One of the biggest questions in Albany is who will rule the state Senate after the 2016 elections. Governor Andrew Cuomo says that he wants the Democrats in control, but most educated political consumers know that he speaks with a forked tongue on the issue. In fact, like his father before him, the Democratic governor loves having the Republicans in control of that house for two reasons.
The first is that if the Democrats take over control of the upper house, they will spend, spend, and spend. As you undoubtedly know, this governor has fashioned himself as a centrist Democrat in the Clinton tradition. That’s why he imposed a tax cap as the central plank in his incumbency. Now he has turned left, but the tax cap remains. Cuomo would certainly rather blame the Republicans for not letting him trend left than be called names by a new Democratic majority in the Senate. That doesn’t mean the Republican senators like the guy. They don’t, and all you have to do is to listen to the recordings between Senator Skelos, the now convicted majority leader, and his troubled son, in which they rant and rave about what a bad man Cuomo is.
The second is that Cuomo doesn’t trust the Democrats. Many of them have gone to jail over the years including several that Cuomo sent to the hoosegow when he was attorney general. Andrew’s problem is that he can’t say this out loud lest he be accused of undermining fellow Democrats, so he just has to hope that the Democrats continue to foul their own nest and destroy their chances to get into the majority.
That is why Senator Jeff Klein and the members of his Independent Democratic Conference are so crucial. These five nominal Democrats have been pulled over to the Republican side of the aisle and have been kept in office. They’ve all been well rewarded for their perfidy. There is such bad blood between the real Democrats and the IDC (sometimes called “the traitors” by me) that many people believe they will never return to the regular Democratic side. Virtually no one believes that if Democrat Cuomo tells them that they have to go back where they belong that they won’t obey. The power of the governor is just too great for a man like Klein who was elected from the Democratic Bronx of all places to resist him. Many of us just believe that Cuomo has signaled the IDC to keep on keepin’ on.
Into all of this comes Mayor de Blasio who has tried to elect Democrats to take back the state Senate and who, along with the entire city of New York, has been punished by the Republicans for his effrontery. This may be one reason why Cuomo is so obviously bullying de Blasio.
If Hillary Clinton wins, or Bernie Sanders runs for president, a lot of Democrats will show up at the polls and vote “down ticket” almost assuredly sealing the fate of the Republicans. Not only that, some key Republicans are already bailing out and running for higher offices and the old Dean Skelos seat on Long Island is up for grabs. The Democrats have a candidate who looks like he will beat the stuffing out of any Republican. So it will be up to Cuomo to decide whether he has to tell Klein and the traitors to come back where they belong or whether he will continue to obfuscate and pretend that he can’t tell them what to do.
It appears that the game is up for the Republicans. Blue state New York will elect a majority of Democrats and the Republicans will no longer be allowed to gerrymander their districts so that they can load the game to win. Governor Cuomo will have no choice but to support the people’s verdict.