New York Gubernatorial Debate – The Left Beats Itself Up [VIDEO]

New York Gubernatorial Debate – The Left Beats Itself Up [VIDEO]

New York Gubernatorial Debate – The Left Beats Itself Up [VIDEO]

The New York gubernatorial primary debate between Governor Andrew Cuomo and actress Cynthia Nixon wasn’t exactly the Kennedy-Nixon debate, and it wasn’t a blowout for either side. After the sniping about the temperature of the room, the debate got plenty warm with the fireworks between the candidates.

Cynthia “I’ve made my money, let me spend yours!” Nixon, also known as “Miranda” from the TV show “Sex And The City” (full disclosure: I have never watched the show, so I can’t speak to her acting skills, only to that she became famous due to the show), didn’t make any major errors during the debate itself. Andrew “I’m a Cuomo and I’m smart and I deserve respect!” Cuomo, running for his third term as governor of New York, does lead Nixon in the polls, but keeps blustering and making dumb comments as if he was 50 points behind.

The two took plenty of shots at each other, and it was highly entertaining for anyone who isn’t on the left to sit back and watch them take swings at each other.

Neither candidate fell into the traps the other side tried to lay in advance: She seemed versant on the issues; he didn’t lose his cool or condescend uncomfortably.

But the candidates disagreed on whether public workers should have the right to strike (she is in favor, he is not); single-payer health care (she is in favor, he said it should be left to the federal government); and campaign finance reform (both said they were in favor, although Ms. Nixon said Mr. Cuomo had not made any reforms as governor, and would not in a third term).

The moment of the debate that has gained the most attention was this exchange:

If Cuomo pulls a Hillary Clinton and blows a huge lead in the polls, it will be because of moments like that, and this:

Oh, and this:

And while the Cuomo people complained, the real crux of the story isn’t that Cuomo took money from Weinstein, but from the law firm, and then had the prosecutor suspend the case.

The controversies spotlight ongoing questions about whether law enforcement actions in New York are being inappropriately influenced by campaign donations.

Amid explosive headlines about Boies’ donations to Vance and the district attorney’s decision not to prosecute Weinstein, Cuomo in March called for the New York Attorney General’s office to investigate the handling of the case, which revolved around accusations that Weinstein groped an Italian model.

While Vance in May opted to reverse course and charge the Hollywood producer, Cuomo declared that an investigation into Vance’s original decision to not prosecute Weinstein was necessary because, the governor said, “it is critical not only that these cases are given the utmost attention but also that there is public confidence in the handling of these cases.”

However, BuzzFeed on Tuesday reported that Cuomo reversed himself in June, sending a letter to New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood asking her to suspend the investigation for six months. The suspension effectively shields Boies from scrutiny of any potential relationship between his 2015 donation to Vance and Vance’s decision not to prosecute Weinstein.

Cuomo’s June order came six days after Boies, Schiller & Flexner gave $25,000 to Cuomo’s reelection campaign, according to New York campaign finance records. In all, Boies and his law firm have given Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaigns more than $245,000 since 2009.

We covered Vance’s alleged quid pro quo when that information came out during the initial wave of Weinstein news. Did we mention that New York politics runs dirty and deep?

If Nixon loses the primary, the narrative is self-explanatory. “The political newbie actress failed to gain enough momentum to defeat the Albany/Cuomo establishment machine” or something along those lines.

If Cuomo loses the primary, the narrative becomes “the socialist blue wave took out a Democratic establishment candidate!” But New York voters are not confined to the city limits that Cynthia Nixon lives within, and whether New Yorkers are willing to vote for a wealthy actress espousing socialist mottos of “FREE EVERYTHING!” is an open question.

Neither candidate made a major error during the debate, but neither distinguished themselves either.
So why does the New York gubernatorial race matter to anyone outside of New York state? Governors hold a lot of power, and these races can definitely indicate internal trends within a state. It’s also deeply illustrative to see just how much the Democrats are being split between old-money establishment leftists and the new crop of “democratic socialists.” If the blue-on-blue battles continue, it opens up possibilities for more right-leaning candidates – even in a state as royal blue as New York.

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