14 September 2010
The Paladino Surge
Carl Paladino won the Republican gubernatorial nomination by a landslide margin after polls over the weekend showed him running neck-and-neck with establishment candidate Rick Lazio. So much for polls, the methodology of which will certainly be questioned soon, as it may be presumed that the pollsters simply didn't reach many of the people who came out for Paladino today. The other possibility is that a gambling mood swept Republican voters, who may have decided to go for the maximum, out of principle or for the hell of it, while the odds seemed to favor Attorney General Cuomo, the Democratic candidate, in the general election. A Paladino candidacy is their opportunity to vent, to stick it to the "elites" in the name of a multi-millionaire. Meanwhile, Lazio finds himself a third-party candidate, having most likely won the Conservative primary in what looks to have been a tighter race than expected. It will be interesting to see how he responds to the inevitable pressure from the new Republican standard bearers to stand down for the sake of "conservative" unity against the intolerable elitists. Tonight's numbers suggest that Lazio may not be much of a factor even if he campaigns actively, unless some new scandal turns Paladino toxic. In turn, Paladino will play the bogeyman in Democratic propaganda, someone to scare independent-minded liberals, progressives and others into settling for Cuomo's austerity. A Paladino administration is not a pleasant prospect for anyone who doesn't believe in government by, of and for the entrepreneurs, but it remains the right and duty of each New Yorker to vote for the candidate that best represents his or her aspirations, not to vote against the worst-case scenario. If people vote only to prevent someone from becoming governor, they shouldn't expect the person who actually becomes governor to do much for them or the state.