A Cuomo vs. De Blasio 2020 Democratic presidential primary battle could tear party apart

August 11, 2017

As the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries grow interesting by the day, two New York Democratic politicians may put their hats in the ring for the 2020 presidency and a potential primary fight between the two could destroy the Democratic Party more than Clinton vs. Sanders in 2016 and Obama vs. Clinton in 2008.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is heavily favored to win reelection this November against presumptive Republican mayoral nominee Assemblyman Nicole Malliotakis and right wing populist Bo Dietl, a former NYPD police officer. New York City is overwhelmingly a Democratic city, despite the conservative bastions of Queens and Staten Island and although De Blasio has legal and political issues, he is a lock for reelection. He won the 2013 mayoral election with one of the lowest turnouts in over fifty years, at 24%. The 2013 mayoral primaries was worse, at 20%.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has always harbored higher political ambitions. After being elected as state attorney general in 2006, he saw the Albany dysfunction that he railed against in his 2010 gubernatorial victory, as liberal scions Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson had rocky governorships. Cuomo defeated right wing populist Carl Paladino in 2010 and won reelection in an uninspiring way against establishment Republican Rob Astorino after facing a left-wing progressive challenger in Zephyr Teachout, a former Fordham University law professor.

Cuomo and De Blasio represent the warring wings of the Democratic Party. Cuomo is from the centrist New Democrat wing from his mentors, Bill and Hillary Clinton. De Blasio, also mentored by Bill and Hillary Clinton, comes from the left-wing insurgent group of Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison and Barbara Lee.

The two men could run for president in 2020, and if they face off in the Democratic primary, their personal feud could enter nationally and the Democratic Party could face a bitter division worse than Clinton vs. Sanders—and it could hand Trump or Pence the White House in 2020.