Clinton could help Dems gain control of N.Y. Senate
Freeman columnist Alan Chartock discusses the state of the presidential campaign and how its impacts state races.
The second great presidential debate is now behind us, and the implications, both state and federal, are huge. Everyone has theories about what’s really going on, and I’ll give you a few of mine.
After the Donald Trump tape hit the airwaves, Republican leaders who never liked Trump began to desert him in droves. That left them in big trouble because a lot of people voted for Trump in the primaries, and most polls indicate that those conservative voters have not deserted Trump — and won’t, no matter what he says. That leaves people in the middle who either dislike Hillary Clinton and Trump or who have yet to make up their mind as the crucial voters.
In New York state, it really doesn’t matter. Clinton is going to swamp Trump. That’s fine, but the question remains whether that will affect the rest of the races in New York, including the race for control of the state Senate.
When Clinton ran for re-election to the Senate, she received 67 percent of the vote, something that she mentioned in the second debate with Trump, although Trump kept insisting she had broken her economic promises to the voters of upstate New York.
Clinton, of course, is aware that guns are a huge part of the upstate political mix, and Trump was all over her on the issue. To her great credit, Clinton allowed that she respected the Second Amendment to the Constitution but that she thought there ought to be controls on who is allowed to buy guns. My bet is that most people agree. Also, Trump posited that, despite Hillary’s promises to improve the upstate economy, she was unable to deliver. It might be pointed out in contradistinction to Trump’s taunts that Clinton was a U.S. senator, not the state’s governor.
There is big trouble for the state’s Republicans. Their candidate for U.S. Senate, Wendy Long, is going to take a severe trouncing. She is football fields behind the always popular incumbent, Chuck Schumer.
That brings us back to the state Senate. If Hillary brings out a huge crowd of people who dislike Trump, which I expect she will, many will show up at the polls to vote for the top office. While state Republican Chairman Ed Cox believes middle-range voters will continue to vote for incumbent Republican state senators, I’m not so sure. I think many of the newbies showing up will have no clue who their state senators are. As a result, and because they want to elect Democrat Clinton, they will look down the line and vote for other Democrats. At least that’s the way it has always worked in elections of this kind.
Many of us know that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was comfortable with the Republicans controlling the “upper house.” But now Cuomo will be facing a tough election for a third term, and the word is out among Democrats that he is not where he should be on that crucial issue. So Cuomo will have to at least act like he wants a Democratic Senate.
If the Democrats take control of the state Senate, that will just about mean the ball game for the Republicans. That’s why this presidential election is so crucial to help turn out people who usually couldn’t care less about statewide races. The fact that New Yorker Donald Trump is on the ticket doesn’t seem to mean much to New Yorkers. The state seems to be getting bluer and bluer. Trump’s bombast and baiting of blacks and women has made many voters want to retch. Upstaters may not like taxes, but they pay them and they don’t respect someone who doesn’t pay his fair share. That’s why Trump won’t release his tax returns.
Trump’s debate performances will not go over well in upstate New York, you can take my word for it.