, 1.5 million in Suffolk County, 1.4 million in Nassau, 317k in Rockland, 375k in Orange, and 100k in Putnam, and you have about 13.5 million of 19.5 million residents living within the immediate New York City metropolitan area – people who largely have no use for Albany or upstate in general, not to mention western New York.
Trump’s especial brand of anti-Obama birtherism plays well for like-minded fellas like David DiPietro and his tea party cohorts. While much is being made of the duration of yesterday’s meeting, and the fact that Trump is no longer ruling anything out, this may have something to do with Trump’s new feud against Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman’s office recently brought a $40 million fraud lawsuit against something called “Trump University” – or as the AG called it, a “nationwide scam” and bait & switch fraud. Trump just this week filed an ethics complaint against Schneiderman, citing the prominent case of Argle v. Bargle.
Really what this amounts to is recruiting a richer, downstate-friendly Carl Paladino. Trump is just as plainspoken, just as filled with scandal, just as flawed as our local loudmouth developer, but the difference is that Trump has name recognition downstate, to whom Paladino was a profane stranger, and Trump has actual friends in downstate media – even the NY Post was against Paladino.
Donald Trump is the dream candidate for the angry, defeatist white male upstate voter with a “repeal NY SAFE Act” lawnsign because to the WBEN listener Rus Thompson set, Cuomo is the devil, and Obama isn’t even human. They aspire to be just like Donald Trump, and they love that he thinks like they do – and he has the money and name recognition to not care what anyone thinks. His downstate bona fides explain why he’s being wooed.
Donald Trump would accomplish nothing in New York State. He would do nothing for education, for the poor, for upstate’s economic malaise, for Buffalo, or for anyone except the tea party and the ultrarich. I will also bet you that part of the strategy is a fusion party line or two, meaning that Trump would take advantage of the single-most corrupt process in New York politics.
The headlines yesterday should have read, “Lawmakers to Massage Trump Ego, Trump Reacts Favorably”.