Christine Quinn, Corey Johnson and Identity Voting in the NYC Primary Election

According to preliminary data, large numbers of women and gays deserted Ms. Quinn. The New York Times reported on exit polling showing that 39% of women voters went for Mr. De Blasio, with only 16% going for Quinn. White women chose De Blasio over Quinn 36% to 26%. Black women barely even considered voting for the only female candidate, with nearly half voting for De Blasio and only 6% pulling the lever for Quinn. Hispanic women chose De Blasio in slightly less dramatic, but no less significant fashion.

Even more notable, 47% of voters who identified as gay chose Mr. De Blasio, only 34% chose Ms. Quinn.

Corey_johnsonI can add some meat to these numbers. For much of the day, I was out by the LGBT Center encouraging people to vote for my friend — and ultimate winner — Corey Johnson. Johnson trounced his opponent, the openly gay Yetta Kurland, by a 2 to 1 margin despite Ms. Kurland's misleading, negative and nasty campaign.

That campaign can tell us a lot about LGBT progress and self-defeatism. Mr. Johnson had a solid, progressive record as a community activist and Chair of Community Board 4 and a remarkable personal narrative that brought nearly 2/3 of voters to his side. Ms. Kurland had little in the way of Corey's experience, so she opted for misleading smear campaigns and negative campaigning. She baselessly and consistently attacked Corey for fabricated connections to real estate developers. She even accused him, and his campaign manager R.J. Jordan, of assaulting someone in a building stairwell. Anyone who knows Corey and R.J. knew that was a lie.

Negative campaigning is always a shame. Negative campaigning within our own community is worse. My idealism and political naivete prefer that the LGBT community show a united front for our greater battles. Ms. Kurland dropped any facade of affinity alliance and attacked Corey like many desperate, losing candidates have in the past. In a way, that's progress. In another very real way, however, it shows how quick some of us are to "eat our own."

That same tension between progress and division was evident in voter views of Ms. Quinn.

"I don't care that she's gay," one gay man told me, referring to Ms. Quinn. "I vote for Corey and for De Blasio. She won't end stop-and-frisk."

"She's in Bloomberg's pocket. She didn't do anything to stop the condos," a lesbian told me. (Real estate development is a big issue in New York City because some argue that middle class families are being priced out.).

"She's not progressive enough for me. She's basically Bloomberg in a dress," an elderly woman snapped. "Corey's great. I don't need to vote for a woman. I need to vote for someone good, someone … " she paused, "… someone who's gonna be a real liberal Democrat."

I have to say this woman was awesome. Dressed in a fiery red pants suit and sharp and witty like my grandmother was, she captured what I think was the best and worst of our community's voters yesterday.

She displayed an admirable, though troubling ideological purity that can damage winning coalitions. Time and again, voters claimed that Ms. Quinn was insufficiently liberal based on some truth and some wild mischaracterizations. Ms. Quinn's campaign should have framed the debate better, gotten out ahead of her opponents who painted her portrait for the voters. But even if Ms. Quinn were truly not liberal enough, purity is risky. Republicans in Nevada, Indiana, Missouri and Delaware know this well, and it is not beyond the pale that De Blasio's Republican opponent, the Giuliani acolyte and capable administrator Joe Lhota, could paint a picture of De Blasio as a wacky liberal extremist. Don't forget: New York has elected Republicans to Gracie Mansion for 20 years!

But, again, we see the silver lining to our community's apparent ideological purity in the mayoral primary. Identity didn't matter. We have the luxury of demanding more from our candidates because there are no longer any (Democratic) candidates in a place like New York that oppose LGBT equality.

We have to be careful about taking this silver lining too far, however. Identity may not matter to gays and women in New York too much, but the symbol to the rest of the country and the world of having an openly gay woman at the helm of New York City would have been unmistakable and extraordinary. We are still fighting tough battles in purple and red states. We need more LGBT elected officials, public role models and leaders. We cannot be cavalier about that.

For all her qualifications and skills, Ms. Quinn was a victim of a lot of things: ideology, voter dissatisfaction with Bloomberg, her position, her reactive campaign, and so on. But she was also a victim of progress.

***

Follow me on Twitter: @ariezrawaldman

Ari Ezra Waldman is the Associate Director of the Institute for
Information Law and Policy and a professor at New York Law School and is
concurrently getting his PhD at Columbia University in New York City.
He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard
Law School. Ari writes weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.

