Former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon is the latest politician to turn a critic’s derogatory slam into a rallying cry for supporters.
Nixon’s Democratic campaign for governor of New York is now selling buttons online that say “Unqualified Lesbian.”
This comes after Christine Quinn, the former speaker of the New York City Council and a supporter of incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, used the phrase to criticize Nixon earlier this month.
Quinn, who is openly gay, eventually walked back the remarks. But Nixon is now trying to capitalize on the dig.
“’Unqualified lesbian’” is an oxymoron,” Nixon posted on Instagram on Wednesday. “Get your button to support our campaign today.”
Nixon is hardly the first politician to employ this strategy.
During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump and his supporters began referring to themselves as “deplorables” after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Trump’s base a “basket full of deplorables.”
Likewise, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her feminist supporters co-opted the expression “nevertheless, she persisted” after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used the phrase to complain about her behavior on the Senate floor during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation battle.
In New York, Nixon's challenge to Cuomo sets up an intriguing September Democratic primary race pitting an actor and liberal activist against a two-term incumbent with a $30 million war chest and possible presidential ambitions.
"We want our government to work again," Nixon said in a video announcing her candidacy. "On health care, ending massive incarceration, fixing our broken subway."
She added, "We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us."
Nixon has in recent months given speeches and interviews calling on Democrats nationally to run "bluer" in 2018 and carve out a strong, progressive liberal identity rather than just being "the anti-Trump party."
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.