Pundits in the mainstream media will tell you till they’re blue in the face that Republicans can’t win statewide in New York. It’s wishful thinking.
They said that just before George Pataki was elected governor — thrice — before Al D’Amato and Jim Buckley, who won solely on the Conservative Party line, were elected to the U.S. Senate, and they said it just prior to Dennis Vacco becoming attorney general. (They also said Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg couldn’t be elected mayor of New York City. They served five consecutive terms at City Hall from 1994-2013.)
Those officials were elected ages ago, the pundits will say, showing a fundamental misunderstanding of New York political cycles and an eagerness to maintain the liberal status quo. They don’t understand how dangerous and unaffordable New York feels to the average citizen these days. (RELATED: MCKENNA: Talking Heads Are Trotting Out One Indicator To Predict Key Elections. Here’s What To Actually Pay Attention To Instead)
New York is undeniably a blue state by party registration — it’s more than 2-1 Democrat — but its voters are anything but monolithic. Indeed, if there is one consistency in New York politics it’s this: when Democrats screw up; when they move too far to the left — when crime and taxes become unbearable — everyday New Yorkers of all parties turn to the Republican and conservative parties to bail them out.
A survey released last week from The Trafalgar Group, one of the nation’s most respected polling firms, shows the age-old dynamic occurring in this year’s New York gubernatorial contest. The survey shows Republican-conservative Rep. Lee Zeldin within around four points of incumbent unelected Gov. Kathy Hochul, 47.8% to 43.4%, with just eight weeks to go until election day.
Another survey conducted last week by the survey firm co/efficient has the race close, too, with Hochul at 49% and Zeldin at 43%. Other public polls have shown higher spreads, but the Trafalgar and co/efficient surveys are more closely aligned with internal Republican and Conservative polling, as well as with common sense.
New York under Hochul and complete Democrat control has become more dangerous, corrupt and unaffordable than New York under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, if that’s even possible.
Hochul’s no-cash-bail law has flooded the streets with known criminals, and every morning’s newspaper reveals its new victims. Spending in Albany has exploded from $177 billion to $220 billion over the past two years alone, and Hochul is already crying poverty, meaning tax increases will invariably follow if she’s reelected.
And Hochul, who promised to bring reform and transparency to Albany after Cuomo’s ignominious resignation for sexual harassment, is raising even more corrupt pay-to-play political donations than her predecessor. So much for promises.
Pundits like to claim New York City as a firewall for statewide Democrats, but history shows it’s not when crime rates are high and the cost of living is backbreaking. The last time the city felt this ungovernable, voters turned to the GOP five consecutive times for mayor and three for governor.
Add ill-conceived Covid policies that did incalculable mental health damage to city school children and chased 400,000 New Yorkers out of town into the mix and you’ve got a potent recipe for change brewing.
Congressman Lee Zeldin, a U.S. Army veteran, is poised to be the next Republican governor of New York for a reason: He’s offering voters at the exact right time the relief they need from crime, the rising cost of living, and public corruption.
If history is any guide, and it always is, expect the unexpected in November. New Yorkers are in the market for a bailout again.
Jerry Kassar is Chairman of the New York State Conservative Party.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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