Great National Journal* article outlining what’s at stake ‘down under’ in Rhode Island during their next gubernatorial contest.
In one corner is former venture capitalist and hedge fund manager Gina Raimondo, who as State Treasurer has pursued Cuomo and Walker style ‘reforms’ of public pensions, pro-business policies, and has even won high praise from the Wall Street Journal. In the other corner is Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who has also been a budget leader pulling the city of Providence out of bankruptcy but has done so by working in good faith with labor and building a blue collar/minority alliance.
The looming Democratic primary battle between the state’s two most popular politicians could also represent one of the earliest internal struggles between different factions of the new Democratic coalition that carried Obama to victory in 2008 and 2012. Raimondo is positioned to do well with the upscale wing of the party, because of her fiscal reforms. Taveras’s base is the working-class wing of the party and Hispanics, both groups protective of government programs at risk under budget cuts. Both officials had to deal with the deep-seated budget problems that have hit Rhode Island hard: Raimondo has challenged the unions head-on, while Taveras has sought accommodation with their demands. “These really incredible forces that could make the Democrats a permanent majority at the national level could also start cannibalizing the Democratic party,” said Wendy Schiller, a political science professor at Brown University.
Will Raimondo’s affluent and suburban New Democrat/Rockefeller Republican coalition or Taveras’ blue collar/minority base win out? And how might this portend future fissures in the Democratic party? Stay tuned.
*This was published before Lincoln Chaffee announced his party switch, for analysis on his chances look to this article