Have the Democrats hit rock bottom, or are they just confused about who they are? For New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both might be the case.
In the event you’re leading your life and not up to speed on the nonsense unfolding in the liberal enclave of New York, the governor is facing a serious challenge for the Democratic nomination this cycle from an actress best known for her portrayal of Miranda on the television series “Sex in the City.”
It’s a serious challenge in New York because, well, she’s famous and she’s quite far to the left.
“Something has got to change. We want our government to work again, on health care, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us …,” Cynthia Nixon declares in her campaign video about deep-blue New York.
New York Magazine declared, “Cynthia Nixon has already won … by moving the governor to the left.” Yet, she told the magazine … wait for it … “The main reason [she’s running], she said, is Donald Trump. Like many liberals, Nixon was shocked and shaken by the outcome of the 2016 election …” This from a woman who is running on how New York “is the single most unequal state in the entire country, and it’s become more and more unequal under Andrew Cuomo.”
But Trump! Got it.
Mr. Cuomo at first dismissed the challenge. The New York Times reported that he “accused” Ms. Nixon of being a “second tier celebrity,” (ouch!). Is he admitting that to be a successful Democratic politician you have to be an actor worthy of an Oscar?
The panic may be even deeper. After all, Ms. Nixon checks boxes on two protected classes for the regressive left: women and gays. Mr. Cuomo, a leader in a party that subsists on identity politics, can’t run on policy, but he also can’t run on his straight white man identity, either. So what is a Democrat to do? In a world where liberals have declared you are whatever you “identify” as, Mr. Cuomo has taken that to heart.
Last January, Mr. Cuomo identified as a Jewish, black, gay, disabled Muslim woman. All in one sitting. “As a New Yorker, I am a Muslim,” he said at a press conference. “As a New Yorker, I am Jewish. As a New Yorker, I am black. I am gay. I am disabled. I am a woman seeking to control her health and her choices. Because as a New Yorker, we are one community.”
Just to make sure everyone knew, he reiterated his new identities on Twitter: “As a New Yorker, I’m a Muslim. I’m Jewish. I’m a refugee. I’m black. I’m gay. I’m poor. I’m homeless. #IAmMuslimToo”
You have to give him credit, he covered just about everything. For Democratic politicians, this makes sense as they’ve reduced the experiences of real people’s lives to slogans at press conferences and on social media. Democrats created identity politics in order to divide and conquer. They then pander to each group, and then abandon them. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients got a taste of that with the Democrats in Washington, D.C.
New York Democrats have an interesting choice: a woman who has made a living pretending to be other people, who correctly calls New York a disaster and unfair, and wants to double-down on the liberal policies that are responsible; or the incumbent governor, who just recently decided to become other people, and is responsible for the progressive-lite policies that have destroyed the state.
It could be that New Yorkers might want someone else entirely, which might explain why the Jewish, black, gay, disabled woman governor also recently became “undocumented.” At a bill-signing ceremony in mid-April, Mr. Cuomo’s identity expanded again: “I’m an Italian-American, I came from poor Italian-Americans who came here. You know what they called Italian-Americans back in the day? They called them wops. You know what wop stood for? Without papers. I’m undocumented. You want to deport an undocumented person, start with me, because I’m an undocumented person.”
Yeah, no. Mr. Cuomo, and his parents, were born in New York. And about the origination of the term “wop,” the New York Post reminded us, “A lot of people besides Cuomo believe this. But it’s bogus history. The anti-Italian slur is not an acronym and has nothing to do with Ellis Island, where immigrants didn’t even have to present papers until 1940. The term comes from the southern Italian word ‘guappo,’ meaning a swaggering thug.”
And we wonder why the Democrats are in such trouble and why the cities and states they run are collapsing. Because it’s never about policy, and always about pandering and identity. One identity Mr. Cuomo hasn’t co-opted is that of “felon,” but he knows when you’re unable to persuade people on policy, you have to fill voter rolls with those whom you can count on.
Mr. Cuomo has announced he will pardon 35,000 felons who are out of prison but still on parole. Why? So they can vote. New York law allows felons to vote once they have completed their entire sentence, including parole. But that won’t help Mr. Cuomo in the upcoming primary, or Democrats in November.
Activists say pardoning tens of thousands of felons so they can vote is about criminal justice reform. Really? That would have been more believable had Mr. Cuomo made this move when he wasn’t being challenged on the left. New Yorkers may want to ask both the governor and Ms. Nixon what else they’ll promise felons in order to get their vote. As actors, you can be sure they’ll both have something to say.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk show host.
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