by Jude Messler
Cynthia Nixon will not be the Governor of New York. The latest polls have Andrew Cuomo ahead by at least thirty points, a gap that all but ensures that he will clinch the Democratic nomination next Thursday. From the moment of its inception, a Nixon candidacy was a longshot. Taking on the two-term Cuomo, the golden boy of the Cuomo political machine, was a bold and naive move which was always going to be an uphill battle. Cuomo has remained modestly popular in his second term, his decision to seek a third term was not unexpected.
A simple tweet signalled the beginning of Nixon’s campaign in March of 2018, after weeks of speculation. When I first viewed Ms. Nixon’s well crafted announcement video I was overcome with excitement. I was captivated by her story, her journey, and how cool would it be if she became the Governor of New York. She promised that as governor she would invest in the MTA, push for more equal public school funding, and fight income inequality. Her platforms are bold, progressive, and energetic: what New York needs. However, I have serious doubts that if she was ever elected she could produce the results she promised.
Cynthia Nixon should not be disqualified because she is an actress, or a women, or a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Yet, she should not be the Governor of New York. She has no experience! She has never managed a $168 billion dollar budget, or overseen thousands of state workers. If elected, Ms. Nixon has expressed the desire to double the budget to $345 billion and create a single payer-health care plan that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars. When asked how she would pay for these expensive endeavors Nixon said “pass it and then figure out how to fund it.” I recently spent two months interning for Senator Schumer and in my short time there I quickly learned that any potential legislation must have the proper funding to back it up before it is even brought to a vote, or else it will be dead in the water. Beyond that, no legislative body would pass such controversial legislation when only a percentage of the details have been hammered out.
Moreover, Nixon’s plan to regulate global warming would require $25 billion in funding. To pay she proposes a tax on “polluters” that would raise $7 billion annually. This would still leave a deficit of $18 billion needed to fund her project. Even Nixon’s plans to better fund public schools and fix the MTA are filled with holes that spread tax revenue thinly across multiple projects, and would ultimately drive New York State into deep debt.
Furthermore, Nixon’s close ties to New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and his aides also prove a point of weakness in her campaign. Frankly, I see her actions as incredibly hypocritical, cozying up to a politician who takes millions from big donors and has also failed to reform the MTA. De Blasio had a mediocre first term marred by corruption, and will continue to be the mediocre mayor with no political future in his second term. He has failed to institute programs to close the wealth gap, failed to effectively fight school segregation, and has done little about the status of the subways. Nixon surrounds herself with aides who have steered the benign De Blasio administration, so why should we expect a potential Nixon administration to be any different then his?
To be clear, I agree with most of the issues that Nixon is discussing and appreciate the spotlight she has shone on numerous social and fiscal topics. However we need a governor who can provide us with solutions, not rhetoric.
Governor Cuomo, on the other hand, is a career politician who is running to be re-elected, not to help New Yorkers. He is positioning himself to make a bid for the White House in 2020, he is not interested in reforming the MTA, or help provide equal funding for public schools. I would like to believe that I am not naive, I know that the subways can not be fixed with the snap of a finger. I would like to believe that in one of the wealthiest states with some of the most brilliant minds the Governor could have at least formulated a plan for the MTA in the last eight years.
We need new blood in Albany; new and progressive thinking. I would love to see Congressman Hakeem Jeffries or Speaker Corey Johnson take leadership roles in our state. Nixon and Cuomo are not the candidates which New Yorker’s deserve and I hope that young people, especially Beacon students, will stand up and fight for experienced and progressive leadership to come forward.