Miranda Hobbes would be an excellent candidate for governor. She is intelligent, stylish, funny, and probably the best friend anyone could ask for. Cynthia Nixon might have won our hearts as a no-nonsense, feminist lawyer, but can she do the same as a gubernatorial candidate?
Cynthia Nixon officially launched her gubernatorial campaign this week, getting ready to face off against career politician and incumbent Andrew Cuomo for the position of Governor of New York State. Cuomo has been in the governor’s seat for two consecutive terms and has had a lifelong career in politics and law, spanning over three decades. Nixon, on the other hand, played lawyer Miranda Hobbes on Sex and the City for six seasons and two movies.
Nixon’s lack of political experience really doesn’t matter in the political field anymore. Donald Trump went from being a billionaire reality TV star to the leader of the free world after one campaign. So with Nixon’s 17-year history working as a political activist in New York, working to improve education, gay rights, and women’s rights, she’s already off to a better start than our president was when he announced his presidential candidacy.
To be fair, Donald Trump was by no means the first celebrity to run for office. Of course we all know that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a bodybuilder and action-movie star before he served as Governor of California, but the lesser known actor-to-politician is Clint Eastwood, who served as mayor of Carmel, California for two years in the late 80s.
President Reagan was a classic Hollywood film star from the 1940s through 60s. His 1966 gubernatorial campaign in California couldn’t have been any less shocking to voters at the time than Cynthia Nixon running for governor is today.
It’s actually quite progressive that the biggest conversation around Nixon’s candidacy is related to her celebrity status, rather than the fact that she is a gay, female Jew. Just as gay people are as capable to hold office as straight people, women are as capable as men, and Jews are as capable as Gentiles, celebrities are as capable to hold office as “real-people.” In our Kardashian-filled world, as a society, we generally believe that celebrities are empty-headed and only able to play lawyers on TV. But isn’t that stereotyping just as bad as as prejudicing based upon sex, sexual orientation, or culture?
When Thomas Jefferson declared independence from Britain and his 56 friends and colleagues signed it, they did so because they wanted to create a self-governed country—meaning a place where anyone could run for office, regardless of past work experience. And now, 242 years later, everyone truly can run for office regardless of sex or race.
In recent years, there have been quite a few non-politician candidates running for public office. Trump might have been the only TV personality on the 2016 debate forums, but he wasn’t the only outsider to the political world. Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and neurosurgeon Ben Carson had both fared quite well in the early stages of the GOP primaries. In Cuomo’s first race for governor, he ran against a few political outsiders, one of them was even the madam of a prostitution ring.
The idea of non-politicians running for office isn’t new. What has changed is the fact that these political outsiders are earning serious voter attention. The election of Donald Trump proved this (in addition to angering at least half of the country). The positive side to political outsiders is that they are not influenced by political cronyism or lobbying. As Cynthia Nixon writes on her campaign site, she “hasn’t been bought and paid for by corporate interests, and won’t be accepting any corporate contributions in this campaign.”
It isn’t easy to trust politicians, most have spent their careers lying to their voters. The other positive to political outsiders is that they haven’t lied to their constituents. At least not yet.