Comments

  1. ColinATL says

    Ari, as always, an extremely insightful post. I am so disappointed as an outsider (and Quinn contributor) looking in. Here in the South, the symbolic win by Quinn would have been huge, as you mention. But the liberal-eat-liberal politics of NYC got the better of Quinn and her team. They should have seen this coming and pivoted faster. :(

  2. SPOT says

    It’s a sign of progress if no one cares about the race or orientation or gender of the candidates.

    I was offended by people telling me I should vote for Quinn because she was a lesbian, and I disagree that she would have made a great mayor. She would have been another rich voter panderer and bully.

  3. Paul says

    There is an assumption of GLBT candidates that just because a candidate is gay or lesbian, the community will support them. That is a false assumption and at times costs candidates votes. Quinn had a record of working with Bloomberg and was the heir apparent and that alone caused her to lose. GLBT voters are not focused solely on electing GLBT members, the GLBT voter is interested in supporting the best candidate to get the job done, and that is what happened here.

  4. marco says

    I would never vote for someone just because they’re gay too. If you want to see ID voting in action in this election, look at who Chinatown and Flushing voted for. lol

  5. miko says

    Quinn’s numbers plunged after Maureen Dowd’s article in the NYT, which quoted DeBlasio’s wife (orchestrated by DeBlaiso’s campaign) stated that Quinn could not relate to women and issues around children. That gave the “collective ok” to dislike Quinn as “the other.” It is unfortunate, but DeBlaiso ran a homophobic campaign. The kicker is that he is married to a woman with a lot of internalized homophobia. So sad. Because of this, DeBlasio does not deserve to be Mayor of NYC.

  6. Spike says

    If Gay rights was an issue in NYC still, I might have voted for Quinn…but the reason why she lost my vote was because she couldn’t be trusted. She rolled over for Bloomberg and his 3rd term. If she could go against the will of the people(we voted twice for term limits) for Bloomberg and his favors, who knows what else she would do.

  7. David From Canada says

    I’m not even remotely a New Yorker, so here’s my opinion.
    Bill de Blasio won because he’s an Ultra Liberal and he knows how to push everybody’s buttons and say all the ‘right’ things like a stereotypical politician. Ultra Liberals are just as extreme and destructive in their own way as Ultra Conservatives.
    Bigotry still stops many people from voting for a female and a lesbian, much less one who is both.
    Good Luck New York City! You may need it!

  8. miko says

    Not everyone in NYC thinks that Bloomberg has been such a horrible Mayor. Of course, not perfect, by a long shot. But NYC (and I have lived here for over 26 years) in my opinion has changed for the better. Class warfare and homophobia, is not a good way to run a campaign, DeBlaiso unfortunately, ran just that…disqualifying himself.

  9. Greg says

    Good thing the primary voters of NYC don’t share your opinion that symbolism matters. Instead their opinion is that substance matters more. I could not care less what voters outside of NYC will think about the mayor. They do not have to live in NYC. What I do care about is how the next mayor will govern the city.

    Quinn sealed her fate when she allowed Bloomberg another 4 years. If she was so immovable on overturning term limits, but then somehow, magically, saw the Bloombergian light and changed her mind, then what else is that is immovable in her mind will also change?

    So no, I don’t think she would have made a good mayor. What I do think was she would do anything to become mayor. And that is not the kind of person who should govern a city. Or who serves as any kind of good example for the rest of the country.

  10. Felix Rivera-Perez says

    Very insightful! You hit all the exact reasons for Quinn not even making the runoff! As a gay minority citizen of NYC, Stop and Frisk is something that I cannot stand for in this city. There is overwhelming evidence that shows Stop and Frisk is a waste of tax payer money, and only makes racial divide worse. If Quinn isn’t able to see this, then she doesn’t deserve to be mayor.

  11. Rowan says

    Ari,

    You’ve missed sooo much. Black and hispanic women DID vote on identity politics-the black wife AND mother.

    If Clinton runs for the next presidency, Ari, I await for you to naively cry in shock that many women are not actually voting for her!

    As someone who has studied politics I thought you would’ve known that research shows that women do not trust other women in power and in politics will vote with what their husband or fathers want.

    And doesn’t this guys name some pretty spanish/italian?? But not ‘white’ like Quinn nor anglo saxon.

