Cynthia Nixon is not just another celebrity running for office


Former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon is running for governor of New York, but don’t call her another celebrity jumping on the political bandwagon.

For better or worse, the election of businessman-turned-reality star Donald Trump to the American presidency has “modified” the traditional requirements of public office. Consequently, the welcome mat to politics has become a red carpet of real and alleged celebrity candidates. The Internet begged for President Oprah, cringed at Kid Rock’s stunt Senate run, and was generally confused about the (now-postponed) presidency of Kanye West.

All the while, one woman quietly became the frontrunner of celebrity politicians ready to turn a rumored run into reality.

This week, former Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon announced her intention to run for governor of the state of New York, challenging two-time incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary.

But don’t call Nixon just another celebrity jumping on the political bandwagon — if anything, she’s been paving the way for a long time. While many would-be politicians are theoretically affected by social issues, they are essentially protected from any direct effect by fame and fortune.

Meanwhile, the Tony-award winner has a history of choosing to rough it out like the rest, exposing herself to the effects of policies, and speaking up from personal experiences voters can relate and respect.

Concerned about the public-school system? Nixon is a proud product of it — even enrolling her children and becoming a spokesperson for the Alliance of Quality Education. Complaining about the decidedly unsexy but maddening issue of public transportation? Nixon feels you because she’s probably standing right next to you in a crowded train stalled at the station, on her way to the Women’s March.

When the former Broadway actress speaks on AIDS in the gay community, she speaks from the heart, having lost close friends to the epidemic. Nixon and her partner Christine Marinoni had to wait three hard years for gay marriage to be legalized in their home state before they could marry. Their love and struggle make Nixon a uniquely experienced celeb candidate, spurring her to come into her own as an activist and laying the groundwork for her campaign years before many famous figures had found their soapbox.

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 21: Actor Cynthia Nixon (L) and partner Christine Marinoni attend HBO’s Post Primetime Emmy Awards Reception at the Pacific Design Center on September 21, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

In 2003, Nixon separated from her partner of 15 years, Danny Mozes. A year later,  she began dating education activist Christine Marinoni, whom she met at a gay marriage rally. Their desire to marry each other made the fight for marriage equality more personal than ever. Nixon lobbied New York lawmakers, hosted major fundraisers, and was active in a PAC aimed at throwing politicians who don’t support marriage equality out of office.

The couple was finally able to wed in 2012 after gay marriage was legalized in the state of New York. For her efforts, GLAAD awarded Nixon the Vito Russo Award in 2010, and she also received the Visibility Award by the Human Rights Campaign in 2018. Marinoni recently resigned as senior adviser for community partnerships in New York City, almost certainly to support her wife’s campaign.

Ahead of the State of the Union address, Nixon wrote an op-ed for CNN where she made it clear that there is no cavalry here to save us — the state of the union was up to us, she said. Make no mistake; it’s going to be an uphill battle against two-time incumbent Gov. Cuomo. But at least Nixon walks the walk.

Kanye makes an 11-minute speech declaring his intention to run for president in 2020, outlines his policy reforms, only to abruptly drop it. Mark Cuban and Dwayne Johnson politely muse about a running as if the problem is they might not want to, not because they lack experience or even passion.

Next: 20 Democrats who could run for president in 2020

But no one can ever say that when it comes to politics, Cynthia Nixon doesn’t practice what she preaches — and she’s been preaching for a long time.