Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders are two sides of the same coin for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Democratic governor, a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, likened the socialist independent from Vermont to the billionaire Republican in a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School today. Mr. Cuomo, a moderate who has clashed with progressives and conservatives alike, said both candidates represented ideological extremes and offered “simple” answers for complex issues.
“When people have more pressure on them, they feel more pressure, they feel more anxiety, you see the extremes grow and you see the extremes become louder,” Mr. Cuomo argued, according to a transcript provided by his office. “You’ve seen that on the Democratic side and the Republican side in these presidential elections.”
“People on the left, we’re concerned about income inequality, we’re frustrated, no one’s doing anything. I have an answer, ‘Let’s take the money from the rich person and hand it to the poor person.” Bernie Sanders. There’s a perfect solution.”
“People on the right, nervous about their jobs, nervous about the competition, blue collar workers nervous, we need an enemy, the enemy are the immigrants who’re coming in and stealing everything from the good hard-working Americans,” Mr. Cuomo continued. “How do we handle it? Make them leave! Eleven million people, out tomorrow. Donald Trump, nice simple answer.”
Mocking Mr. Trump, perhaps the most strident critic of immigration in the crowded GOP field, Mr. Cuomo added: “What do we do once we kick them out? We build a big wall so they can’t walk back- perfect! Nice, simple answer for people who are really afraid.”
Some commentators have compared Mr. Trump to Mr. Sanders because they are both waging insurgent campaigns against candidates preferred by the political establishment. Both also enjoy significant backing from grassroots activists and saw quick jumps in support after they kicked off their campaigns. Conservative Republicans are drawn to Mr. Trump’s populist, anti-immigrant attacks, while progressives, particularly younger voters, cheer on Mr. Sanders’ uncompromising liberalism.
But Mr. Cuomo, who has been openly dismissive of Mr. Sanders since he established himself as Ms. Clinton’s top threat, did not point to glaring differences between the two men. Mr. Trump has never held elected office and has been the subject of much hand-wringing in the GOP establishment because of his endless stream of controversial statements.
Mr. Sanders, though an outsider, is a career politician who has served in Congress for two decades. He works relatively well with Senate Democrats and his challenge, with some exceptions, has been generally well-received by establishmet political figures. Unlike Mr. Trump, he has never led in any national poll.
Disclosure: Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media, is the son-in-law of Donald Trump.