    So again identity politics voted because they felt they had NOTHING in common with pale red head white Quinn.

    It appears she was only a sure fire hit because she was already known and due to her media presence.

    I feel sorry for her because she played a game that she thought she could win. If she hadn’t sided with Bloomberg-her reasoning as that she would not have gotten x, y or z done. I bet she feels she sacrificed a lot but then she is in the party of Liberals and don’t ever think it’s a sure fire in.

  12. Albert says

    I’m surprised Ari failed to mention Quinn’s involvement in overturning term limits for herself, city council and Bloomberg. That was another key reason folks were inclined not to support her or for her soft support until de Blasio became viewed as an alternative.

  13. Doug says

    Quinn lost for a variety of reasons, but I think the most important was that she ran a horrible campaign, never able to convey who she was or what she stood for. She allowed everyone else to label and define her, and that’s a shame, but it probably also reflects her political upbringing. That’s the kind of City Council Speaker she’s been. There are so many specific positions she’s taken that bother specific constituencies: not supporting a ban on carriage horses in Central Park, supporting the UES waste transfer station, changing her minds on term limits, etc. I guess that I’m not surprised. I voted for Quinn, but in my heart, I think De Blasio won me over. He was able to define himself in such a way that he made all the right moves, long after everyone thought he had no chance. Quinn did the opposite. So I can’t say I’m disappointed that she lost.

  14. John says

    I think you should refrain from commenting on the supposed ‘nastiness’ of one campaign when you were an active advocate of another. Especially when we’ve had a few posts advocating said candidate on this site. It’s a bit unseemly. Especially coming from you, whom I’ve always felt was a more detached and just-the-facts writer.

    And you seem to think ‘eating our own’ applies only to those candidates you oppose. Quit using such loaded language.

    There are plenty of reasons women and gay voters overwhelmingly voted for de Blasio over Quinn. And her being a woman and lesbian had nothing to do it with – these gay and lesbian voters weren’t ‘eating their own’ – they were voting for mayor and sending a message to all candidates gay or straight, male or female: we know and we remember. We’re not idiots – we’re sophisticated, thoughtful people. Lance Black or Towleroad doesn’t dictate who we vote for.

    Voters wanted a change and they didn’t want Bloomberg-lite. It’s as simple as that.

  15. Tom V says

    She deserved the 15% she got. She overturned term limits against the will of the voters who put them into law ( to serve her own purposes as well as Bloomberg’s), she did little for her district and the lgbt community and she failed with the smoke and mirrors to try to cover all of her failings. There were better choices in the mayoral race and they were the clear leaders. Thompson is the better of the 2 but DeBlasio is a good choice as well. Time for a nice clean slate in City Hall.

  16. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    I’m just sick to death of the business community getting every gddmed thing they want out of City Hall – one effect of which is that out neighborhoods look less and less like New York and more and more like suburban strip malls – right down to the same boring stores in the same cookie-cutter designs. I came to New York to get away from all that suburban sameness, but it has chased me down. It was bad enough to see a 7-11 open on 14th Street near Union Square. Then one opened on St Mark’s Place – and now we’re about to see one on Avenue A. This is NOT what I came to New York for but thanks to this “business climate” nobody can pay rents here anymore except chain stores and restaurants, big-boxes and billionaires. Just sickening.

  17. Robert says

    Ari, I usually enjoy your articles and find your analysis of issues insightful. But it is very, very offensive to compare those of us who would refuse to vote for Christine Quinn to the Tea Party loonies purging the Republican party of its moderates.

    I did not find de Blasio to be the ideal candidate. But I also wouldn’t vote for Christine Quinn for a good number of legitimate reasons that matter deeply to me–things that have already been discussed many times over so I won’t list them all here.

    I am offended by the suggestion that this was merely “liberal purity.” Many of us see her as a corrupt politician whose veracity is lacking and who has often favored powerful, corporate interests over the needs of her constituents. Does that make me a far left liberal? And is de Blasio speaking about the “two cities”–one for the haves, the other for the have nots–is that not really true?

    I would love to have either a gay mayor or a female mayor, and both at the same time would have been great. But I simply could not vote for her. I feel strongly that she would be have been an ethically compromised, incompetent mayor. It would never occur to me to vote for someone like that just because she’s gay, and I think that’s a good thing.

  18. Ryan says

    No, just no!

    There was nothing “self-defeating” about this election in the LGBT community at all.

