Leadership at the Twilight of Progressivism: Mario Cuomo’s Defense of Liberalism in Two Speeches in the Summer of 1984

  • Saladin Ambar


Within a 60-day period in the summer of 1984, New York governor Mario M. Cuomo delivered two of the most comprehensive and important speeches in defense of liberalism in America in the last 30 years. They arguably represent, in tandem, the most proximate statements of Democratic Party progressivism in the twilight of that political thought’s influence in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The speeches reflect a hearkening back to more traditional Democratic Party politics built upon urban, ethnic, and labor-based constituencies—groups at the heart of the New Deal coalition that began to unravel in the mid-to-late 1900s. It is Cuomo’s Hudson progressive pedigree and his rhetorical objections to Reaganism most specifically, and to conservatism, more broadly, that are the focus of this chapter.


Democratic Party Liberal Politics Daily News Republican Convention Democratic Convention 
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© David P. Redlawsk 2015

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  • Saladin Ambar

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