So you want to run for Governor of New York? No problem -- it's easy! We can look to the emerging re-election campaign of current Governor Andrew Cuomo to see how it's done by the pros.
There are a few basic rules. Rule number one is, every time the New York Times comes up with some kind of ridiculous new regulatory initiative or spending program to solve the problems of humanity, you implement it immediately (with other people's money, of course). This is the functional equivalent of the magician's diverting the observer's attention while the real activity goes on somewhere else. The progressive do-gooder will fall for it every time!
For example, do you remember the completely phony nail salon scandal promoted by the Times a couple of years ago? In a big series of articles, Pravda claimed to have uncovered a crisis of exploitation of young immigrant girls working in the salons, getting paid little or nothing while being exposed to poisonous chemicals. The Manhattan Contrarian exposed the Times series as preposterous in articles here and here; Jim Epstein of Reason Magazine did an in depth evisceration of the Times's work here. Cuomo? He immediately leapt into action to impose expensive new regulations and oversight on the nail salon industry. From the New York government website:
Exploitation has no place in the state of New York. The rights of nail salon employees must be respected. Governor Cuomo’s Enforcement Task Force has moved immediately to stop wage theft and prevent unsafe working conditions.
Well, that was a couple of years ago. How about this month? In the last couple of weeks it's been the famous crisis of lack of "doulas" for pregnant black women, supposedly leading them to suffer a health crisis. (Did your mom have a "doula" when she was pregnant with you?) The doula crisis sprang into public consciousness with a piece in the Sunday New York Times Magazine on April 15. That piece attributed the differential in health status between black and white pregnant women to the two causes of "systemic racism" and lack of doulas, while completely ignoring everything else, from substance abuse to physical violence and everything in between. By April 18 the Manhattan Contrarian had again leapt into action, heaping a fair dose of ridicule on the Times's piece. And by April 22, Cuomo had announced a big new program to expand the use of "doulas" for Medicaid recipients -- at taxpayer expense, of course (half federal!). It's like someone hit his knee with the little hammer, and it responded.
Here's what I can tell you about the "doula" program: It'll cost maybe one or two hundred million a year. The relative health outcomes of black and white mothers will not change at all. A few years from now, there will be a new article in Pravda decrying the continuing differential in health results between black and white mothers, and again blaming the "crisis" on systemic racism. The new article will not mention the doulas or the spending on them (which will be continuing), but instead will propose some yet new public spending solution as the one that will work this time. If Cuomo is still the governor, he will immediately put into effect whatever they demand. Hey, what's a couple of hundred mil! Just a few more safely bought votes that no one will ever criticize him for.
You can come up with as many of these crazy things as you want. How about the campaign against plastic grocery bags? Pravda ran an op-ed on the subject on March 3. By April 23 Cuomo had proposed legislation to ban them! I won't go on.
OK, now you've got all the progressive do-gooders distracted and eating out of your hand. Now let's consider rule number two of running for governor in New York. Rule number two deals with the actual substance of running the government. Rule number two is: The State of New York is run by the public employee unions, so you need to give them whatever it takes in taxpayer dollars and legal advantages to buy their support. Then, they support your campaign with money, workers, votes, and everything else.
Are the public employee unions threatened by the pending Janus case in the Supreme Court? The answer is easy: You slip into the annual state budget (passed March 30 -- Good Friday!) a provision making it absolutely as difficult as possible for any current member to quit from a state employee union.
Do the unions who represent low-wage government-funded employees (SEIU comes to mind) want protection from potential lower-wage competition? Easy! Raise the minimum wage to $15!
Your reward for backing the SEIU drive to raise the minimum wage? They will run an ad campaign during election season plastering your picture all over the subway. Don't worry, it's all completely non-political! What, are you against organ donation to save the lives of children?
And again, I'm just getting started. How about some pension sweeteners for your union pals? One hundred nineteen such bills are currently before the legislature. How about a few more roadblocks for charter schools? The possibilities are endless.
But you say, all these things require that you are already governor. Sorry, I forgot to mention that piece of how to run for governor.