Category Archives: New York

Dems Map Out McCain’s East River Visit

According to the Democratic Party, New York’s East River is a polluted, dangerous place thanks to John McCain. The GOP nominee is taking a tour of the waterway today and the DNC released a memo and map detailing all of the pollution cleanup, infrastructure improvements and Homeland Security funding for the River that McCain has apparently opposed.

McCain’s East River Tour (Democrats.org)

McCain\'s East River Tour

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Should New York City Secede From the Empire State?

It’s an absurd proposition right? Well, in light of tensions between the City and state over plans to ease traffic congestion in the five boroughs (Bloomberg wants to impose higher bridge tolls), at least one pundit thinks its a good idea.

“There is only one real solution to this problem long-term,” writes the The Current’s Reihan Salam, “New York city needs to secede from New York state and take its fate in its own hands.”

It’s not the first time this idea has been floated. According to the Wikipedia page on the subject, secession has been semi-seriously proposed by New York politicians at least three times.

When I wrote the post about “The Collapse of the Empire State,” I spoke with demographer Joel Kotkin who thought that the “the City is the only thing keeping [the state] from bankruptcy.” So New York State probably needs New York City more than the city needs the state.

Of course, a rift would create two very different places: One wealthy and urban state dominated by Democrats where hundreds of languages are spoken, and one poorer, whiter Rust Belt state where Republicans have the upper hand.

The Big Apple would also probably be a reliably blue state while Upstate would be more purple. The rift will likely never happen, but if it did, who would gain more – the Democratic Party or the GOP?

Upstate-Downstate Divide (Wikipedia)

New York Regions

RED — New York metropolitan area (Downstate) ORANGE — New York City exurbs rural in character but arguably still within the New York City sphere of influence (possibly Downstate) YELLOW — The standard definition of Upstate New York, along with the lime region GREEN — North Country and Adirondacks, often called the “true” upstate by natives

Hillary’s Clinton Empire

Hillary Clinton wins the Empire State 57-39%, which is just about what I expectedBarack Obama did pretty well in the City; his best borough was Brooklyn where he got 48%, and his worst was Staten Island, where he won 36%.

In the key suburban counties, Hillary took 52% in Westchester and 62% in Nassau.  All around, it was an impressive and well-balanced Hillary rout.

New York Democratic Electoral Map

New York Democratic Electoral Map

I thought Mitt Romney might have a shot Upstate.  But John McCain swept every single county in New York.  Wow.

New York Republican Electoral Map

New York Republican Electoral Map

The Metroliner Candidate

John McCain takes Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.

Amtrak’s Metroliner

Metroliner

Electoral Map Daily Compass: Post-Super Bowl, Pre-Super Tuesday Edition

A lot of stuff to cover today.

  • Each of the frontrunning GOP candidates has a primary in his home state tomorrow. [Politico]
  • Romney could win the popular vote in California, but loose the delegate count to McCain [The Barrometer]
  • It’s almost certain that Obama and Hillary will tie California’s delegates. [Trailhead]
  • Hillary gives Patriots fans a kick in the groin. [Massachusetts Liberal]
  • A scenario in which Obama beats Hillary in New York on the way to a sweep. [The Nation]
  • Obama’s red-state barnstorm. [Politics West]
  • Nasty weather nationwide tomorrow. [The Weather Channel]
  • Arizona, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts and Missouri are still tossups in the Dem race. [The Atlantic]
  • Democrats target the Navajo Nation straddling Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. [The Caucus]
  • Polls and analysis for every GOP contest have McCain winning 500+ delegates. [NRO]
  • Mark McKinnon on the difference between Texas and New York… from Grand Central Station. [The Page]

Super Tuesday Rundown: Northeastern and Midwestern States

Cross-posted at the Huffington Post.

And check out my rundown of Southern states here.

For the first time in modern American political history, there will be a nationwide primary on Tuesday, February 5. Many of 23 states that moved their primaries to earlier dates did so with the hopes of getting the kind of attention that the candidates and national media give to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Those states got their wish, and each of their proud traditions and strange customs will be cast on the national stage on Tuesday.

As part of a three installment series, here’s a look at two regions that will be contested on Super Tuesday – the Northeast and the Midwest – and how each candidate can expect to perform in each state.

Democrats in the Northeast (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York)

One of the most inaccurate descriptions of Hillary Clinton’s relationship with New York is that it’s is her “home turf.” Hillary launched her Senate bid from New York in part because a seat was being vacated, but more importantly because New York has always cast itself as the center of the nation. It’s the Empire State, the Big Apple and the Capital of the World. And so the state fit for Clinton, who was already a national figure.

By most reports, she’s done a good job of cultivating constituent relationships and building a strong statewide organization. On Super Tuesday, she’ll probably run well with Democrats in Upstate cities, who have tasted the bacon that she has brought home. She’ll also rack up big margins in the suburban counties surrounding the City, which are full of rooted New Yorkers who see her as more of a senator from their state than a national figure with a New York base.

