You have undoubtedly read much already about the election results. I’ll stick to just a few points you may not have seen, starting with some from my own home jurisdiction.
If you think that voting where you live can be demoralizing, imagine being a voter in Manhattan and, even worse, Greenwich Village.
We had five judgeships up for election (in New York, judges at the trial court level are elected). Not a single one drew opposition from any political party, most particularly the Republicans. The one and only option was the Democrat. I’m offended by voting for somebody who is running unopposed in a supposedly democratic election, so I did not cast a vote for any of these people. After I left, I realized that I should have done what I did last time, which was to write in the name of my dog. My daughter wrote in the name of her one month old son.
Also not drawing an opponent from the Republican Party were our incumbent State Senator and State Assemblyperson. Like the judicial candidates, our State Senator had no opposition of any kind.
In a bizarre twist, our State Assemblyperson, one Deborah Glick, did draw an opponent, but not a Republican. The opponent was someone you may have heard of, the actress Cynthia Nixon, running on the ballot line of one of our phony New York political parties called the “Working Families Party” (basically a tool of the unions that represent the municipal workforce). Now, how does this come about? The answer is, it comes about through the legal arcana of New York ballot access rules. Nixon — who, when not playing some character on Sex and the City, has had a gig as spokesperson for the New York City teachers union and/or one of its surrogates — early on was given the “Working Families” ballot line in the gubernatorial race. Then Nixon also ran against incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic Party primary. Cuomo beat her. Then Cuomo wanted to get her out of the race for governor, so she wouldn’t draw votes away from him, just in case the Republican candidate for governor put up a real fight and the governor’s race got tight. Nixon was willing to play along, but it turns out that it’s not so easy to get out of a line on a New York ballot once you have been officially nominated by some party. After some agonizing, the WFP and Nixon decided that the only option that would work legally would be for them to nominate Nixon for some other race in the same election. So where could they put her where she wouldn’t cause too much trouble? The chosen race was the race for the Greenwich Village State Assembly seat. And thus we had Nixon running on the WFP line in our district as Glick’s opponent. On Monday, the day before the election, I got a robocall from the recorded voice of Nixon, urging me to vote for Glick. I voted for Nixon just to be ornery. Nixon got about 18% of the vote.
Our Congressional district, NY-10, is represented by one of the most thoroughly embarrassing people in the Congress, 71-year-old Jerrold Nadler. He ran again, this time for his 14th term. Sometimes, Nadler also draws no opponent; but this time the Republicans put up an energetic young woman named Naomi Levin. Ms. Levin put some real effort into raising some money, putting together an organization, and getting out there every day to campaign. For her efforts, she got about 18% of the vote. Since the Democrats allocate committee chairmanships strictly by seniority, Nadler looks to be in line to be the next head of the House Judiciary Committee. At least he doesn’t have any say in confirming judges; but he would be in charge of initiating impeachment proceedings against the President, or maybe Judge Kavanaugh, should the Democrats decide to go that route. If you want some good entertainment for this afternoon, read this piece at The Federalist yesterday by Mollie Hemingway, reporting on a series of phone calls had by Nadler yesterday while traveling on the Acela train from New York to Washington. Apparently, somebody sitting next to Nadler took the opportunity to record him talking on his cell phone, and passed the information on to Hemingway. Basically, Nadler was discussing strategy for going “all-in” on Russia (really!), and for the upcoming impeachment investigations of Trump and Kavanaugh. Bring it on! In more than 25 years in Congress, Nadler has never accomplished a single thing of note, unless you count voting for every proposed tax increase and spending increase, and every proposed new “program,” as some kind of accomplishment. Our district is of the wealthiest in the country, has the greatest suite of progressive policies and handouts of any place in the country, and, to show for all of that, has the highest measured income inequality of all 435 Congressional districts. You would think that at some point there would be some embarrassment, but I doubt that one voter in 100 in our district knows these facts.
There were state-wide races for Governor, Attorney General, and Comptroller. The Democrats ran embarrassing lightweights for Comptroller and Attorney General, and Andrew Cuomo for his third-term as Governor. The Republicans put up quality candidates for all of these races, but none of them got as much as 40% of the vote.
In the U.S. Senate race, Kirsten Gillibrand got about two-thirds of the vote against a Republican opponent named Chele Farley. I guess the rest of you guys out there are now going to have to deal with listening to this airhead Gillibrand pretending to run for President for the next couple of years.
In one of the great anomalies of national politics, the Republicans have been holding on to a slight majority of a few seats, or even just one seat, in the New York State Senate, for many years. This is the year in which the Democrats finally flipped at least six seats (and possibly a few more) to take strong control of the body. The State Senate under Republican control has served as a bulwark against many terrible public policies which the Democrat-controlled Assembly has long been advancing. Principal among these have been various proposed tax increases and, even worse, a re-institution of strong universal rent controls that have otherwise been diminishing since some Republican-led reforms in the 1990s. Are Democrats really going to go all in to destroy New York’s housing market with a new round of rent controls? I would hope that they have enough grown-ups around at this point to stop that, but you really can’t go too far wrong betting on their abject stupidity.
Moving away from my own home turf, I note that indicted Congressman Chris Collins from far upstate (his heavily Republican district is between Rochester and Buffalo) seems to have narrowly won his race. I’m not in favor of electing crooks, but it was probably the right thing for Collins to stay in the race. First of all, it’s just an indictment — not clear that he did anything wrong; and further, if he had just dropped out, the seat would have gone to the Democrat by default. Now, he can resign, and there will be a special election, which with high likelihood will go to the Republican in this very red district.
To be distinguished from the Collins situation is that of Senator Bob Menendez, from just across the river in New Jersey. Menendez has been thoroughly established as a crook, and unanimously excoriated by the Senate Ethics Committee, including its Democratic members. Menendez won by about 10 points. As far as I know, he plans to serve out the new six year term, and maybe even run yet again. New Jersey deserves him.
And don’t forget Proposition C on the ballot in the city of San Francisco. That’s the one that will establish a new business tax to fund $300 million per year for additional initiatives and services to reduce homelessness. This Proposition was the subject of my post on October 26. I promise to check back in a year or so to see if homelessness has actually been reduced in San Francisco. The chances of that are about zero, but I will be the first to congratulate them if they succeed.