Between the prick of the red tide and the relative success of the Democrats in Tuesday’s mid-term elections, there is an intermediate reality, the glass half empty, rather than half full, of New York. Although the Democrats have revalidated the main positions in contention (such as the governorship and the attorney general of the State), in the legislative elections the blues they have suffered a resounding defeat: four Democratic seats in the House of Representatives have changed sides; the most important of them, that of Patrick Sean Maloney, head of the Democratic campaign. The setback has been such that many local Democrats, especially those from the most progressive currents, consider that the foreseeable Republican majority in the House will be largely due to these defeats.
The first requests for resignation, in addition to thick words, have not been long in hearing. Of all against all, including the mayor of the city, Eric Adams, against his progressive co-religionists, for the reform of the criminal justice system that they promulgated in the state Capitol, and that, in the opinion of the alderman, yield before the crime. One main conclusion emerges from the brawl, in which the progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also participated: to continue in the White House in 2024, they had better make peace, especially in the absence of a clear replacement for Joe Biden. Because, more than a fight against the Republicans, in New York a war is being waged between the Democrats, unleashed long before the elections on Tuesday.
The Democratic candidates sprinted in the last stretch of the campaign, when the polls showed how the Republicans, with the promise of a strong hand against crime, were closing the gap in a state that had traditionally been favorable to them. The election of Kathy Hochul as governor, by five points difference over Republican Lee Zeldin, confirmed that they already feel the Republican breath in the neck. “We can’t go on autopilot,” said state Sen. Andrew Gounardes of his people’s alleged overconfidence. Maloney himself assumed Thursday that he and other local Democrats were unable to interpret the fear of crime in the districts that changed hands on Tuesday.
The defeated Maloney is one of those Democrats with Irish pedigree who have dominated the party for decades, before it was opened up to minorities, who are now clamoring for a renewal of the cadres. As head of the campaign committee, Maloney helped his party resist the Republican onslaught in the House, but, paradoxically, in exchange for laying down their weapons. The sum of two capital events has evicted him and his three co-religionists from the seat they have held since 2012. The redesign of the electoral map of the State of New York, which previously benefited the Democrats, has given opportunities to the reds. The speech of toughness against the delinquency of the latter, in the face of the supposed laxity of the Democrats, has been the rivet of change.
Hortensia, “a lifelong Democratic voter,” pointed out on Tuesday at the gates of a school in northern Manhattan that her own have neglected citizen security. “It can’t be that [los delincuentes] enter through one door and leave through another in a matter of hours”, he explained, referring to the controversial parole reform, with quick trials in a maximum of 24 hours after arrest, in force since March. “That concern that I and many of my neighbors and acquaintances feel, the Republicans have been able to see better,” the woman sentenced.
Dantesque tabloid covers new york post, republican champion, with an army of shadows puncturing the streets of the Big Apple and an avalanche of homicides; repeated incidents in the city subway and, also, the flag of law and order raised by Democrats such as Mayor Adams -prone to own goals-, have ended up proving the Republicans right, lament the Democrats located To the left of establishment of the party. Like the Democratic voter, but on the other side, the heir to the Lauder dynasty who donated $11 million to Zeldin’s campaign complains of insecurity that “forces” his family to go out with bodyguards. A cynical wink about a city that is still very safe -one of the safest in the US-, despite the periodic events that dot it by pure calculation of probabilities: there are more than eight million inhabitants. Maloney has also blamed the new york post to inoculate unfounded fear among voters.
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The reform of the penal system, too lenient according to the Republicans and, for its defenders, a way to decongest the prisons and offer better living conditions to the inmates, has long been a hot potato for the Democrats. It cost the job of the San Francisco attorney general, the progressive Chesa Boudin, revoked by the Republicans, in June, and in New York it has become a throwing weapon. But another detail of an administrative nature, such as the redesign of the electoral districts of the State of New York, has influenced as much or more than the discourse of criminality in the Democratic bloodletting.
On the eve of the primaries, a judge dismissed the electoral map approved by the Democratic majority in Albany, the seat of state government; the distribution gave them an advantage over their rivals thanks to a maneuver, in 2014, by then Governor Andrew Cuomo (Democrat). The reconfiguration of the maps ordered by the judge for going against the state Constitution upset the composition of many districts, merging some and expanding or cutting the number of representatives of others. The judicial-administrative process was undertaken quickly and quickly, to reach the primaries on time, and balanced the competition between Democrats and Republicans, that is, it put a stop to the traditional triumphal walk of the former. “The maps adopted by the court are among the most competitive and politically balanced in the country: New York is one of the few states where competitiveness increased rather than decreased following redistricting. But the treatment of some communities, especially in New York City, and the lack of time left many deeply dissatisfied,” the Brennan Center for Justice warned on the eve of the midterm elections. Some of those communities are in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island, and in pockets of Brooklyn, where the four districts lost to Democrats are located.
Despite the defeat of Zeldin, a self-confessed trumpist, New York Republicans are having dream times. Not only for having contributed four seats to the predictable Republican control of the House, more than in any other state; nor for having won the jackpot of defeating handyman Maloney, in charge of guaranteeing control of his party in Congress; also, in the face of future elections, for contributing to generating new fights between the Democrats when the countdown to 2024 has already begun.
As a sign of discontent, the self-critical lashes of Howard Wolfson, national Democratic strategist: “It was a terrible night in New York. It’s infuriating that as good a night as it was for Democrats overall [en el resto del país] is clouded by the arrogance and incompetence here,” he told New York Times.
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