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Tipsheet

Slate Writer Knows Who to Blame When Lamenting 'Red Wave' Hitting New York

AP Photo/Richard Drew

In the final days before the November elections, the momentum, as we've covered, appears to be on Rep. Lee Zeldin's (R-NY) side as he looks to unseat Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY). Even down ballot races could favor Republicans. Liberal media outlets are among those reading the writing on the wall, and this even includes a particularly liberal one, Slate. 

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"A Red Wave Could Be Headed for New York. Blame Andrew Cuomo," read Alexander Sammon's headline from Tuesday morning. The featured image actually includes a picture of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), with red New York maps over his eyes.

The focus for Sammon's piece is on the down ballot races, with one in particular receiving mention, as First Lady Jill Biden needs to make a campaign visit to help out Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY). The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) is not only likely to see Democrats lose control of the House, he could lose his seat. Cook Political Report recently changed their ranking of the seat to "Toss Up," and Democrats are desperately throwing money into the race.

Given that this is Slate, after all, the blame is on Cuomo for actions that involved appointing conservative judges who dared to overturn New York's unconstitutional maps earlier this year. 

As Sammon highlights:

If Cuomo is known for anything beyond his miscreant behavior in office, it should be for his willingness to abet the state’s conservative forces for his personal gain, often to his own party’s disadvantage. Nowhere was this more obvious than his judicial appointments, where Cuomo routinely elevated conservative appointees—gleefully scoring points against his progressive opponents in Albany and New York City by moving the judicial branch rapidly to the right.

In particular, he appointed four conservative-leaning judges to 14-year terms on the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest judicial body. They are the former Republican Janet DiFiore, Republican Michael Garcia, and conservative Democrats Anthony Cannatarro and Madeline Singas. Forming a majority of the court’s seven members, these four emerged as a bloc in the most recent session, voting together in 96 of 98 cases during the term that ended in mid 2022.

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There's no mention of how particularly egregious the maps were, and only a brief mention of the state law that made such maps unconstitutional in the first place. There's just a bunch of ranting from Sammon, who goes on to write about the lawsuits and ruling:

But their coup de grace was the ruling on New York state’s proposed redistricting. In April of this year, they sided with Republicans in a shock 4-3 decision that threw out the state’s redrawn maps, written by the Democratic-supermajority legislature, saying that they violated the state’s constitution. The opinion was written by Chief Judge DiFiore, with, of course, Judges Garcia, Singas, and Cannataro concurring.

In 2014, an amendment to the New York state constitution outlawed partisan gerrymandering, which, in theory, limited just how far Democrats could go in their redistricting in the eyes of the law.

Still, the ruling wasn’t a certainty, and Cuomo’s conservative bloc didn’t just trash the Democrat-friendly map, some of which was merely correcting some of the egregious Republican gerrymandering that Cuomo signed off on a decade prior. The judges went so far as to take redistricting power away from the legislature altogether, eventually reassigning the task to a special master of the court’s choosing.

The Democrats had their chances for a more fair map, but they blew it. How could they be trusted to give it another go? Sammon already lamented a "tailspin" as a result of the ruling. "Primary elections were delayed from June to late August, making them among the latest in the country. The new maps roped Democratic incumbents in Congress into numerous, vicious, member-on-member races that hurt the caucus even further. Voter turnout sank to record lows," he wrote. 

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Rep. Maloney's race plays a role there too, as he jumped at the chance to run in New York's 17th Congressional District, forcing freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) to run in the 10th Congressional District. Jones ultimately lost his race in August's primary. Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who had both served for nearly 30 years and both chaired committees, were pitted against each other for a primary in the state's 12th Congressional district, with Nadler winning that race.

"The centrist governor," Sammon wrote, actually referring to Cuomo, "who hamstrung New York Democrats for the entirety of the 2010s, has also positioned his own party to suffer for the remainder of the current decade, all the way up to the national level, giving Republicans new life in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one."

Sammon's piece closes with a quote from Sochie Nnaemeka, director of the New York Working Families Party, who warned that "Cuomo set the stage for the return of the Republican Party in New York." The horrors of another party taking power in New York, which like so many other states, has been destroyed by Democratic leadership. 

There certainly was resulting chaos, to be sure, but Democrats, who have had a trifecta of control in the state legislature, have no one to blame but themselves. They might have even done New Yorkers a favor if they decide to vote in politicians who will actually do something about the rising crime that so many are worried about there. 

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Sammon's piece was part of the Tuesday edition of RealClearPolitics (RCP), under "If a Red Wave Hits New York, Blame Andrew Cuomo."

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