The far-Left wing of the Democratic Party is in its ascendancy. With the victories of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her race against more traditional Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in New York and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Florida, it’s clear that Democratic voters are embracing positions closer and closer to Bernie Sanders' democratic socialism — at least in rhetoric and theory. In 2016, that meant that Sanders stole Hillary Clinton’s thunder — she rightly stated a few months back that her embrace of capitalism hurt her with the Democratic base. In 2018, it means that Democratic officeholders, who must still operate in a real-world context in which capitalism drives all economic growth and provides the income base for all social redistributionism, are at a clear disadvantage when facing pie-in-the-sky Leftists who can shout socialist nostrums without having to deal with the consequences.
The latest example of this divide: the New York gubernatorial race between Governor Andrew Cuomo and former actress Cynthia Nixon. Nixon is running some 30 points behind Cuomo according to July polling, but in her debate with Cuomo, she scored serious points while smashing him from the Left. She slammed him — to the applause of the audience — for failing to embrace single-payer health care; she accused him of underfunding the MTA, using it as an “ATM”; she suggested that he had flipped on marijuana legalization. Meanwhile, Cuomo suggested she was a “corporation” (a weird charge, given that most wealthy people have corporations for tax purposes) and blamed her for not releasing her taxes in timely fashion (another weird charge, given that he waited to release his own taxes in 2010 until after the gubernatorial election, which Nixon pointed out). Overall, Cuomo looked petty and spiteful, and insincere in his dedication to Leftist principles. Purity usually trumps practicality in political debate.
It also helps when your opponent owns himself, as Cuomo did repeatedly. The best example: Cuomo asked Nixon to stop interrupting. She accused him of lying. He then responded that he would stop lying when she did.
That’s a pretty significant own-goal; it’s Cuomo admitting he lies, but accusing her of lying as well. He’s not the brightest bulb.
He also doesn’t have the passion Nixon does. It showed. She may not win the race, but she’s going to run competitively — and that’s a problem for Democrats in non-deep blue states, who will have to run uphill against a country that isn’t exactly prepared for Sanders-esque policies, or at least for the realistic cost of them.