When Cynthia Nixon announced she would run for office, she was ridiculed,
called an ‘unqualified lesbian in her midlife crisis’. But digs like these only motivated her more.
Of the millions of viewers who came to know her, a great many also came to love her, as a no-nonsense lawyer characterized by a dry sense of humor, biting cynicism, considerable skepticism regarding her relationships with men, but also, and perhaps quite crucially, as a ‘voice of reason’ for her three best friends. For six seasons, between 1998 and 2004, Nixon formed part of the ensemble cast in the blockbuster show produced by HBO, acting alongside Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw), Kristin Davis (Charlotte York), Kim Cattrall (Samantha Jones) and Chris Noth (Mr. Big, see page 26). In 2008 and 2010, two feature length movie version filled the theaters. The series “Sex and the City,”, which achieved franchise—and cult-favorite—status, had a number of assets, but one asset of particular note was Cynthia Nixon. Whenever Cynthia Nixon, 52, assumes the role of Miranda Hobbes, audience members willingly suspend, disbelief about plotlines involving the smart lawyer character she brings to life, fully-realized and irrevocably plausible.
On her way to becoming governor. Now we envision the actress, a native-born New Yorker, who still sports her signature short haircut, in an entirely different role: Nixon is in the running, to assume the office of governor of the state of New York. Her challenger is no less than the veteran politician who will be running as the Empire State’s incumbent governor, sixty-year- old Andrew Cuomo. The Democratic primary will take place in September. If the celebrity candidate and would-be politician actually takes that first hurdle, which would constitute a small miracle, her chances of triumphing over her still unnamed Republican opponent, two months later, are strong. As governor, she would assume executive political command of the state, the fourth largest in the United States, -with 19.8 million inhabitants, including the world-metropolis of New York City, which has long held its undisputed position as the nation’s most populous city.
Her duel against the sitting governor Andrew Cuomo is like that of David against Goliath. But let’s face it: is anything still politically impossible in the Trump era?
David vs. Goliath. The story that seems most relevant to Ms. Nixon’s uphill battle, and therefore comes to mind with a facility matched only by its promptness is, of course, that of David and Goliath. Initially, Nixon’s bid for office was laughed off as a mere public relations stunt, as occupational therapy for an actress in the depths of a midlife-crisis. Nixon, a native-born New Yorker, who claims both English and German ancestry, was dealt crude blows that even many of her partisan opponents would typically classify as falling well below the belt: Former City Council speaker Christine Quinn, for example, launched an attack that amounted to nothing more substantial than name-calling, lashing out at the actress as an “unqualified lesbian,” a scandalous
impertinence, particularly in a cosmopolitan city like New York. But so far, the actress has not been swayed by such attacks.
Apparently inspired by the #metoo movement and the gigantic demonstrations, manifesting as traditional women’s marches, against US president Donald Trump, Nixon assembled a team of political professionals and dove head-long into the process of campaigning. Cynthia Nixon deftly attacks Andrew Cuomo, a long-standing institution in the Democratic Party, from the left, demonstrating a foxy sort of savvy by aiming directly at a liberal voter group. In such a way, she follows a strong undercurrent already guiding the action and reactions of the entire Democratic Party, currently in a turmoil of internal political opposition, toward the left. And let’s face it: Is
anything still politically impossible in the era of the Trump Presidency? After all, the candidacy of New York’s most visible—famous or infamous- property tycoon was, at first, also regarded as little more than fodder for jokes, even on the campaign trail.
The election campaign. “Cynthia! Cynthia! Cynthia!” The chant, uttered by members of the
organization “New York Communities for Change” (NYCC) reverberates throughout the halls
of 570 Lefferts Avenue, located in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood. Not much time has passed since, the organization has declared its endorsement of Nixon. The activists are, fundamentally, demonstrating against the overdevelopment and predatory practices of landlords and developers. The threat has been plaguing residents for several months now, as neighborhood landlords, financed by developers, have been working to create multi-story complexes that not only fail to square with the longstanding character of the neighborhood, but are producing problems that include excessive noise and dust associated with construction, but more disturbingly, a tendency to use harassing methods to cause senior tenants to leave their homes in favor of bringing in a younger class of resident to live in these new multi-unit developments. Today’s demonstration is most directly against the group of Wall Street financial sharks most identifiably the root of the developmental impetus, who have just bought up another house with previously stable rent, only to push out all prior tenants. The new owners plan to refurbish the building and to sell off apartments at hefty market prices. This will cause further problems with which individuals from outside the neighborhood are unlikely to be familiar, including the lack of corresponding infrastructure to meet the influx of people, not to mention parking problems. Nixon arrives on foot, joining the protest with a slight delay. The people cheer her appearance among them, as, the candidate – wearing an elegantly simple blue coat and green scarf, her hair recognizably short, as it was in the TV show that made her famous – appears moved by the warm welcome. She hugs some of the activists. The group now chants, “Down with Cuomo, up with Cynthia!” Without a doubt, there have been cleverer slogans in the history of US politics, but that wouldn’t be evident based on the contentment of Nixon’s smile.
Media interest. Nixon is situated in the middle of a group of about 40 protesters, posing patiently next to posters, with slogans like “Flat Crisis Ahead.” Camera shutters click, signifying the multitude of press photographers and TV stations, national and international, that have turned up to cover the event. The media, unsurprisingly, has shown up out of an eagerness to cover every presumably absurd moment of the story of the “Sex and the City” candidacy of “Miranda,” a character so familiar to so many. Meanwhile, a speaker holds the sitting governor responsible for failing to prevent financial speculators from making crude property deals that are adding more fuel to an already high-burning fire. Homelessness continues to be a massive problem in New York City, with an estimated 62,000 people living on the streets and in emergency shelters. The political
newcomer is caught up in the emotions of her supporters, exclaiming, “That’s right” at various
points in the speech, as if she were one of them and not an untouchable figurehead. And as the speaker of the NYCC activist group officially announces their endorsement of her candidacy, Nixon appears almost moved. “We know,” the speaker continues, “ -that Cynthia will end the homeless crisis, that she will stand on the side of tenants, not on that of big money.”