I really have no idea how Republicans think. That includes the Trump variety and the non-Trump variety, particularly in New York State.

I live in Massachusetts, a very, very blue state. But Republicans in Massachusetts seem to have a lot more common sense than the New York State variety. In Massachusetts, the Republicans often put people up for the state’s top office, the governorship, and they win. They win because they are smart enough to find candidates who give voters a real choice.

If they found Trump Republicans to run, they wouldn’t win and they know that. In blue state New York, not so much. The reason why Republicans lose elections in New York is that, well, they are dumb. They are so dumb that they pick candidates who simply can’t win. They should know that, but they really don’t. I’d like to advance a few reasons why these people think the way that they do.

I happen to know that a few years back, an outstanding, thinking Republican member of Congress, Chris Gibson, wanted to run for governor but the big boys in the Republican Party said no. Instead, they put up one of their outdated losers who didn’t have a chicken’s chance. Sure enough, they had the stuffing knocked out of them. I just asked myself, “What could they have been thinking?”

Now Andrew Cuomo is the governor.

In case you don’t remember, Cuomo has more than a few troubles so naturally, some of these Republican characters think that they have a shot. They see the polling that shows the people don’t want Cuomo to run for the very fourth term that was denied to his father, Mario. As a result, the foolish Republicans think that means anyone can beat Andrew.

They can’t, of course, especially not the Trump variety Republicans.

Let’s take one of the greatest of these losers, Lee Zeldin. First of all, the guy is an out and out Trumper. This is New York, one of the most Trump-hating places in the country and possibly the world. Zeldin has most of the zombie-like Republican county leaders in the state arguing that he should be the candidate. They are doing that for the same reason the Republicans in Congress are afraid to stand up to Trump.

They know that if they dare to insult Trump in any way, they will be ousted from their contemporary jobs. In other words, Republican primary and organizational voters will kick their behinds. They know that George Pataki beat Mario Cuomo because he was anything but a nut job. True, he did have Alfonse D’Amato behind him, but this is different. Pataki won, not only because 1994 was the right Republican year to run, but because he was smart enough to be a moderate.

That included his adherence to a sensible environment program.

Nevertheless, Zeldin is the favorite of the orthodox Trump Republicans and he will absolutely get his tail kicked. Of course, the Republicans do have a few candidates who could take on the mildly unpopular Cuomo. One of them, Rob Astorino, seems to have ticked off so many country chairmen fighting for the hapless Zeldin. But unless he is in a primary, he won’t get to run.

What makes us think that Republican primary voters will do something sensible like vote for Astorino?

So what are they thinking?

Among the other Unidentified Flying Objects in their heads is the idea that they would rather lose the governor’s chair than tick off the Trump-loving Republicans. Believe me, if Zeldin is the candidate, the Republicans will lose. In fact, if Cuomo or any other Democrat like Letitia James were to run against a Zeldin-like candidate, the Republicans will lose big time.

One can only suspect that the prestige of having run for governor and lost, and maybe having it placed on his memorial, is the only thing Zeldin will get out of all of this.

 

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at alan@wamc.org.

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