Monday, September 16, 2013

Observations 9.16

The primary for New York's mayoral election was last Tuesday and I have to say New York City politics just confuses the hell out of me sometimes. New York City is so big that when I look at the politics of the city it's as if I'm looking at completely different nation. Viewing it as an outsider, I may live in it most of the time but I never totally consider myself a New Yorker, I have to say New Yorkers don't always look at the grander scheme of things. It's as if they don't see the effect what happens in New York City has on the rest of the country. They don't see it even as they take it for granted.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn would have been the first woman mayor of the city, a married lesbian Mayor of New York City. I know she would have had to beat the Republican nominee in November but after two terms of Rudy Giuliani, followed by three terms of Michael Bloomberg, there isn't a chance in hell the city is going to elect another Republican mayor.

A married lesbian mayor of New York City. Think about that. Think about the effect that could have had on the drive for same sex marriage around the nation. We'll never know because 49% of lesbian and gay voters went with the winner Bill de Blasio compared to 36% for Quinn. There are plenty of reasons being thrown around for Quinn's poor performance among LGBT voters. The primary one being that we have moved beyond voting for someone simply because they are gay or lesbian, we now vote the issues. That may be the case in New York but in an election as historic as this election could have been, how a Quinn win would have looked around the country,  it reeks of New Yorkers saying we got ours now you're on your own.

I don't totally buy that argument and as always I have a theory of my own. Looking at the numbers it's something that seems fairly obvious but I haven't heard it talked about much and in fact I didn't get a very good reaction from friends when I mentioned it. I don't think being gay cost Quinn the election nor do I think it was her stand on some issues. I think she lost the election because she is a woman. What is even more boggling than her poor performance with LGBT voters is the even lower number of women voters who went with Quinn, just 19%. Reading the numbers I just think men, including gay men, didn't vote for Quinn because she is a woman and women didn't vote for her because she is a lesbian. What got me in trouble was saying that I thought a gay man, a Christopher Quinn, would have won handily. Maybe I'm totally wrong but I'd rather believe that is the reason Quinn lost than believe LGBT voters turned on her, and history, to prove a point.

But this is a city whose Democratic Party that gave Anthony Weiner 6% of the vote. I'm sure there is a lesson in that number too but it's a lesson I don't want to learn.

9/17 update - After I posted this a friend of mine pointed out a column by Joshua Greenman, a New York Daily News opinion writer. I have to admit I don't always read the Daily News so I missed it. I may have to read him more often ...

"Let’s be honest. Even in 2013, it’s really hard to project yourself as a tough-as-nails character with uniquely mayoral mettle when you’re a woman. Perhaps doubly so when you’re a lesbian woman. That put Quinn in a box. She had to be strong but simultaneously struggled, no doubt coached in this direction by campaign consultants, to project charm."

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