The Day After

November 5, 2014 at 8:12 am Leave a comment

The biggest news from last night’s elections for New York credit unions isn’t the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate.  Rather, it is the fact that Senate Republicans appear to have gained a slim but decisive majority in the State Senate.  If the preliminary results hold up, it appears that Senator Dean Skelos of Long Island won’t even need the five member Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC) to exercise control over New York’s Senate Chamber.

On a practical level, this means that the lines of power in Albany are clearer than they have been in years.  For decades, Republicans ruled the State Senate and acted as a counterbalance to the overwhelmingly Democratic Assembly and the occasional Democratic Governor.  In recent years, the model appeared to be changing.  Republicans only kept control by entering into a coalition with the IDC.  In addition, it appeared that Republican strong holds in Long Island and the mid-Hudson were fading away.

These long term trends may continue, but they’ve been arrested, at least for this election cycle.  Republicans cruised to victory on Long Island, picked up an open seat in the Hudson Valley (Terrence Murphy), flipped a seat in Hudson Valley (Susan Serino beat Terry Gipson), won a hotly contested capital region race (George Amedore defeated Cecilia Tkacyzk) and flipped a seat in the Rochester area (Richard Funke beat Ted O’Brien).  To me, the remarkable thing is not only that the Republicans reclaimed the Senate majority, but that it was so decisive.  In recent years, no election cycle has been complete without a drawn out legal battle.  But this year heading into a new legislative session, we have a re-elected Governor and, in all likelihood, a single majority leader.  Here is a great site recapping election results.

As for the national election results, to me the real question isn’t so much who has the majority, but what they want to do with it.  The American public has been playing ideological ping pong since the beginning of the 21st Century.  The result has been an increasingly dysfunctional Congress more interested in ideological posturing than getting anything useful accomplished.  I actually think that President Obama has more flexibility to strike deals with U.S. Senate Republicans than he would if the Democrats held on to a slim majority.  Maybe, just maybe, it is in the interest of both Congress and the President to get something accomplished.  Otherwise, we have another two years of political atrophy while the political class awaits the results of the next decisive election,.  The problem is that there are no decisive elections in American politics.

Entry filed under: General, New York State.

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association.

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