My Republican opponent for Governor has called on my Democrat opponent to denounce his chief Republican fundraiser for describing those who challenge income inequality as being Nazis. It has been my experience that when politicians begin attacking each other over terms like fascism, the media should first require them to demonstrate that they understand what the terms mean.
The reality is that our state suffers from the greatest income inequality in our country, a situation that needs to be resolved both to raise the standard of living for average New Yorkers and to get our economy working again.
As a proud progressive populist who wants the rich to pay their taxes and stop buying elections, I find Astorino to be a hypocrite when he demands that Cuomo repudiate the equation of progressive populists with fascists by Cuomo's prominent Republican campaign donor, Home Depot founder Ken Langone.
Fascism is the merging of corporate and state power. Its mass base of political support is cultivated by the rich and opportunistic politicians who encourage and fund movements motivated by the fears, prejudices, and resentments of the economically insecure middle classes toward minorities, immigrants, and poor people. Today, the Tea Party fits that description, with its rich donors making the movement as much astroturf as grassroots. It is the core of Astorino's voting support.
And Cuomo, who described himself as "the real Tea Party candidate" in 2010, is again pandering to those voters. Both of these guys oppose reforms that would break up crony capitalism, like eliminating corporate welfare subsidies and ending the legalized bribery of privatized campaign financing by the richest 1%.
If either of them was really anti-fascist, they would support progressive tax reform and full public campaign financing where all qualified candidates run on equal grants of clean public money and can't use dirty private money from crony capitalists seeking influence and favors. Instead, Cuomo opposes higher marginal tax rates on high incomes and backs the phony reform of partial public funding with matching funds, where a feeble amount public funding provides cover for the continuation of unlimited private funding as before. Astorino likewise opposes higher taxes for the rich and begs every rich person he can find for the millions he wants to compete with Cuomo's millions.
We should call them Astro and Cuomorino.