    LGBT voters voted overwhelmingly against her, by around a 60-40 margin.

    That should say something: We DON’T THINK SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD MAYOR!

    She represents the billionaires and stop-and-frisk bigotry of NYC’s past.

    de Blasio is just as strong on LGBT rights, but represents the people who are struggling to afford their ever exploding costs associated with living in NYC.

    The only self-defeating person here was Quinn, by thinking her key to success was blocking progress on the city council and representing the continued failed policies of Bloomberg, who only sees NYC as a place for people of his billionaire class.

    Hell no.

    LGBT voters made the right decision on election, as did many others all across the city. LGBT voters want to vote for LGBT candidates — but ONLY when they represent our interests, including our ability to afford to live in a city and raise families even if we don’t work for Goldman Sachs.

  19. Joe says

    “Soooooo it’s a sign of progress that we’ll have another white guy? Okay.”

    Actually, Kevin, blacks and hispanics overwhelmingly voted against her. Quinn’s support almost entirely came from white people from Manhattan. So for once, don’t blame whitey!

  20. says

    ‘Our collective liberalism can, at times, be self-defeating: the liberal purity coming from the mouths of anti-Quinn LGBTs reminded me of the conservative purity of the Tea Party.’

    You’ve just reached a new low in political analysis absurdity.

    John, Robert & Ryan. Spot on.

  21. C'mon Ari says

    Ari, you’re better than this. Yes, Yetta engaged in negative advertising, some of which was factually dubious. Corey did some of the same. It’s a campaign – he won, she lost. The digs at her in this piece (I know you’re pro-Corey, which is fine) are at odds with the much more considered tone you usually take, and in fact take in the rest of this post.

  22. Moz's says

    her accomplishments include

    bloomberg’s 3rd term

    loves wallstreet more than mainstreet 99%

    de Blasio got more gay votes than Quinn because the majority of gay New Yorkers think with more than just their sexuality

  23. Mike says

    Not to say that it’s the system’s fault, but closed primaries were partially what killed Quinn. I am no fan of her’s in the least, but what happens when you have closed primaries is that the extreme right or left candidate will ALWAYS win. Closed primaries alienate more moderate voters (I didn’t even get to participate as an Independent) and candidates. When what we really need is more middle of the road folk in office to get things done.

  24. Mark from NYC says

    Agree with those who say that Quinn lost the campaign and therefore the election. And really, she lost by one TV commercial that highlighted the MANY ways in which she stood up to Bloomberg and pushed through policies and legislation he was against. Why she didn’t establish that identity is the big question. Because now, we’ll have de Blasio, who says great things but has very scant experience actually governing. Say what you will about Bloomberg, but he made the city work and work well in many respects. Quinn would have kept that momentum going. De Blasio, I’m afraid, is going to send us back to Dinkins-like inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

  25. jamal49 says

    I’m a lifelong Democrat, liberal as hell. Your analysis, Mr. Waldman, is simply ridiculous. Christine Quinn being a lesbian simply wasn’t enough. Frankly, she just wasn’t the best candidate. Period. That’s it in a nutshell.

  26. MichaelJ says

    Amen to what John, Robert, Ryan and Seriously wrote.

    Miko, how was DiBlasio’s campaign run on homophobia? It was run on the justifiable message that something is seriously wrong with a city which has become increasingly difficult and expensive to live in for all but the most wealthy and affluent.

  27. Micklest says

    I agree with Tom V. I never voted in favor of term limits, but the majority of people did–twice. That backroom deal to overturn the voters was the first alarm and it stuck with a lot of people, including me. I don’t think she’s a bad person, just a pragmatist of sorts. But the average voter is not an office holder and is averse to the kind of dealmaking that goes on. I would have preferred Bill Thompson, who only narrowly lost to Bloomberg last time. His positions are clear down the line, and he has a history of being able to manage negotiations between the government and unions. And with a cool head, no drama, no grandstanding. de Blasio has a fight ahead of him, for sure. Particularly with Bloomberg and big money in Joe Lhota’s corner.

  28. Eric says

    stop and frisk which dominated the debates BARELY got a mention by you. This was the top reason given to me by young voters as to why Quinn would not get our votes.

