The obvious plus to swapping out Biden for New York’s Cuomo is that the Wuhan Virus outbreak has sidelined Biden. While Cuomo, at least at the moment, is occupying the center of attention because his state is at the epicenter of the outbreak.
That’s also the huge minus.
1. It’s hard to give Biden credit for anything involving the Wuhan Virus. But it’s also hard to blame him for anything. That’s not the case with Cuomo. While Biden can play backseat driver, the scale of the disaster in New York is going to determine a whole lot. And that’s still an unknown. If the results are less than apocalyptic, Cuomo could come out looking good. Much will depend on actual outcomes.
A high death rate will occasion a closer look at Cuomo’s policies beyond his press conference shtick. Jumping on board the Cuomo train now would be stupid.
2. If the Wuhan Virus moves beyond New York, a win, Cuomo will cease to be relevant and without the media oxygen, a much less effective candidate. The whole argument for getting Cuomo goes away without a crisis. No major outbreak to manage, no candidacy.
Poll ratings tend to go up during a crisis. But those numbers are not reflective of a long-term bump. That’s something both Republicans and Democrats should remember. Few New Yorkers especially liked Cuomo before the crisis hit. Some punchy press conferences helped make him a temporary star. But the crisis will either wear on or go away and immediate responses to it will also shift.
Biden is a terrible candidate. But he has the virtue of being a pre-coronavirus quantity. If the Democrats blow up their entire process for a crisis celebrity, the consequences could be even worse.