New York voters are getting short-changed this election season and we deserve better.
The Republican Party did not hold a primary although they could have. But worse, and another example of detachment between the governing and the governed, is that incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to be dodging a debate with his four challengers.
While it is true that it is often in the incumbent’s best interest to not debate, it is, however, in the voter’s best interest to face off in person, face to face.
Imagine the change in the course of history had President Lincoln not debated Douglas or there had been no Kennedy-Nixon debate.
American political tradition, especially since the advent of television, has resulted in debates or at least forums between political candidates. From presidential debates to debates for local offices, American voters have come to expect, and to a large portion, learn from political clashes between candidates.
But apparently not when it comes to the New York Governor’s race.
Cuomo debated his primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, but nothing is scheduled for clashing with GOP challenger Marc Molinaro, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins and Stephanie Minor, of the Serve America Movement.
No one hears a man talking in a room by himself.
Both Molinaro and Sharpe have called for debates, but nothing has been arranged.
Not only do all balloted candidates deserve to be heard, but voters deserve to hear them. Debates can often sway undecided voters, who can often mean the difference between victory and defeat. Not debating is a disservice to the candidates, but even more to the voters and the exchange of visions for the state.
Molinaro has agreed to a debate in late October on a New York City television station, but Cuomo, who is feuding with Spectrum, the station’s parent company, has not agreed to the debate.
As for Sharpe, his stance on debates has been “anytime, anywhere.”
Molinaro has rightly said the debates are not about the candidates or their campaigns, but about the voters and democracy in action.
In a statement released Thursday morning, Sharpe cited media in calling out Cuomo to debate him and the rest of the candidates.
In a republic, such as ours, information is vital. With instant information available via social media, information, and misinformation, are only seconds away. This makes it even more important for candidates to face off live and let the voters see their reactions, hear their ideas, and decide how to vote accordingly.
If Cuomo really has New York’s best interests at heart, he will square off with Molinaro, Sharpe, Hawkins and Miner. Then again, if Cuomo continues to hide from his challengers, any discerning voter has to wonder why and what Cuomo doesn’t want made public.
If he believes in his record, he will openly defend it in a debate. If not, he earns neither my respect or my support. Mr. Cuomo tear down this wall between yourself and your challengers.