If the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revolution in NY-14 is really A Thing, there should be some evidence of it in the far more prominent New York gubernatorial primary, no? Particularly since:
1. Cynthia Nixon was somewhat famous even before she became a candidate, and
2. Andrew Cuomo is one of America’s most comprehensively charmless politicians
Granted, Cuomo’s no pushover. He’s an incumbent and he’s part of a family dynasty. But no one’s demanding an outright Nixon upset as proof of the strength of Democratic Socialism. All it would take is a scare. Can a poised, telegenic, true-believing far-left progressive gain enough traction in a very blue state’s primary to at least frighten the sort of doofus who, when grasping for ways to pander to the left, suggests suing the Supreme Court?
“Sure, she’s down big,” you might say, “but she’s slowly and steadily gaining ground. By the end she’ll be close enough to scare him.” Nope: She trails by more now than she did in early May, when Cuomo led 50/28. “It’s just one poll, though!” you wisely counter, noting that the poll of polls is more reliable. True enough, but she was getting crushed in the most recent poll before today’s Quinnipiac survey too. Last month Siena had her trailing 61/26, a nearly identical margin to today’s numbers. If both polls are accurate then she’s gained no ground at all over the span of about six weeks, despite heavy coverage of Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning upset of Joe Crowley coming smack dab in the middle.
Her problem, I think, is that New York Democrats writ large just don’t find Cuomo as obnoxious as the left does. His job approval stands at 69/20 among them and his favorable rating at 72/16. You’re not gonna knock off an incumbent with numbers like that. And all of the hype about Ocasio-Cortez in political media hasn’t penetrated especially deeply among her party: She’s viewed favorably by New York Dems at 37/7 but a majority of 55 percent say they don’t know enough about her yet to form an opinion. Even if she hits the trail for Nixon, it’s anyone’s guess if voters who aren’t already sold on Nixon would care.
Maybe … maybe Nate Silver’s right:
Two things can be true:
1) The power/energy in the Democratic Party is moving leftward.
2) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory was mostly because she was a great candidate, running in the right district at the right time, and probably had relatively little to do with her leftness.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) July 18, 2018
I suppose it’s possible that a race in which fewer than 30,000 people voted, in a district that’s half Latino by population and had a middle-aged Irish incumbent facing a charming young Latino candidate, might not be a perfect harbinger for a rising ideological tide that’s about to sweep America. We’ll have a better sense on September 13 when Nixon finally faces the music against Cuomo.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s Ocasio-Cortez continuing her string of thoughtful interviews by offering her take on the industrial revolution.