When Cynthia Nixon announced that she’s running for governor of New York against Andrew Cuomo, there was a palpable wave of excitement about a progressive outsider who could mount a viable challenge against the Establishment, especially among one group. Some left-leaning supporters of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign — often derided as “Bernie Bros,” regardless of whether or not they fit the term’s classifications — have thrown their energy enthusiastically behind Nixon.
“Every single person I know who supported Bernie in 2016 is supporting Cynthia Nixon this year,” actor and Bernie fan Michael Cavadias, 45, tells the Cut. “Cynthia’s platform is as bold as Bernie’s is.”
In other words, the Cynthiacs are here.
When asked how enthusiastic he is for Nixon’s run — on a scale of one Cuomo to ten Bernies — film and TV editor Brian McCarthy, 32, says, “Right now I’d say I’m probably at seven Bernies, somewhere between him being dressed up for a nice photo and him with a windbreaker on, shouting at people with his hair all over the place.”
It makes sense: Much like Sanders became a sensation because he placed issues like America’s income inequality problem at the forefront of his campaign, Nixon addressed similar points on a statewide level right out of the gate. Her inaugural ad put a clear emphasis on tackling the wealth gap, public education, and, of course, the failing subway system. And for some New York–based Bernie voters, it’s exactly what they’re looking for.
“Nixon recently gave a speech where she called out Cuomo for taking money from the Koch brothers and, as a leftist, it gave me a similar feeling to watching Sanders call out Clinton’s friendship with Henry Kissinger on TV,” McCarthy elaborates. “A feeling of: ‘oh my god someone in national politics is articulating my actual views, this is crazy.’”
Katie R. — an executive assistant in her late 20s, native New Yorker, and self-described “Big Bernie Bro” — says she was “blown away” by Nixon’s first video. “She flat out said [she wanted government to work on] ‘ending mass incarceration,’ which is something you rarely hear a seasoned politician say.”
To others, Nixon has already succeeded in going even further than Bernie. “I’m a really big fan of Bernie. However, in many ways, I respect Cynthia even more because, while she shares a similarly progressive platform, she’s more courageous than Bernie ever was in seizing the Democratic party name and agenda,” 26-year-old data analyst Adam Sasson, who thinks Bernie will be the next president, explains. “Cynthia started her campaign by questioning if Cuomo is a ‘Real Democrat.’ This immediately shifts the frame of the conversation and attempts to take control of the party platform.”
Will Menaker, 34, co-host of the popular leftist podcast Chapo Trap House, also admires Nixon’s vision and jokes that he identifies as a #CynthiaMan. (He is listed on Wikipedia as someone who has endorsed her, although he says tweeting “Cynthia Nixon is going to beat Cuomo and be the next governor of New York” was not an official endorsement.)
Menaker cites her “solid social democratic politics” and “fairly consistent and strong stances against a neoliberal turn” in her party. “I did see a speech of hers where she said it’s not enough to just say Trump is awful, you need to offer a compelling vision, a competing vision that engages in people’s hopes and imaginations for a better future,” he says. “To get there, we’re going to have to get rid of Democratic party hacks like Andrew Cuomo and much of the New York State Democratic party, much less the national one.”
Plus, Menaker says, “Miranda was the best character on Sex and the City. And that is why we are all Mirandas now.”