Cynthia Nixon’s challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is generating attention for many reasons, not least because the former “Sex & the City” star brings Hollywood celebrity to what otherwise might be a dull and uncontested re-election campaign by the dull and thoroughly anti-progressive Andrew Cuomo. But while I enjoyed the HBO television series and Cynthia Nixon’s role as Miranda Hobbs back in the day, her TV stardom has nothing to do with my decision to vote for her and endorse her for governor.
The simple fact is that Democrats have a choice between a genuine progressive and a phony one when they go to the polls in September to vote for the Democratic nominee for governor of the state of New York. Nixon is running on a progressive platform that includes alternatives to incarceration, legalization of marijuana and driver’s licenses for all New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants as well as a host of other important progressive agenda items foreign to Andrew Cuomo’s anti-progressive corporate agenda.
In sharp contrast, Cuomo has surrounded himself with corporate lobbyists and his cronies are being convicted of corruption, including Joseph Percoco, one of Cuomo’s top aides who Cuomo has said is ‘like a brother’ to him and who was found guilty on three counts by a federal jury in March 2018.
I don’t vote on the basis of identity politics alone or even primarily, but the fact that Cynthia Nixon is openly queer is not at all an irrelevant fact, especially given Andrew Cuomo’s notorious role in organizing the ‘vote for Cuomo, not the homo’ smear campaign during his father Mario Cuomo’s race against Ed Koch for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York in 1977.
And of course, Andrew Cuomo himself has tried to use identity politics against Nixon, most notoriously when he sent his attack dyke Christine Quinn out to publicly savage his rival in March 2018. Quinn was forced to apologize for calling Nixon an ‘unqualified lesbian’ and the former New York City Council Speaker has not been heard from since that disastrous gaffe. Cuomo often brags about his role in getting the marriage equality bill through the Republican-controlled Senate, but he never mentions the fact that he refused to support the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and actually undercut GENDA by signing an executive order instructing the State Division of Human Rights to add gender identity and expression to the list of categories under which it accepts complaints of discrimination.
Nor does the governor mention the fact that he has almost single-handedly kept the Senate in Republican hands by prompting Sen. Jeff Klein to form the Independent Democratic Conference to split the Democrats and enable the IDC to prop up the Republican minority and retain control of the upper chamber of the state legislature; Republican control of the Senate has had significant consequences for the state, enabling Cuomo to block progressive legislation from coming to his desk. Republican control of the Senate has also enabled Cuomo to boast about his ability to ‘reach across the aisle’ and work with Republicans in the Senate as well as Democrats in the Assembly, even while concealing his crucial role of maintaining Republican control of the Senate.
While the Democratic Party establishment has closed ranks behind Cuomo, progressives are flocking to Cynthia’s banner, including independents not closely associated with the party. And I will be casting my vote for Cynthia Nixon in the primary on Sept. 13. When it comes to the choice between Cynthia Nixon vs. Andrew Cuomo, my advice is this: Vote for the homo and not the Cuomo!