From her grassroots supporters in the Hudson Valley to her loyal students who pressured Cuomo to a debate, Zephyr Teachout, a current professor of law at Fordham University, is looking to call Cuomo out and take New York by storm. For months, she has mobilized thousands of people to follow her journey to defeat Andrew Cuomo in this year's Democratic gubernatorial primary. Teachout's grassroots organizing has changed the playing field, leaving Cuomo shaking in his boots. I had the opportunity to speak with Teachout on Sunday morning to discuss her outlook as she approaches election day. When you meet Teachout, you are suddenly reminded that you have been wronged. Teachout is possibility where Cuomo is broken promises. Whether you dropped out in the last two weeks or shortly after he was elected, Cuomo is rapidly losing support as he remains apathetic.
New York is at the brink of a crossroad. Throughout the last few decades, counties all over have been shifting politically, socially, and economically. Teachout is representative of this change: a democrat with a realistic progressive agenda. New Yorkers clearly want action on the critical issues. Every time Cuomo refuses to engage on a human level, he underlines his inability to enact change. Cuomo refuses to debate and instead carelessly throws money into his campaign, while Teachout continues to reach New Yorkers through direct primary engagement.
When asked why she bothered to run, Teachout stated, "I'm running to win." Cuomo is out of touch, waltzing in with stale politics from 1992. He refuses to engage or talk to any of his constituents. Teachout has gained real genuine excitement, and she tells me, that a big source of her success has been from good old-fashion talking and listening. Cuomo has distanced himself from our most affected communities, ignoring women, people of color, and children. He is a disservice to our great state, and we can no longer remain silent. A governor's time should consist of more than just smiling to constituents, waving at parades, and achieving mediocre gains. Teachout is ready and prepared with a progressive agenda that we can believe in.
If she doesn't win, we know one wish came true. She wanted, "at least one democrat running in the democratic primary." Beyond this campaign, Teachout has mobilized enough support to stand up and say, enough is enough. New Yorkers have the ability to fight back and be heard. Cuomo may be ignoring us, but he is slowly sinking below the shoreline. He is fearful that if he mentions Teachout's name, that people will discover her and invest in her campaign. If Teachout debated Cuomo, heads would turn and Teachout would win the primary.
We must continue to pressure politicians, even within party lines. It strengthens our ideals, and forces politicians to propose real solutions to our communities' problems. These are life-and-death issues to some of us, and we have no time for this nonsense. So what do we do next? We have a movement, we are organizing, and we must get out and vote. But always remember, there are people like Zephyr Teachout who are out there, fighting to make New York a better place; and she is letting us be a part it. Collectively, we have the power to decide whether New York will flourish or stand still as problems continue to overshadow us. It's simple.
On Tuesday, September 9, vote for Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu.