ALBANIA – A month ago, in quieter times, Governor Andrew Cuomo posted a story on Facebook about how scientists from a state college in the Galapagos Islands found a turtle that was previously thought to be extinct. The comments were consistent with those found in most of the governor of New York’s social media posts.
“When will you be extinct?” answered one person.
The Internet is not saying that now about Cuomo, a Democrat. At the end of a week that could go down in history as the most consistent decision-making ever made by a New York governor, Cuomo’s Facebook page included a short clip of him urge people to be kind to each other when the corona virus spreads in New York.
The comments reflected Cuomo’s newly discovered status as a gubernatorial social media sensation and as a more nationally recognized personality than ever before. “I’m watching your daily briefings because you bring me calm,” said one reader. “I don’t live in New York, but my children, so I pretend to be my governor,” wrote another.
Almost every aspect of life, as the New Yorkers know, has been overthrown in the past few weeks, and Cuomo’s administration is no exception. Quite simply, the governor has a moment a year after his third term. His daily briefings are broadcast nationwide on cable news networks. Observers have analyzed what his often aggressive leadership style is like perfect for the crisiswhile others on its rising status as sex symbol. Even Sean Hannity, Hardly an ideological soul mate praised him during a radio interview on Friday.
He is not the only governor to win praise and attention at this moment of crisis. Gavin Newsom from California and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, both Democrats, and Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, have also seen their profile rise as they tackle the Covid 19 pandemic. Their emergence and the role that other governors have played in advancing faster than the federal government shape the politics of this election year – and can shape the political future of every governor well beyond 2020.
For Cuomo, however, the most dramatic change is his reception on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
He has long been one of the country’s most upset politicians among people who regularly post their thoughts on social media. For example in 2014 an analysis of around 1,200 tweets Opinion on the candidates for this year’s governor race showed that only 12 supported Cuomo.
It is not surprising that the governor has long been more popular in the ballot box than on the Internet. While his relative moderation in issues such as taxes made him popular with some Republicans at the beginning of his career, his victories in issues such as gun control led to widespread resentment. The reasons why liberals have never fully trusted him are more complex, but can generally be attributed to his ruthless pragmatism at a time when ideological purity is paramount in the left wing of the Democratic Party.
Much of Cuomo’s base consists of Voters who just want someone who can curb Albany’s notorious dysfunction and push democratic priorities while spending increases in a heavily taxed state remain modest and predictable. This silent majority is almost by definition the people who least express their political opinions on Facebook.
But after every metric, Cuomo has quickly become an internet star. In addition to the millions of people who have seen his daily coronavirus briefings in places like CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News in the past few weeks, many are actively opting to watch online. The Friday briefing was seen by 599,611 people on Facebook, 499,811 on Twitter and 60,683 on its state website, according to the governor’s office.
His Twitter followers have grown 31 percent in the past three weeks from 863,000 to over 1.1 million. His Instagram followers have increased 64 percent from 56,000 to 92,000. And there are many prominent names that take part.
“If only Governor Andrew Cuomo were the President. #LeadershipMatters, ”tweeted actress Mia Farrow.
“@NYGovCuomo has been a steadfast, truthful, and tireless official throughout the # COVID19 crisis,” tennis star Billie Jean King wrote on Twitter. “As a New Yorker, I am grateful that he runs our state.”
“I’m officially attracted to Andrew Cuomo,” comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted. “Can we just let him take over the country? Wouldn’t that be non-partisan? Let’s do that!”
Some of Cuomo’s gubernatory features, which often annoy his critics, served him well during the outbreak. It’s a longstanding Albanian tradition to make fun of the PowerPoint presentations he brings to every important speech, but his simple explanations of the progress of the contagion and how the state deals with it – with accompanying pictures – serve as fireside chats for the pajamas -clad people at a time when laptops are their strongest connection to the outside world.
There is also a clear void that Cuomo needs to fill. President Donald Trump has failed to win the Democrats who have long detested him, and comments that he has no responsibility for his government’s failure during the pandemic have given critics reason to argue that he is not a leader.
The other New York elected official who could become a national icon during a state crisis is New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. But de Blasio missed the chance to act as a spiritual leader through actions like his decision Go to the gym last Monday.
And Cuomo has not hesitated to use the powers of the state to dominate decision-making on issues such as school closings and how far the city could go toward local accommodation. From a political perspective, the mayor was largely left with the governor’s cloak.
The change in happiness is particularly ironic due to Cuomo’s longstanding aversion to social media.
“Where did it happen that we switched from a really fundamentally substantive conversation to this celebrity, media, social media and Twitter dialogue that’s a mile wide and half an inch deep?” he said in a radio interview last March. “Where celebrity and the number of Twitter followers determine whether you were suitable for an elected position. And if you have more Twitter followers, you’re a more useful candidate. Experience doesn’t matter, success doesn’t matter. It is a deterioration in the system. It is a government deterioration. ”
He repeated a version of it at his briefing on Saturday.
“Oh, I thought the government is about celebrities, and who can tweet the most and who has the most Twitter followers,” he said. “No no. Now the government is at it, do you really know what you’re doing? Is your government actually working? Can you mobilize it quickly? Now the government is serious. ”
The consequences of this Saturday address? The hashtag #CuomoForPresident rose to at least 18th place in Twitter’s list of national top trends, right next to #KanyeWestIsOverParty and a few places above #WhereIsJoeBiden. It was accompanied by another wave of Pro Cuomo comments:
“I can’t believe I’m jumping on this train because I wasn’t a fan of Cuomo re: our subways. But the clear fact is that in 10 minutes he was more honest and presidential than Trump in four years, and I would get him 100% over Biden. ”
“I’m just finished watching New York Governor @NYGovCuomo, and I’m just thrilled. Andrew Cuomo’s leadership and patience in leading his statesmen is amazing.”
“Andrew Cuomo is a fucking American hero. This guy knows how to be a leader. Every day I am impressed by its clarity and organization. He works his ass off and kills it. I wish he was the president now, we were all much better off. ”
Not so long ago, such Internet praise was harder to find than a Galapagos turtle.