THIS IS NO TIME TO BE A REPUBLICAN IN NEW YORK
Lately there has been some speculation as to the road forward for the Republican Party in New York State. Actually, there is both good and bad news for the Grand Old Party.
The bad news, of course, is that they will never again gain a majority in either the Assembly or the Senate. That is, unless the Democrats screw it up big time. Knowing the New York State Democrats, they are pretty likely to do exactly that. On the other hand, the Republicans have stayed in power (we all know it) by gerrymandering like crazy. They go to their computers and order them to create districts in which they can’t lose. This time around, their problems were multi fold.
The first was that Donald Trump was the President and that he was deservedly detested by New Yorkers of all stripes. So when they got to the voting booth, enough people were inclined to punish the President that they voted for the Democrats down the line.
A second reason was that the great Republican computer had run out of enough bodies to push around so it looked at Leader Flanagan and said, “Sorry, boss, can’t help you this year to make for a successful gerrymander.”
Additionally, an awful lot of potential Democrats who usually don’t vote actually went to the polls. In past elections, Governor Andrew Cuomo, following his father Mario’s game plan, tended to support the Republicans and their handmaidens, the so-called IDC or Independent Democratic Conference who were caucusing with the Republicans. This year, preparing for a third term and a possible run for President, the cost was too high. People kept asking why he kept the Republicans in power. So, as I always said he should, he called the bad, faux Democrats into a room and told them to get on board. Too late for them, they had already alienated enough regular Democrats to assure that they would get primaries. They got them and most of them lost, clearing the way for more good Democrats to run and win big time.
The result of all of this is that the Democrats now have a comfortable majority in the Senate. You don’t have to be Einstein to realize that when the next opportunity to gerrymander comes up it will be the Democrats who will do unto the Republicans what had always been done unto them. They will take advantage of their HUGE Democratic registration and draw impregnable districts, just as their Assembly brethren did when they finally got a majority.
So is there any way out for the now hapless Republicans? Of course, the elephants can always hope that the Democrats will screw up and that they can elect a governor even in blue state New York, just as voters regularly do in Massachusetts, another blue empire. Let’s remember that an awful lot of Democrats in the past have been lawbreakers who have been sent to prison. I’ve never understood how so many legislators think that being elected comes with a license to steal.
Sooner or later, a Democratic nominee for president will be so unpopular that a red wave may hit the country even in blue New York. As for right now, however, the Republicans are in a bad spot. They are lucky to have one of the most competent party leaders around in the person of Ed Cox. His problem, of course, is that he has to back the unpopular Trump in his imbecilic leadership and pronouncements. Ed should have learned from his late “Tricky” father-in-law, Richard Nixon, that there are times when you just can’t succumb to power.
The anti-Trump fervor in this country is by no means done. Its will only grow as this grotesque politician makes more mistakes, undermining the American democracy. Put another way, this is no time to be a New York Republican.
Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].