Wednesday, April 4, 2018

New York note

Hick's Orchard, Middle Granville.

In somewhat pleasant news from Albany, the the eight members of the "Independent Democratic Caucus" in the State Senate have abruptly decided to abandon their unholy coalition with the Republican majority, dissolve themselves, and rejoin the Democratic Party; Andrea Stewart-Cousins will continue as minority leader and IDC chief Jeff Klein will serve as her deputy. If the indications are correct and the Democrats win the two special elections in the Bronx and Westchester on April 24, she will be the majority leader, and the first woman ever to be one of the "three (or four) men in a room" who make all the real policy decisions in this traditionally not very small-d democratic state.

They were going to do it anyway, in theory, after the special elections, but this move, in addition to making it much harder for Klein to renege on the deal (as he might want to do, House of Cards character that he is), shows a political climate that is changing pretty fast. Most or all of the IDC members were going to be primaried this year by loyal Democrats, with the support of the Working Families partioid organization, and this move shows that they're scared; anxious to start proclaiming that just because they've been voting with Republicans doesn't mean they actually are Republicans, and take some of the wind out of the challengers' sails, suggesting to me that there's a lot more wind than I expected.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is also being primaried, as you've probably heard, by the actress Cynthia Nixon (with the endorsement of my candidate of four years ago, law professor Zephyr Teachout), and seemingly scared as well. He hasn't been as terrible a governor all round as some people will tell you (his defense of environmental regulation and work on economic development in Buffalo have had real results, and his response to Trump taxation terrorism this year has been creative and good), but he's never been good enough, he's never been able to free his management from the smell of corruption, hasn't even really tried, and his pointless war against Mayor Bill de Blasio over the past four years has been particularly bad for New York City, for our terrible transportation and housing issues. He's also held responsible by many (including me) for the Republican control of the Senate—it's said he prefers it divided. The swiftness with which he has achieved the breakup of the IDC—over dinner at a Manhattan steakhouse last night, we're told—reinforces the belief, showing that he could have done it all along.

But he has done it now, and I think I know why: because we-the-people are getting better at our job, of putting the pressure on.


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