NEW YORK - We could not vote for Cynthia Nixon in her Democratic Primary challenge to Governor Andrew Cuomo last month, because we are independents and we were barred from casting primary ballots. But, we applauded her gutsy and spirited campaign, one that sought to expose critical failures in our state government and in the leadership of Andrew Cuomo.
It was not surprising, but it was disappointing that the Working Families Party, which had endorsed Nixon in a show of independence and non-compliance with the Albany bosses, voted to push her off their line after the primary and endorsed Governor Cuomo instead. This kind of maneuvering is all too characteristic of how minor parties in New York are forced to function. The labor unions, which back the WFP, no doubt feared retribution from Cuomo if they allowed Nixon’s campaign to go forward in November.
It was also disappointing that Nixon was willing to step down as their candidate. Another instance of women being railroaded by a powerful man? Haven’t we had enough of that?
However, there is something that Nixon could do that would honor the issues of her campaign and underscore the reasons she challenged Governor Cuomo in the first place. Fighting corruption and special interest control will be on the table on November 6 because another woman will be on the ballot on November 6. Her name is Stephanie Miner -- and Nixon should endorse her.
Stephanie Miner, the two-term mayor of Syracuse and a former Democrat, is running as an independent candidate for governor and will be on the SAM (Serve America Movement) line. Michael Volpe, the current mayor of Pelham, is her running mate. Miner served as a co-chair of the Democratic Party and she has been a firsthand witness to the corruption scandals that plague Cuomo’s inner circle and our state government. That is what led her to run as an independent.
Both Miner and Nixon were born and raised in New York state. They have much in common— the courage to speak the truth and a deep concern about the corruption of our government, the decaying of our infrastructure, the lack of decent housing, and a political system that depresses voter participation.
In her campaign, Nixon talked about how “eight years under the Cuomo administration have been an exercise in living with disappointment, dysfunction, and dishonesty.” We could not agree more and urge her to take the next step to make good on that claim.
This is not the moment for business as usual. To support the cynical deal between the Working Families Party, Governor Cuomo and his Democratic Party machine can only serve to discourage ordinary New Yorkers who are concerned about the future of our state and country. This is a moment to take risks, to build new partnerships, and to elevate the independent courage that women can singularly voice.
We hope that Nixon will lend her singular voice to the building of a new movement across our state, one that is being led by a woman. That’s how she can give meaning and power to all those voters who supported her in the primary.
Stephanie Miner is an experienced policy maker, an outspoken critic of the partisan control in Albany, and she is willing to expose how the insider trading that permeates the state’s economic development policy is hurting working families.
That story must be told. Nixon can no longer tell it, but she can help it to be told. Miner can.
Editor's Note: This article was co-authored by Cathy Stewart and attorney Harry Kresky, counsel to Independent Voting.