As the old saying goes: Behind every man is a woman who thought of the idea first but is getting a fraction of the credit. And apparently, the state of the New York gubernatorial office is no exception.
Current Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a statement this morning outlining key platforms for his 2019 agenda, and it all seemed… strikingly familiar.
Earlier this year, Cuomo came under fire while seeking his third term, when the challenger candidate and actor/activist Cynthia Nixon ran against him before losing the September primary. Though Cuomo is a self-proclaimed liberal, Nixon’s campaign brought to light many ways he has been operating like a conservative. For instance, 0.1% of his campaign money comes from small dollars and the rest from corporate donors, including $64,000 from Trump. (When Nixon demanded Cuomo give back Trump’s donations, no such action was made.) Other faults Nixon cited in her campaign included allowing a breakaway caucus of eight Democrats to stay allied with Republicans, causing the GOP to control half the New York senate. She also noted the fact that New York “is the single most unequal state in the country,” pointing to income inequality and the poverty crisis.
But in a 45-minute speech that mentioned well-documented racist Franklin D. Roosevelt 32 times, some of Cuomo’s new platforms seem to have been inspired by the ones held by his former opponent. As pointed out by reporter Shane Goldmacher on Twitter, many highlights were things Cynthia Nixon based her entire campaign on. Like an elementary schooler cheating off his neighbor’s paper, Cuomo goaded these new, copycat platforms to applause. Many of these policies were ones Cuomo didn’t give attention to pre-Nixon, demonstrating that although she came up short on votes, we all know who the real winner is here. (Insert smug Miranda Hobbes GIF.)
Here are just a few of the platforms Cuomo named in his speech, along with a direct quote from Nixon during her preceding campaign:
“I think it’s very important that we legalize marijuana in New York State. Eight other states have done it, plus the District of Columbia. There are a lot of reasons to do it, but first and foremost, because it’s a racial-justice issue. People across all ethnic and racial lines use marijuana at roughly the same rate, but the arrests for marijuana are 80 percent black and Latino,” said Nixon in her gubernatorial debate against Cuomo.
“Effectively marijuana, in New York State, has been legal for white people for a long time and it’s time to make it legal for everybody else,” she said.
Ending cash bail
“One of them is Harvey Weinstein who is a wealthy white man accused of decades of sexual assault and rape. He walks free, because he can afford to pay his one-million-dollar bail,” Nixon said, in a video she posted on Facebook outlining another key pillar of her campaign.
“Thousands of New Yorkers are languishing in jail awaiting trial because of a cash bail system that punishes people for being poor. Tonight, those people will be sleeping in cages and Harvey Weinstein will be sleeping in his own bed,” she said.
Automatic voter registration and making election day a state holiday
“It’s time to end voter suppression in New York State and our Democratic leadership needs to lead the charge. The women, people of color, young people and low-income New Yorkers who make up the base of the Democratic Party are the most disenfranchised under our current system. We should be making it easier to vote, not harder—by introducing simple, critical measures that are being enacted in many states across the country including early voting, automatic voter registration, and changing the draconian deadlines on party registration,” says Nixon’s campaign website. Nixon also noted during multiple speeches of her campaign that election day should be a state holiday.
The banning of corporate dollars
“Cuomo has built a $31 million war chest with the donations of millionaires, billionaires and corporations,” said Nixon at a kickoff event in Brooklyn. “But do you know how much of that came from small donors? 0.1%. If you’re a regular person in New York, the chance that Andrew Cuomo is going to care about your concerns is exactly that — 0.1%.”
During her short campaign, Nixon reported receiving more than 2,000 contributions of less than $200, while Cuomo has received less than 2000 small-dollar donations since 2011.
Restructuring the subway
“While the MTA hasn’t put out a clear number on the cost to repair their subway, probably due to political pressure from the Governor, we will need a dedicated revenue stream that can be reliably counted on,” says a detailed plan on Nixon’s campaign website. “To repair an infrastructure problem this significant, we will also need multiple revenue streams. To meet those needs, we propose comprehensive congestion pricing, as well as funding from part of the revenue generated from a polluter fee and a millionaires tax.”
Codifying Roe vs. Wade
“If you really care about a president that’s rolling back Obamacare, why haven’t you fought harder for single-payer?” challenged Nixon in her gubernatorial debate against Cuomo. “If you really care about women’s reproductive health, why have you prioritized Republican leadership in the Senate over the Reproductive Health Act which would have codified Roe vs. Wade into law here?”
Nixon moved Cuomo’s needle further to the left with her fierce campaigning, and these are just a few of the things she got the governor to pay attention to. But what did Nixon herself have to say? “Sometimes people ask me: was it worth it?” she tweeted, citing Goldmacher’s tweet outlining Cuomo’s agenda. “YES.”