By Alan S. Chartock | October 20, 2018

The race for the New York State Senate is on, big time. It would appear that the Democrats have a fair chance of taking the so-called “upper” house. A lot of the old Republicans are retiring, perhaps because the incumbents see the handwriting on the wall. We all know that their incumbency had traditionally been helped by a number of factors. The first is that these clowns were able to draw their own districts in a state that has a huge Democratic advantage. The Senate leader marches to the great Republican computer and says, “Oh, great computer, draw me a district where we can’t lose.” The answer has always come back, “Yes, master, I will draw the magic lines.” However, this year the great computer seems to have answered back, “Sorry, master, I’m running out of easy ways to make sure that your people get reelected. I just don’t have enough Republican bodies to move around.”

The second thing the Republicans had was someone named Cuomo to make sure that the hapless Democrats in the State Senate didn’t have anyone in the governor’s chair to lead them to victory. In fact, the current Cuomo almost surely aided and abetted the so-called IDC or Independent Democratic Conference to, get this, vote with the Republicans. I have always nicknamed these folks “The Traitors.” It was really incredible that they got away with it, but this year, Andrew Cuomo, perhaps looking at his Presidential Possibilities (PP) and knowing that Democrats all over the country were wise to his keeping the Republicans in power, put his finger into the wind. He called the bad boys and girls in the IDC into the room and pompously declared that the game was up. “Get back where you belong with the regular Dems,” he told them. “Okay, Boss,” they announced to save their hides but TOO LATE. They got primary opponents who properly whipped their collective butts.

So let’s just assume that the Democrats get the few votes that they need and become the majority party. The big question being asked throughout the corridors of power is whether the Democrats will form their usual circular firing squad and begin to fight among themselves, as usual. They have always done so in the past so why should this year be any different? In fact, maybe the ultimate hypocrite, Simcha Felder, who has run as a Democrat but supported the Republicans, will turn on his heels and caucus with the victorious Democrats. Hey, if I were the regular Democrats in the Senate I would tell Felder, “No thank you!” My bet is that they will not and will give him legal bribes like a committee chairmanship and some extra “lulu” money. Of course, there has always been a fight between those who thought that prostitution was the world’s oldest profession and those who claimed politics was. As it turns out, they may be exactly the same thing.

The great secret about all of this is that many of those who have been opposed to the Democrats taking over the Senate have shown twinges of racism. What I love about the group who will run the Senate is that their leadership is truly diverse. The new Senate leader will be Andrea Stewart-Cousins who is African American and number two should certainly be the extraordinary Michael Gianaris who has played the long game and gone along with the campaign to take back the Senate even though it sometimes meant he had to take a back seat including his willingness to defer to the chief traitor, Jeff Klein, of the Independent Democrats. In my mind Gianaris is the hero of this whole battle.

Of course, there is now the simple matter of the Democrats winning and not blowing it just as they are about to be successful. They’ve done it before. Maybe they don’t get the difference between winning and whining.

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].