Cynthia Nixon, like Bernie Sanders before her, has a problem with black Democrats

First things first: The theme song of the week is the theme to ...

Posted: Jul 22, 2018 7:00 AM
Updated: Jul 22, 2018 7:00 AM

First things first: The theme song of the week is the theme to "Will & Grace," by Jonathan Wolff.

Polls of the week: A Quinnipiac poll of New York's upcoming Democratic gubernatorial primary has Gov. Andrew Cuomo leading Cynthia Nixon 59% to 23%.

Cuomo's lead increased from Quinnipiac's last poll, which had Cuomo up 50% to 28%. It's the eighth poll of the race overall that has Cuomo ahead of Nixon by at least 20 percentage points.

What's the big idea: This race was supposed to be a marquee match-up for the left wing of the Democratic Party. Cuomo has a history of siding with Republicans in the state Senate, and the state's progressive Working Class Party backed Nixon. It would have been the capstone for progressives after Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated New York's Rep. Joe Crowley in a primary in June.

The left, though, hasn't been able to make a dent in Cuomo. His current margin over Nixon is actually larger than his margin over progressive challenger Zephyr Teachout in the 2014 Democratic primary for governor.

Cuomo's large lead is emblematic of two important trends in the Democratic Party.

The first, and perhaps most obvious, is that progressives look likely to fail in their biggest 2018 tests in the two biggest blue states. Besides Cuomo, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California looks to be on her way to victory against Kevin de Leon. As with Nixon, progressive activists have endorsed his campaign. Voters overall, though, have a different perspective. Feinstein ended up 32 points ahead of de Leon in June's top-two primary. She also holds a large lead over him in general election polls.

While the #resistance is strong in both states, neither is a haven for the left wing of the Democratic Party quite yet.

The second trend is that Cuomo's lead is indicative of is the continually poor showing by progressive insurgents among black voters.

Cuomo is leading across pretty much all demographic groups, but he's particularly strong among African-Americans. Although no crosstab of black voters was available in the Quinnipiac poll, an earlier Siena College poll put Cuomo's margin over Nixon among black voters at 74% to 17%.

His advantage among black voters is no fluke.

When Ocasio-Cortez was cruising district-wide, she was weak in black neighborhoods. She was able to win in large part because of strength in areas with larger white populations.

Progressive Daniel Biss lost the Illinois gubernatorial primary earlier this year at least partially because he ran weak in the black neighborhoods of Chicago.

In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, could never quite overcome Hillary Clinton's connection with black voters. She won them in New York by 50 points, for example.

Even for Cuomo, a black base is nothing new. When he beat Teachout four years ago, he did best in areas that were predominantly black.

Of course, Ocasio-Cortez was able to win overall anyway. That wasn't the case for the progressives in the other examples, though. It's tough for progressive challengers to win when they lose by 50 points among a group who make up more than a fifth of the electorate.

Why are progressive insurgents struggling with black voters? Black Democrats are more likely to consider themselves moderate or conservative than other Democrats. They also are more likely to identify as Democrats instead of independents who lean Democratic.

That is, they are far more comfortable with the more moderate Democratic establishment than other Democrats are, especially whites.

Now obviously it's possible for progressive challengers to win a primary even with this difficulty (see Ocasio-Cortez). But until candidates like Nixon and Sanders solve their black voter problem, they're going to be limited in their electoral victories.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 16769

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
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Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
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Monroe492
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Perry430
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