Reason Roundup

Despite Nixon's Loss to Cuomo, It Was a Good Night for Democratic Socialists in New York: Reason Roundup

Plus: Hurricane Florence hits.



Actress Cynthia Nixon came up short in her primary challenge to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who won 65 percent of the vote to Nixon's 35 percent.

But elsewhere in New York, it was a good night for insurgent progressive challengers to mainstream Democrats. Most notably, 27-year-old democratic socialist Julia Salazar defeated incumbent state Sen. Martin Dilan, despite the negative media attention she received after inaccurately claiming to have come from a working-class background. And 32-year-old Alessandra Biaggi defeated incumbent state Sen. Jeff Klein, who was viewed as a traitor for breaking with Democrats and temporarily handing Republicans a majority in the state Senate. (Biaggi does not identify as a socialist, but she is still well to the left of the Democratic mainstream.)

Vox's Matt Yglesias thinks a big loser in all this is…Andrew Cuomo. The governor bent over backward to avoid being viewed as too far left, in hopes of eventually running for president. Unfortunately, that's no longer such a good strategy:

It was a subtle, well-executed game—subtle enough to not be understood by most voters in New York's Democratic primaries—but in retrospect, it was too clever by half. The mood among national Democrats has swung substantially to the left over the past five years, with Barack Obama recently endorsing ideas like Medicare-for-all and employee representation on corporate boards.

Had Cuomo simply done the normal thing and supported Democratic state Senate candidates and gotten the chance he feared to sign ambitious progressive bills, he'd be perfectly positioned for the circumstances of 2020. Instead, as it stands, he's left relying on a powerful state party machine and the loyalty of less attentive voters to secure what should have been a total cakewalk of a renomination.

The successes of Salazar and Biaggi, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez before them, show that the progressive wing is ascendant. Now would be a good time for nonsocialists to start figuring out what makes them tick.


Plymouth State University (PSU) retalliated against two professors who dared to defend a woman against charges that she had sexually assaulted a teenager. One of the professors, Nancy Strapko, served as a paid expert witness for the defendant. The other, Michael Fischler, sent a letter to the court asking for leniency. The case brought significant media attention, and PSU declined to rehire Strapko. Administrators also forced Fischler to undergo Title IX training.

This is a First Amendment violation, says the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

By imposing penalties on these professors, PSU runs afoul of the First Amendment and its own academic freedom policies. Although adjunct professors are without the benefits of tenure, public universities may not refuse to rehire them over protected expression, as such an act is retaliatory in nature and violates their First Amendment rights.

Furthermore, state university professors generally may not be punished for their speech as private citizens, so long as the expression consists of matters of public concern and does not disrupt the educational environment. Both Fischler and Strapko were speaking as private citizens because they were not employed by PSU for purposes of providing analysis to the trial court judge, and a reasonable recipient of their communications would not believe they were made on behalf the university, especially one that explicitly disavowed the opinions of these professors in this matter.


North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein tells Fox News that his office has received "more than 200 complaints of price-gouging" as Hurricane Florence draws closer. Most concerned fuel and water:

"What we do is we then call the business to 1. inform them of the law, and 2. find out what there story is," Stein said. "The law in North Carolina protects against a business charging an unreasonably excessive price."

"Price gouging's illegal because no business should take advantage of people's desperation. When people are at their lowest, that's when we should be reaching out – to help folks, not take advantage," Stein continued.

"Price-gouging" is illegal, but it really shouldn't be, as John Stossel explains in a recent video for Reason.


  • Hurricane Florence cometh. Follow live updates here.
  • The FBI declined to open a criminal investigation into Brett Kavanaugh based on the contents of the letter Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) turned over to agents. This story appears to be a nothingburger.
  • Cops found marijuana in the apartment of Botham Jean, who was killed by police officer Amber Guyger after she accidentally entered his apartment, allegedly believing it was her own. This shouldn't matter, but Guyger's defenders will probably try to use it to get her off the hook.
  • Scooters are great! Don't complain to the cops about them.
  • Jeff Bezos calls on Trump to stop demonizing the media.