  29. eric says

    Quinn lost this race long ago. Most NYers were looking for someone besides her and Thompson and that showed when Weiner first entered the race and his pol number put him on top (before more of the scandal broke out) de Blasio was the alternative. Quinn had 3 strikes against her. 1) The way she “helped” Bloomberg get a third term. 2) The loss of St’ Vincents Hospital in her district. 3) She supports an upper east side waste transfer station. Additionally she is seen as in the pocket of luxury developers and a Bloomberg cookie cutter. At the end of the day most NYers were looking for a lesser evil and possibly something more progressive.

  30. mmc says

    She overturned term limits here. That was really a game changer for me and I’m gay myself, but I’m not to be manipulated politically because of it. Maybe she can run again in time. I would give her another chance, but it seemed to me that she helped Bloomberg specifically to run as mayor expecting huge support. She got served.

  31. E. Manhattan says

    Quinn was my city council representative for years, and was better than the people who challenged her, but was still a disappointment.

    I tried very hard to find reasons to support her. I would love to have a lesbian as mayor of NYC, or a gay man as mayor, or a trans person as mayor. But I just couldn’t support Quinn, in the end.

    The final straw was her mainly unquestioning support of the NYPD and her refusal, for years, to use her influence to help end the “Stop and Frisk” NYPD policy that has greatly damaged the city and it’s citizens – I couldn’t support a lesbian candidate at the expense of the civil liberties of people of color, including gay and lesbian people of color.

    So for all you people who have a knee-jerk “Gay and lesbian people MUST vote for gay and lesbian candidates” ideology – if you are that concerned, move to New York City and vote your ideology, no matter the consequences.

    Myself, I WON’T throw black and latino people to the dogs by supporting gay or lesbian candidates who have bad civil rights records. If opposing racism is “ideological purity”, and defeating Quinn for a candidate with a better civil rights record is “eating our own”, I am quite happy to be tarred with that brush.

  32. says

    I would imagine that gays and lesbians, and particularly lesbians, would’ve avoided voting for DeBlasio. If he wins you have to see the leader of your city everyday with his “former lesbian” wife standing by his side. I’m well aware that there are bisexual women, and that’s really what she is, but it would just be too much for many I’m sure. I read a post above about DeBlasio running on a campaign of two New Yorks, one for haves and one for have nots. Liberal politicians only create more have nots. The truly rich and powerful will never suffer. Have you not picked up on that yet? Promises by liberal politicians to take from the rich to give to the poor don’t skim of the top but off the bottom. Those who suffer aren’t the 1%. It’s those who are just barely hanging on. You don’t sound chivalrous or like a champion for social justice when you support these pseudo-Robin Hoods. You sound gullible and naive.

  33. Wade says

    Ari- you also missed the fact that the Anybody But Quinn folks led by DeBlasio’s supporters and consultants spent over a million bucks attacking Chris Quinn, distorting her record, and tearing her down. Yes campaigns are tough, but this was a dirty and homophobic win. And now Lhota is going to wipe up the floor with deBlasio. And we ate our own.

  34. You Won/Lost; Move On says

    Agree with John and Seriously and others here who found this “analysis” ridiculous. It would probably be a good idea for someone so invested in a political campaign to take a few days to decompress before putting their thoughts about the campaign on paper.

    “Johnson trounced his opponent, the openly gay Yetta Kurland, by a 2 to 1 margin despite Ms. Kurland’s misleading, negative and nasty campaign.” You won! Move on! Talk about being a graceless winner.

    Miko, get professional help. You lost an election and we all know that that can be devastating but your repetitive raging against Mr. De Blasio and fantasies of coalescing significant LGBT support for Lohta appear nearly as unstable as those of Hillary Clinton supporters like Kevin Dujan who were do disillusioned by their 2008 defeat that they raged against Senator Obama and pledged their support to McCain/Palin.http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2124620/posts

  35. Jesse says

    I live in NYC and Tom V is 1,000% correct as to why Quinn lost the primary. I am gay and I would NEVER vote for her. I have 0% respect for her. What sealed her fate was the endorsement by Michael Bloomberg.

  36. Dan says

    I’d be happy with Quinn, DeBlasio, or Thompson as Mayor. Early in the race, pundits were disappointed in the candidate selection, but I think there were at least three good progressive choices.

