Actress turned politician Cynthia Nixon seems to pulling Governor Andrew Cuomo policy strings. Following her announcement last week that, as governor, she’d push to legalize recreational marijuana, the two-term governor suddenly reversed, and broke out into what seems like a sprint, to announce his intentions to legalize marijuana.
Only three weeks into her challenge, Nixon has already successfully pushed Cuomo to the left on his previously held stances regarding the MTA, unions and, now in the day following Nixon’s announcement, legalizing marijuana. All the same, Cuomo has been slinging insults with his characteristic machismo at Nixon since her announcement. When asked to rebut statements made by Nixon in Glamour, Cuomo’s biting response spoke volumes. “I don’t mean to insult Glamour,” he said, “but I’m not a usual reader of Glamour magazine.” Even when Nixon’s ambitions were mere rumors, Cuomo was notably pissed. “When asked by reporters why she might run against him,” the Washington Post reported, “Cuomo joked that she was put up to it by his enemies.”
Nixon’s argument for legalizing weed was focused directly at the racial inequality associated with policing the drug. “There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana,” she said, “but for me, it comes down to this: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity.” She went on to remark how New York is behind other liberal states in optimizing the impact of taxation and profit by deregulating the drug for recreational reasons—in a way that most commentators have interpreted as an out-and-out dig at Cuomo’s governorship. “In 2018,” she said,”in a blue state like New York, marijuana shouldn’t even be an issue. If there was more political courage coming out of Albany, we would have done this already.”
Nixon’s progressive challenge to Cuomo’s hardline rule over the state may not end in success as strictly defined. But, considering how far she’s cajoled Cuomo out of his Republican-friendly policy positions into something actually in tune with American’s actual wants, you could say what others are already starting to chant five months out from the Democratic primaries: She’s already won.