By Alan S. Chartock | March 30, 2018

So now it’s Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon versus Andrew Cuomo in a gubernatorial primary. If I were Andrew Cuomo (and I’m glad I’m not) I’d be shaking in my motorcycle boots. This is where character comes into play. I’m willing to acknowledge that Cuomo is a strategic genius who has been elected governor twice and is likely to get himself elected again, what with his thirty-one million dollars in campaign money and a myriad of followers who are out to dirty anyone who takes him on. But by overreacting in the year of the woman, Cuomo risks showing his bullying side as well as his very sharp and famous elbows. Put another way, Andrew is not a nice guy. Everyone knows that.

In Cynthia Nixon, Cuomo has drawn an opponent who can make his life a living hell. She will be his worst nightmare. It turns out that this very, very smart woman has an intuitive grasp of how to play up all of Andrew’s dark sides. Take, for example, the Joe Percoco scandal. Cuomo came riding into his governorship properly calling Albany out for the cesspool that it is. He bragged that he would change all of that. It turns out that that the guy is a study in hypocrisy or, even worse, in self-deception. Indeed, we now know that some of the people at the very top of his political circle may go prison for the most craven of political crookery. This is a long way from Lochinvar riding out of the west.

After Percoco was convicted of graft, it looked like Andrew might ride out the storm. After all, Donald Trump was sucking all the air out of politics. Andrew said that the conviction of his so-called “third brother” was a personal tragedy for him and that seemed to be that until Nixon entered the race. Now, every time he turns around she is going to be there, raising the issue and reminding people that even if he was not personally involved in illegalities, he certainly wasn’t properly supervising those around him. Nixon said Cuomo would have won several gold medals in the “Corruption Olympics.” She does have a way with words.

Nixon is a lesbian and Cuomo’s followers have been called into action to protect their prince. The grand prize for this protection goes to failed political candidate Christine Quinn who announced that Nixon was an “unqualified lesbian.” That one is going to go into the history books. Talk about political backfire.

Now the big issue on social media is whether Nixon, a classic outsider, has any business running for political office. After all, in contrast to Cuomo she is inexperienced in politics. This is from the department of “Will someone please give me a break?” Experienced how? Joe Percoco? Todd Howe? Several more trials of Cuomo people coming up? Use of the very LLC shadow companies that Cuomo has himself decried to help him raise his thirty-one million dollars? So much of his money has come from the big people and so little from the little people who want progressive government. Wait! What’s wrong with an outsider running for political office? That’s exactly what American people want and need right now. The last thing they want are the good old boys doing their thing, raising campaign funds in return for government contracts.

Nixon is closely aligned with Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mayor, of course, has his own ethical and political problems.  That’s on him but Nixon is a breath of fresh air. Cuomo is both scared and worried and is already making mistakes with Nixon. If he keeps on doing that, he will only create more risk for himself. She probably can’t win but in a Democratic primary, anything can happen. And she sure isn’t helping him or any hopes he has for becoming President.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].