    I voted for Quinn for a number of reasons, but one reason was because when she worked in Tom Duane’s office during the dysfunctional Giuliani administration, she solved a sewer problem we had on our block……almost literally a pothole problem. She was great, and friendly and helpful and smart. I was impressed with most of what she was able to do in her tenure with both the good Bloomberg and other times what she managed in spite of the bad Bloomberg. I think she knows how to pull the levers of power (mostly for good) better than DeBlasio but I’m hopeful he’ll find his way.

    The Any But Quinn campaign – especially within the LGBT community – really distressed me as a gay man. The anti-Quinn advocates, with their passionate hatred of her- at least in conversations that I had with them- painted her as someone more worthy of defeat than Giuliani. Part of the eat-our-own syndrome, it appeared to be fed by a feeling of betrayal. How dare someone who started with progressive grass roots organizations actually obtain power and wield it. The passionate Quinn haters will say it’s what she did with that power, but I disagree.

    Alas, Quinn’s campaign did not address those and other issues, and the analysis here is right. Her failure to do so says something perhaps about her being inside government too long and too close to those in power to understand what virtues she had that once made her appealing to the voters.

    DeBlasio’s laudable concentration on Stop-and-Frisk makes me hopeful that he will make New York the liberal beacon needed in our national conversation. I think equality issues are most affectively addressed on the national stage, but I welcome his advocacy, and hope he can find ways to affect them locally.

    That said, I am chastened by my experience 9 years ago thinking that John Edwards would be a great leader, only to see him fail. Maybe that’s why I voted for the inside power progressive lesbian instead of the hope and change guy. Still hoping.

  37. Jeff says

    Quinn didn’t lose among all gay voters, female voters, and voters in her own district because she was perceived to be “insufficiently liberal.” She lost because these key constituencies knew firsthand that her pro-gay, pro-progressive rhetoric was contradicted by her repeated betrayals of the gays and progressives who voted her into office.

    But don’t take my word for it. Check out these comprehensive rundowns of her betrayals:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/lgbt-activists-accuse-christine-quinn-of-selling-out

    Her loss among LGBT and female voters should be more than just a cautionary tale for other activists like Corey Johnson (who I voted for, btw) who start out admirably, then get to positions of power and consider selling us out.

    It should be a lesson for top gay organizations that have a blind spot for onetime gay activists, and support non-Republican LGBT politicians mainly because they’re LGBT.

    Despite the powerful speeches and rhetoric throughout her career, Quinn (and voters’ response to her) showed that actions speak much louder than words.

  38. etseq says

    Yea will see how pro-gay he is with his “ex-lesbian” wife. He ran a homophobic smear campaign against Quinn insinuating that as a lesbian she couldn’t empathize with families and children. Then they splashed TV ads with their adorably cute baby, which was a Karl Rove move up their with Willie Horton. How any gay person can vote to have an “ex-lesbian” as first lady of NYC says alot about the internalized homophobia we all still suffer from.

  39. jar says

    Underneath the veneer of this oh, so pragmatic set of concerns for the GLBT community (ooh, ideological purity is troublesome; purity is risky!) lies a reactionary attitude. The obvious tell is the supplanting of the pejoratively used “purity” toi denote political principles. (It is only purity when one disgarees with the principles.) That adorable senior citizen (and probably life-long NYer) is so cute in her red pant suit. Indeed, she’s even admirable (reads a bit condescendingly to me considering what follows), though “troubling ideological purity [ ] can damage winning coalitions.” What does she know, despite the longevity of her experience?

    The author is apparently threatened by this NYers desire for a ‘liberal Democratic mayor.” But what is the threat? The author tells us it that the “capable administrator,” Joe Lhota, who ran the MTA terribly and is closely aligned with the horrible- yes, for the GLBT community- policies of the Giuliani administration, may beat deBlasio and then what will all of us pure GLBT voters do? Here’s the introduction of fear, the reactionary’s favorite device. If we adhere to our principles too closely (so what if millions of NYers are being stopped by the police because of their skin color), we just might lose. Better to stick with the safe, corporatist choice. Yes, Reader, you should ignore the fact that all polling indicates Lhota has no chance of victory. A vote for deBlasio may result in a Lhota mayoralty.

    The troubling element of the author’s position is that his distrust (or, at best, wariness) of political principles as a determinant for choosing a mayor is juxtaposed to the “unmistakeable and enormous” significance to the rest of the country of a lesbian NYC mayor. In short, it is the image that really matters, not the substance. What you stand for is not nearly as important as simply standing in front of cameras draped in a rainbow flag for all to see.

