My Guess On Redistricting

As secretly agreed, I suspect, Cuomo will veto the usual incumbent protection redistricting plan, the legislature will over-ride, Cuomo will condemn, and that will be the end of it. Those who believe there should be actual elections in New York will have to find a way to create them otherwise, and it won’t be easy. Perhaps the media might consider encouraging challengers and challenging incumbents rather than the reverse. Perhaps someone might raise money to provide lawyers when the incumbents work to kick challengers off the ballot. Perhaps the ease of writing in candidates with the new machines might provide an avenue to an actual election. There will be no actual elections if the state legislature can avoid it.

As far as I’m concerned, it isn’t Cuomo whose credibility is on the line here. It is the New York Times and Citizen’s Union, who have opposed popular means to competitive elections such as term limits (with CU eventually sort of changing its mind), and didn’t bother covering challengers, while using press releases from incumbents as the basis of articles, often touting the little grants they get in exchange for selling out the future (now the present). The incumbent generated articles have also slowed down, replaced by lobbyist-funded think tank “report” generated articles, but the cumulative effect remains.

These groups, and others, have identified partisan redistricting as the basis for the lack of competitive elections. And it’s true that independent redistricting, in addition to SLIGHTLY increasing the number of districts competitive between the two major parties, would also often result in more than one incumbent in the same district, with a potential open seat elsewhere. But they put all their eggs in one basket. We’ll see what they get for it. My guess is, nothing or perhaps, if Cuomo is a political genius, symbolism. But we’ll see.