GOP strengthens its position in New York state
Tuesday was a huge day for Republicans and the impact they made in New York promises to be profound.
Republicans appear to have retained control of the state Senate by successfully defending their incumbent seats and picking up one more in Western New York. If the vote counts stand, that would give the GOP 32 of the Senate’s 63 seats, making the party a powerful force when combined with a group of breakaway Independent Democratic Conference members they have partnered with to run the upper house.
The Senate GOP has joined with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on his successful efforts to impose caps on taxes and government spending. The party has also been a key supporter of charter schools and an opponent of taxpayer financing of political campaigns.
“Along with our partners in the IDC, Senate Republicans will continue to lead the way,” Majority Leader John Flanagan, RLong Island, said Wednesday morning.
The GOP also successfully re-elected all its incumbent House members and picked up two open seats, electing former Assembly member John Faso in the 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley and Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney in Assembly District 22 in the Mohawk and Hudson valleys.
In the process, Faso may have ended the political career of Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham University law professor who lost to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary in 2014.
“The force of (Trump’s) candidacy helped us secure our Republican Congressional, Senate, and Assembly seats in New York, as well as both houses of Congress,” state GOP Chairman Ed Cox said, noting he was the first state party chairman to endorse Trump.
Trump’s victory decisively ended the Clinton era in U.S. politics. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time,” Clinton told supporters in a concession speech in New York City Wednesday morning.
The end of the Clintons could also claim the future of Cuomo, a former Clinton aide and a Democrat cut from the same cloth politically. If Cuomo seeks re-election in 2018, he may face both a Democratic primary challenge from the left and a GOP candidate emboldened by the new Trump era.
Democrats could regroup under the influence of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who both tap into the same populism and anxiety about economic issues that propelled Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign.
Apart from the political impact, Trump’s win will certainly affect the state in other ways.
The New York City businessman is a supporter of fossil fuels and is likely to curtail taxpayer subsidies for green power. As a result, the future is a cloudier today for the $750 million SolarCity plant built by taxpayers in Buffalo at the behest of Cuomo.
Trump has also vowed to repeal Obamacare, the Affordable Healthcare Act. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported in March that more than 224,000 New Yorkers are receiving healthcare coverage through Obamacare. It is unclear what will happen to them if they lose their Obamacare coverage.
“As a result of yesterday’s election, the healthcare sector in New York will face a significantly different landscape,” Healthcare Association President Bea Grause said Wednesday. She said hospital groups will “meet head-on any challenges to the Affordable Care Act, as well as budgetary pressures on providers, while striving to achieve regulatory flexibility across programs.”
Beyond that, international trade agreements may be revised or abandoned, a move that could affect industries across the board. Canada is the top trade partner of New York, with $30 billion in cross-border trade in goods and services
The Washington gridlock Cuomo and others like to criticize is likely to be gone, with the consequences felt here in ways that cannot be predicted. Both the House and Senate are in GOP hands, with the Supreme Court also likely to move in a more conservative direction over the next four years, thanks to Trump appointments.
In Washington, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, DN.Y., has been thrust into the role of national leader, the Senate’s backstop against Trump’s policies. He won a fourth-six year term on Tuesday and is in line to become the Senate minority leader in January — the Democratic Party’s point man in legislative battles with the new president.