Cynthia Nixon on Principles & Values
The Cuomo campaign's focus on Nixon's "angry" tone, rather than on her policy proposals and criticisms of the governor's record, will induce a case of d‚j… vu in anyone paying attention to the coverage of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race.
Calling Nixon's temperament into question emits a similarly sexist dog whistle. The tactic echoes Cuomo ally Christine Quinn's decision to call Nixon an "unqualified lesbian," rather than an unqualified person or candidate. The remarks may not be blatantly sexist or homophobic, but they're intended to shake loose sexist and homophobic stereotypes in voters' minds.
"Cuomo thinks that I should stick to acting, but after seeing Cuomo try to play the part of a progressive, I think he should stick to politics," said Nixon. "His performance has not been very convincing. You might say he's an unqualified thespian." Her comment was a nod to former NYC Council speaker Christine Quinn's dismissal of Nixon as an "unqualified lesbian." Quinn later apologized, but the phrase lives on.
But none of Nixon's remarks got as much applause as her "Vote for the homo, not for the Cuomo" line, which has historical precedent. During the 1977 New York City mayoral campaign, when Ed Koch ran against Cuomo's father, Mario Cuomo, flyers appeared that read, "Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo."
Nixon ended her remarks by suggesting that the younger Cuomo come out of the closet ... as a Republican.