    The author’s analysis also exposes a deficient knowledge of the history of GLBT political activism in NYC. Many of us know Chris Quinn from her early activist days. We rallied to support her at every steo of her climb up the political ladder. She chose, as is her prerogative, to transition into an inside politics game player. In so doing, she gained new and additional support, but she also sacrificed the support of others, as the comments here aptly demonstrate.

    As for eating our own, I’d like to call the author’s attention to a former councilman, Antonio Pagan. He was a gay man who ran as a Dem and won the council seat for the east village in 1991. His views were antithetical to the gay community’s concerns, so we vehemently opposed him. Tom Duane (and I would bet money a young Chris Quinn) was a vocal part of that opposition. He endorsed Pagan’s straight, white female opponent. Did we eat our own then as well? Were we driven by a troubling ideological purity then? Will you cast your aspersions at Tom Duane with the same speed you have to the greater GLBT community today? The simple fact is that we, as a community, have issues that are important to us and we vote on them. They extend beyond GLBT policies to issues of housing and standard of living. Many of our brothers and sisters suffer from poor housing, insufficient health care, and poor standard of living. These are important issues for us. Furthermore, as a community that has suffered the degradations of aggressive police practices, as well as indifference to our personal integrity at the hands of the police (issues, I will remind the author, on which Christine Quinn built an admirable early career), stop and frisk is a practice that directly impacts our community on a daily basis. There is no disconnect between voting on these issues and being good GLBT voters and citizens. Frankly, it appears the author is angry that his candidate was rejected by the GLBT community and he is merely seeking some target on which to vent his disappointment.

  40. Tranquilo says

    Observing this election from afar, i’ve been getting the impression that Quinn is a lot like Scott Wiener over here in good old SF: LGBT and nice enough in person, but not a lot to say to anyone in the lower and mid incomes getting crushed by an overheated local economy.

    There’s a perception that, when push comes to shove, Wiener will always side with power and money. If Quinn is anything like him, this LGBT voter would have voted with 40% who chose De Blasio, too. I’d rather vote for a progressive gay-friendly straight than a compromised LGBT candidate. Mediocre LGBT candidates are hardly worth their “symbolism” when they fail their constituents.

  41. Hagatha says

    “She is an out lesbian, with a record of accomplishment. ”

    I generally think of a “record of accomplishment” as that which one has achieved in the real world, not a lifetime at the public trough.

  42. John says

    I just have to add:

    Quinn is no victim. She is is a hard-nosed politician with quite a successful public career. She is not owed anything – not the mayor’s office or another term or anything else.

    She lost because she’s grey – there’s nothing exciting about her candidacy. There was no sparkle or inspiration – she was so plain and ordinary as to almost not exist.

    The most exciting thing you could say about her campaign and her vision is that she’s openly lesbian with a beautiful wife. That does not make a campaign or a rational to become mayor.

    Let’s have a column discussing why she lost – this article mentions none of the reasons because it’s attempting to rewrite history and paint Quinn’s terrible showing as a result of backhanded gay political maturity and progress.

    Like the candidate herself, this writer speaks out of both sides of his mouth. This is an angry editorial – a supporter’s attempt at explaining why gay and lesbian voters rejected Quinn despite what’s between her legs and who’s between her legs. It’s patronizing and immature.

    To match the Tea Party comparison, this author reminds me of elite eastern liberals after the 1972 Nixon landslide – “The election must have been stolen – I personally don’t know anyone who voted for him!” God forbid anyone go against HRC and Dustin Lance Black and that lot.

    The author doesn’t even entertain the idea that Quinn lost on the merits – that she lost the war of ideas.

    She lost because she was a die-hard supporter of stop-and-frisk until she was forced to take a complex, muddled position that pleased no one.

    She lost because of her support for a 3rd Bloomberg term. And for herself.

    The bottom line is that she lost because of her positions. Because she was too calculated and seemed to only tell you what you wanted to hear. Because she misread the mood of the electorate.

    They didn’t want a technocrat. They wanted some blood and guts, emotions and ideas and experimentation. They want VISION and RISK and someone with the courage of their convictions.

    Christine Quinn just didn’t fit the bill.

  43. Chris says

    Ugh. Quinn lost because a lot of people look at her and see the worst of political hacks, and an A-hole to boot.

    And, please, hire a copy editor:
    “…sometimes those accomplishments involveed working”

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