Governor Cuomo had a full schedule Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, aimed at showcasing some of his strengths, including supporting LGBT rights and helping the homeless. However, he first shared the stage with Hillary Clinton’s primary opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders.
Cuomo began with a planned speech to the New York delegation, but he had to abbreviate it to leave time for surprise guest Bernie Sanders to address the delegation of Hillary Clinton’s home state, whom Cuomo introduced .
Both Sanders and Clinton delegates cheered and at times gave Sanders a standing ovation.
Sanders told them they must defeat the “worst Republican candidate in the modern history of this country.” He said Trump supports some traditional GOP policies, like cutting taxes and services, but he said it is really much more than that.
“He is in fact a demagogue who does not respect or understand the constitution of the United States of America,” said Sanders. “That, by the way is not just the opinion of Bernie Sanders. That is the opinion of conservative Republicans.”
Sanders praised Cuomo’s push to enact an increased minimum wage in New York to $15 downstate and $13.50 upstate, as well as paid family leave, but he indirectly chided New York when he said voting needs to be more accessible. The state’s restrictive party registration laws drew national attention during the April presidential primary.
“The Democratic Party has got to open its doors,” Sanders said.
Cuomo, who did not appear with Sanders during the New York primary - which Clinton won - said he and the Vermont Sanders have a lot in common, supporting many of the same policies.
“We believe in progressive politics,” shouted Cuomo. “We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk.”
Sanders also repeated his calls for his supporters to now back Hillary Clinton. Cuomo, speaking later in the day, said the event was about creating unity among the New York delegation.
“You had a divided group in that room,” said Cuomo. “You’ve had Sanders supporters who were not yet ready to fully accept Hillary.”
At least some of the Sanders supporters are still not ready to make the shift. Josephine Moore is a Sanders delegate. She says some of her fellow delegates are now saying they may even vote for Donald Trump.
“I have heard that some plan to,” said Moore. “He is speaking to that rage that people feel, that our elected officials have sold us out to big corporate interests.”
Moore said she is not going to vote for Trump, but when asked if she is going to vote for Hillary Clinton, she paused and shrugged.
“When it comes to effecting real change, we have to remember that who’s President is only a small piece of that puzzle,” Moore said.
Moore, who is from Schenectady, said she plans to concentrate on local races, including supporting Cuomo’s 2014 gubernatorial primary challenger Zephyr Teachout in her run for Congress and democratic candidates hoping to retake the state senate for Democrats.