by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
They are the governors most celebrated by the media for their handling of the coronavirus. They are Democrats. They are frequent critics of President Trump. And they govern states with some of the worst numbers associated with the outbreak.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has earned such extraordinary plaudits for his coronavirus leadership that there has been speculation he will replace Joe Biden at the top of the 2020 Democratic ticket. He has ruled it out, although polling suggests rank-and-file Democrats have not.
The crisis has elevated Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer close to the front of Biden’s running mate shortlist, at least publicly.
The praise for Cuomo has been especially fulsome. U.S. News and World Report christened him “America’s governor,” Politico, the “coronavirus’ golden governor.” A headline in Forbes proclaimed, “Coronavirus calls for a leader with soul: Cuomo steps up.” …
… Cuomo has received high marks for playing the hand he has been dealt and not engaging in blame-shifting. But Cuomo, like Trump above him and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio below him, also initially projected confidence before the area became the epicenter of the pandemic. While a New York Times report placed much of the blame on Trump and the “chaotic” federal response, “Even so, the initial efforts by New York officials to stem the outbreak were hampered by their own confused guidance, unheeded warnings, delayed decisions and political infighting,” the paper found. …
… In Michigan, Whitmer has found herself in the national spotlight thanks to a feud with Trump that has led to glowing profiles contrasting her with a bullying president. A Detroit News poll out this week found Michigan voters approved of her coronavirus handling by 57%-37% compared to 44%-50% for Trump.
But Michigan ranks seventh in confirmed coronavirus cases at 32,935 and third in deaths at 2,698.
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