Hers to Lose is a half-hour-long New York Times-produced film about City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s rather epic fall from public favor and subsequent loss to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in the Democratic primary for New York City’s mayoral race. It’s an immeasurably sad artifact, showing how Quinn, a powerful and ambitious gay woman, paid the ultimate price for compromising her political integrity.
The film depicts the narrow platform on which Quinn ran: She would be Mike Bloomberg, except an out and proud lesbian. After all, she supported stop-and-frisk and its engineer, police chief Ray Kelly; opposed universal daycare for middle class New Yorkers; and, most brazenly, secured Bloomberg’s extralegal third term—thereby endorsing the mayor’s entire agenda not tacitly but explicitly. Quinn, Hers to Lose shows, would have been a historic candidate prosecuting the city’s status quo.
Of the entire film, one scene toward the end, late into the summer campaign, sticks out. As Quinn exits her Chelsea apartment building, a pack of protestors (screaming “SHAME! SHAME!”) approach from the left, trailing the candidate and her entourage as they pack into a black SUV. Inside the vehicle, Quinn looks at the camera, registers its presence, and turns away—perhaps realizing, at last, what she had done.