November 19, 2018

The Democratic Establishment Strikes Back

The progressive insurgency that has toppled Democratic Party favorites in New York City’s outer boroughs, Boston, and Florida could not lay a finger on Andrew Cuomo.

The two-term New York governor easily dispatched an energetic challenge from the actress and activist Cynthia Nixon on Thursday night to win renomination to a third term. With more than three-quarters of the ballots counted, Cuomo had swamped Nixon by a nearly two-to-one margin. He was poised to win with an even larger percentage of the Democratic vote than he secured four years ago against a much lesser-known liberal rival, Zephyr Teachout.

Polls had shown Cuomo leading throughout the race, but the upset primary victories by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against longtime Representative Joseph Crowley in Queens, Ayanna Pressley over Representative Michael Capuano in Massachusetts, and Andrew Gillum in Florida’s gubernatorial race had injected uncertainty into the New York contest.

In the end, there wasn’t much drama at all. The first sign of an early night came the moment the polls closed, when the Nixon campaign emailed reporters a memo listing all the reasons she never stood a chance. And when a cheer went up among the governor’s supporters as Cuomo’s win was called a half-hour later, the victor was nowhere to be found. Skipping his own election-night party inside a cramped Manhattan bar, Cuomo spent the evening 150 miles away at the governor’s mansion in Albany. His campaign didn’t even bother to release a statement. It was one final power move in a campaign that was filled with them. The message was clear: Why celebrate a victory that, to the governor’s mind, was never in doubt?

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