- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Few can miss the fiery presence of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he navigates the coronavirus crisis in the Empire State. Mr. Cuomo — son of previous New York governor Mario Cuomo and brother of CNN host Christopher Cuomo —— has been a relentless presence in the news media as he explains worst case scenarios to the public. Some say the White House could be in his future.

“Could a ‘Draft Cuomo’ movement be in the Democrats’ future?” asks National Review columnist John Fund. “Some Democrats are openly talking up New York governor Andrew Cuomo, whose profile has soared during the crisis, as a Joe Biden stand-in. Yesterday, a Draft Cuomo 2020 account on Twitter announced that ‘Times have changed and we need Gov. Cuomo to be the nominee.’”

“Of course, the mathematics of how Governor Cuomo could be drafted to become the Democratic nominee are daunting. He has zero delegates and no campaign and can’t be seen as being distracted by politics during a crisis. But Emily Zanotti of The Daily Wire says that if states continue to postpone or cancel upcoming primaries, a window of opportunity could be there,” Mr. Fund said.

Then again, there’s always this possibility: CUOMO/BIDEN 2020 — or maybe even SANDERS/CUOMO 2020.

In theory, Mr. Biden could take the secondary role. Then again, his fellow Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders could consider the governor as a vice presidential running mate. Whatever the equation, such a surprise move could to amp up the campaigns and inspire an avalanche of media coverage.



FOR THE LEXICON

#StayAliveJoe.

This new social media hashtag was inspired by “Stay Alive Joe Biden,” an analysis from The Atlantic.

“It’s as if Biden exists primarily as an idea, rather than an actual candidate,” wrote columnist Alex Wagner. “His political power at this point is an idea, held collectively, about how to defeat Trump. The work now is to keep that idea convincing enough, for long enough, among as many people as possible, for the corporeal man to actually win.”

THE RACE FIZZLES

They were once raucous, daring and aggressive. That was then, this is now. The presidential campaigns of Democratic hopefuls Sen. Bernard Sanders and Joseph R. Biden have been reduced to no-frills virtual appearances or video conferences streamed live from a makeshift settings with technical challenges. In certain respects, the situation harkens back to 1960s-era live TV, which often proved stark and unforgiving for political candidates, particularly in the 1961 presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

“There’s a dynamic with candidates where sometimes they come across to voters much better on camera than they do in person, or vice-versa. Sometimes a candidate can be welcoming and charming in person, but terrible on camera. Face-to-face retail politicking is no longer an option, so campaigns are working hard to deliver a message and avoid being seen as “rigid” while addressing supporters via video,” observes Nate Ashworth, editor of Election Central.

“Until Sanders decides to call it quits, the entire primary campaign continues as a skeleton with no public appearances and only virtual town halls and livestream web videos where candidates can interact with their supporters. What was once front-page news has now become little more than an afterthought in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” says Mr. Ashworth.

THE BIRX EFFECT

One member of the White House coronavirus task force is earning very positive coverage from a wide range of news organizations. Tasked with coordinating the national response to the pandemic, Dr. Deborah Birx has maintained a helpful, steadfast public presence during daily media appearances before a national audience.

The press has taken notice.

Both CNN and The Guardian called her a global health “legend” while the New York Times described Dr. Birx as “tough and disciplined” and busy “running what amounts to a coronavirus war room from the vice president’s office.” Fox News characterized Dr. Birx as a “world-renowned medical expert”; Politico cited her “bipartisan credibility” as a clear asset.

Indeed, Dr. Birx served two decades in the U.S. Army as a physician. During the Obama administration, she was appointed national coordinator for HIV/AIDS response in 2014, and also became the U.S. State Department’s social representative for global health diplomacy.

“Despite her Obama-era appointment, Birx is a Republican and could be characterized as a conservative,” Politico said.

Dr. Birx has also won accolades for her fashion choices.

“Birx has brought her special brand of sartorial serenity and strength to the country,” reported The New York Post, noting the physician’s trademark scarves and her lack of angular suits and ‘unimaginative’ dresses. She clearly hasn’t bothered with the power-dressing manual. She’s unknowingly writing her own,” the Post said.

DIVERSION DU JOUR

Behold, two very straightforward and very huge resources for thoughtful amusement or just plain diversion in these challenging times. Consider an online visit to the Library of Congress with its behemoth, amazing collection of recordings, photos, film and much more. Find it at Loc.gov.

Meanwhile, the National Archives offers astonishing genealogical and military records, founding documents, and much more. I mean, Much more. Find it at Archives.gov.

POLL DU JOUR

65% of U.S. adults say they have accepted the coronavirus outbreak and now are “just doing what I can to stay safe”; 65% of Republicans, 66% of independents and 69% of Democrats agree.

44% overall are hopeful it will be contained; 47% of Republicans, 43% of independents and 46% of Democrats agree.

28% overall are “determined to fight” the virus; 29% of Republicans, 26% of independents and 34% of Democrats agree.

23% overall feel “disbelief that the outbreak is really happening”; 18% of Republicans, 25% of independents and 28% of Democrats agree.

21% overall feel “anger that the outbreak has happened”; 20% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov/CBS News poll of 2,190 U.S. adults conducted March 21-23; the survey used multi-choice questions.

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