What’s becoming clearer and clearer now is that Trump and Cuomo are not actually that dissimilar, except in the sense that Cuomo actually likes his job and understands the nuances of how government works. They’re both bullies who manage by abuse and coercion, they’re constantly competing with their late fathers (apparitions who hang over every decision they make), and narcissism makes it impossible for either of them to summon the introspection and empathy required to evolve as humans and as elected officials or apologize in any sincere way for mistakes. They both routinely lie — though Cuomo does it instrumentally when it serves his cause, and Trump does it reflexively, maybe compulsively. And they share another important commonality: an understanding that elected officials can mask prolonged and egregious incompetence by projecting a public image of immunity to the uncertainty everyone else feels, and a lack of fear of the things that would rationally terrify anyone else.
The ability to project this kind of public image is an advantage in politics, but it has nothing to do with being able to govern. Cuomo has always been a thin-skinned tyrant who spends more time plotting revenge against anyone who gets in his way than he does thinking about public policy. One of my colleagues refers to him as a kind of malevolent artificial intelligence whose knee-jerk reaction to the advancement of even policies he should nominally support is to threaten vetoes and roadblocks in hopes of extracting leverage from the policy’s sponsors — a simple algorithmic response designed only to increase Cuomo’s power.