Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and primary opponent Cynthia Nixon wait for the start of their debate at Hofstra University August 29, 2018 in Hempstead, New York. (Photo: Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images)

'We Don't Need a Corrupt Corporate Democrat': In Heated NY Debate, Nixon Counters Cuomo With Bold Progressive Message

Challenger Cynthia Nixon promised to end the "incredible corruption" of the governor's seven-year tenure by bringing ambitious vision and people-powered politics to New York

Jake Johnson

Just two weeks before New Yorkers head to the polls to decide who will be their state's Democratic gubernatorial nominee, actress and activist Cynthia Nixon offered an ambitious alternative to the toxic status quo entrenched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who she characterized during Wednesday night's highly anticipated debate as emblematic of the kind of "corrupt corporate Democrat" who has prevented the party from achieving necessary objectives like criminal justice reform and Medicare for All.

"We already have a corrupt corporate Republican in the White House. We don't need a corrupt corporate Democrat in Albany as his main opposition."
—Cynthia Nixon

"We already have a corrupt corporate Republican in the White House," Nixon said at the start of the hour-long debate, which was the first and likely only time Cuomo and Nixon will share a stage before next month's election. "We don't need a corrupt corporate Democrat in Albany as his main opposition."

Asked how a newcomer to electoral politics could govern a state as significant as New York, Nixon noted that she is "not an Albany insider like Governor Cuomo" and argued that "experience doesn't mean that much if you're not actually good at governing."

In addition to highlighting what she described as the "incredible corruption" of Cuomo's seven-year tenure as governor, Nixon clearly detailed her positive progressive agenda, which includes single-payer healthcare, support the right of public workers to strike, staunch advocacy for women's reproductive rights, and protection of undocumented immigrants from Trump's cruel, xenophobic agenda.

Nixon—a long-time advocate for public schools who identifies as a democratic socialist—also delivered an impassioned monologue on the necessity of legalizing marijuana and ending the so-called war on drugs, which she characterized as an urgent "racial justice issue."

Watch:

In response to Nixon's claims that he has "broken the New York City subway" and "handed over control of the State Senate to the Republicans," Cuomo insisted that Nixon is the real "corporate Democrat," despite the fact that she does not accept campaign contributions from corporations.

One of the debate's most remarkable and "painful" moments of the debate came when Cuomo repeatedly insisted that Nixon is "a corporation."

"You are a corporation," Cuomo said repeatedly. Nixon—who, like everyone else watching the exchange, appeared baffled by Cuomo's attack line—responded, "I am a person."

Watch:

Bolstering Nixon's claim that Cuomo is subservient to the interests of corporate donors, Capital & Main reported just hours before Wednesday's night's debate aired that Cuomo halted an investigation into the Manhattan district attorney's decision not to prosecute Hollywood producer and accused serial abuser Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges, just as the firm of Weinstein's lawyer gave Cuomo's campaign $25,000.

In response to Capital & Main's explosive report, The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald argued that Cuomo embodies everything "wrong with the Democratic Party."

Watch Nixon and Cuomo's full debate:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Campaigners Warn of 'Wave After Wave of Variants' as Long as Vaccine Apartheid Remains

"Omicron is with us because we have failed to vaccinate the world. This should be a wake-up call."

Jake Johnson ·


'Utterly Obscene': Just 8 Pfizer and Moderna Investors Became $10 Billion Richer After Omicron Emerged

"Pharma execs and shareholders are making a killing from a crisis they helped to create," said one justice campaigner.

Jon Queally ·


Ilhan Omar Calls Kevin McCarthy 'A Liar and a Coward' for Refusing to Condemn Boebert's Islamophobia

"This is who they are," said the Minnesota Democrat. "And we have to be able to stand up to them. And we have to push them to reckon with the fact their party right now is normalizing anti-Muslim bigotry."

Jon Queally ·


'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·


Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo