New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a huge lead over his primary challenger Cynthia Nixon in major public polls and appears to be a massive favorite to defeat the activist and actress on Thursday in a statewide race that has garnered national attention.
But through a progressive platform that calls for higher taxes on the rich and a sharp, two-fold increase in spending, Nixon has managed to place reformist pressure on the more centrist governor, who has not satisfied the far-left minority rallying behind the "Sex and the City" star.
Nixon allies have boasted that the candidate's campaign has forced Cuomo to scramble to the left to protect his seat, which left-leaning news outlets have deemed the "Cynthia Effect." Cuomo allies disagree, pointing to the governor's past progressive reforms like the legalization of same-sex marriage and the passage of the $15 minimum wage.
Whether or not the so-called "Cynthia Effect" is real, the actress has rallied the leftmost parts of the Democratic base, echoing a familiar, nationwide rallying cry of underdog candidates who have run to the left of entrenched Democratic politicians this election cycle. And it could end up having an effect on the 2020 presidential race, as Cuomo is often discussed as a potential Democratic nominee.
Yet Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, himself a player in 2020 Democratic presidential politics after his surprising challenge of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, has not backed Nixon, despite endorsing other left-wing candidates this cycle. He supported Zephyr Teachout for New York attorney general and Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor, both of whom he dubbed "progressive leaders."