It’s less than three weeks until primary day in New York and somehow, for reasons which elude almost everyone, former actress turned political hopeful Cynthia Nixon is still making headlines for her longshot bid to unseat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Despite one poll after another showing the Sex & the City star trailing by anywhere from 50 to 7,290 points (I may have made one of those numbers up, sorry. The other one is real) Nixon is still insisting that an upset is in the offing and she’s going to shock the political world. What’s more, the press is still interested in covering the tale. The New York Post’s Michael Goodwin came out this week with a speculative piece hinting that Nixon just might have one more trick up her sleeve that could put her back in the thick of the race. (Emphasis added)
Nixon fizzles. She’s never hit 30 percent in the polls and the last two have her trailing Cuomo by an average of 33.5 points. So she’s toast, right?
Maybe. Or maybe she’s about to get a shot in the arm that will reshape the race.
I believe there is a good chance The New York Times will endorse Nixon. If so, she would get instant credibility among city and state liberals, many of whom still regard the Gray Lady as a secular bible. That could give Nixon a chance to seize the momentum before the Sept. 13 vote.
Combined with expected low turnout and Cuomo fatigue among many voters, the result could be surprisingly close, or even a stunning upset.
So Goodwin’s opinion is based largely (though not entirely) on the expectation that the New York Times is going to come out and endorse Nixon. That’s not an unreasonable position to take at all, really. They’ve already endorsed Zephyr Teachout (who still has a blood fued with Cuomo) for Attorney General. They’ve also been preaching the abject corruption in Albany and covering the Governor’s many associates who are now residing in new quarters featuring bars for doors. Further, the Times just this week ran this piece questioning whether there might be an uncounted pool of voters ready to show up for her. Here’s just a taste of it.
“Polls are not capturing who the new electorate is,” Ms. Nixon said. “We have a younger, more progressive, more diverse electorate. Those are the people that are going to turn out for me.”
To reach that electorate, Ms. Nixon has spoken at places like the Bowery Hotel fund-raiser, which the campaign billed as an event for “young creatives.” She courted support at a South Asian street fair in Jackson Heights, Queens, even though Asians rank near the bottom of ethnic groups in terms of voter turnout. She joined a round-table discussion with the Muslim Democratic Club of New York City, which accused Mr. Cuomo of never visiting a mosque as governor. She met with disability rights advocates, one of whom, Colleen Flanagan, the director of Disability Action for America, said their community had typically seen “zero inclusion, and actually exclusion from political campaigns.”
We used to laugh and make jokes about how the polls are skewed when a significantly underwater candidate claimed there was a “hidden vote” out there waiting to carry them to victory. And then Trump happened. But let’s keep in mind that Donald Trump was only down by single digits in the swing states he shocked the world by carrying. Nixon is down by at least 30 across the entire state and as much as 50 with key demographics in the Big Apple.
Goodwin’s glimmer of hope for her begins with a Times endorsement. I’d argue that the power of newspaper endorsements has eroded in the 21st century to the point of being a non-factor, including the vaunted New York Times. The rest of Nixon’s alleged potential is based on all of those factors the New York Times article cites combined with the possibility of “expected low turnout.” The turnout would have to be staggeringly low… as in at least half of Democrats (all of whom were Cuomo supporters) failing to show up. And even then it would be close. But hey… what do I know? I’m not writing this during the Hillary Clinton presidency, so maybe fairy tales can still come true.