But New York City is a different story. The City is the blending of America and is so saturated with media that primary voters are less likely to be loyal to Hillary and more likely to be tuned in to the details and rhythms of the campaign as a whole. It also won’t hurt Barack Obama that the city is heavily African-American. Obama might be wise to hold a rally in Madison Square Garden. If he can pack the University of South Carolina stadium, surely he can electrify MSG. Look for Obama to rack up millions of votes in the City and take nearly 40 percent there on his way to claiming about a third of New York’s 232 delegates.

On the other end of the Lincoln Tunnel, New Jersey will probably break decisively to Hillary. This is the state of the Carmello Soprano voter: white, upper middle-class, suburban moms. This demographic group is the backbone of Mark Penn’s strategy. And don’t forget that Carm once praised Hillary, telling Rosalie Aprile, “She stood by him and put up with the bullshit, and in the end, what did she do? She set up her own little thing.” Hillary should also do well with Hispanics in the inner suburbs, if only for the reason that these inner towns are fiercely loyal to everything New York.

On the other side of New York’s orbit, Connecticut will be a closer race. In the 2006 Democratic primary for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat, a Starbucks v. Dunkin Donuts dynamic emerged. Supporters of incumbent Joe Lieberman tended to be blue collar Democrats from places like the Naugatuck Valley who drank Dunkin Donuts coffee. Challenger Ned Lamont drew from wealthier Democrats on the Gold Coast who commuted to Manhattan and sipped Starbucks. It’s a very similar breakdown from what happened between Hillary and Obama in New Hampshire, and is likely to repeat itself on Super Tuesday.

Up in Massachusetts, if voters aren’t too hung over from Super Bowl celebrations or depressions, depending on the outcome, Super Tuesday will be a very close battle. Polls have Clinton leading by double-digits, but Obama has the endorsements of the Bay State’s governor and two U.S. senators. The state is also packed to the gills with the kind of people who usually support Obama: white, educated liberals. Clinton will probably win, but expect Obama to do surprisingly well.

Republicans in the Northeast (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York)

If Rudy Giuliani had ever faced Hillary in the 2000 Senate race, he probably would have lost the City. But make no mistake: the Big Apple is Rudy territory. This Brooklyn-born Italian-American rose through the ranks in the five boroughs to become the boss of the City and hero of local Republicans. If he had stayed in the 2008 presidential campaign, Rudy probably would have racked up huge margins on Staten Island and Long Island, and won most of Upstate.

John McCain might have picked off enough traditional Nelson Rockefeller Republicans to cut into Rudy’s margins in Westchester and surrounding burbs. But Rudy would have won the state and taken its 101 delegates in this winner take all contest. With Rudy out of the race, New York should be smooth sailing for McCain. Mitt Romney may have a decent shot Upstate if conservatives seek out an alternative, and a scenario is likely where Romney sweeps Upstate but McCain dominates everywhere south of the Catskills.

In New Jersey and Connecticut, McCain is likely to complete his sweep of the tri-state area. McCain was always positioned to do fairly well in these two states, which are home to the many suburban moderate Republicans like Rep. Chris Shays (CT-04). But these two states would have been competitive. Rudy would certainly have benefited from his high name recognition and moderate policies.

Many Republicans in the inner-burbs, especially in New Jersey, will always idolize America’s mayor for his handling of 9/11. There is nothing more iconic to many of these inner-suburban ethnic Republicans than Rudy throwing the first pitch at a Yankees game, wearing a FDNY hat with an American flag on the side. It’s not clear where these voters will go, but they’ll likely chose McCain, based solely on the fact that he’s a war hero.

Mitt Romney, for his part, will likely miss a huge opportunity in the tri-state region. Suburban Republicans in Summit County, N.J. and Fairfield County, Conn. once loved the idea of Romney: a CEO who promised results and success, had a stellar resume, looked good and talked authoritatively. But that’s all in past. As Romney became increasingly tangled in battles in the Heartland to prove his conservative purity, he stiffened up and took a defensive posture, which was off-settling for some people. He also advocated some positions that made many of his suburban supporters think twice.

Romney will likely concede the entire tri-state region and its 183 delegates and win Massachusetts’ 41 delegates without breaking a sweat. Any Republican primary voters in this region who wanted some visits from the candidates, maybe a little an appearance at a post-Super Bowl celebration in Boston in New York, will likely not get any. The Northeast will be radio silent. It’s a stunning fact considering there are three moderate Republicans who once lead the polls, two of which were from the region.

Midwest for Democrats (Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and North Dakota)

The Super Tuesday states in the region know as the “the Midwest” should really be divided into two different subsets. The first is the breadbasket states of Kansas, North Dakota and Minnesota. And the second group is Illinois and Missouri, which are distinctly Midwestern in the sense that they fall on the fault line between the Rust Belt and Dixie. Those two states are also home to the Cubs and Cardinals, and what is more Midwestern than a series between those two franchises?

Obama is a White Sox fan, which is heresy in many quarters of Illinois, but he’s still wildly popular with state Democrats and has a stronger bond with the base than Hillary does in New York. Obama will sweep the Chicago area, which accounts over half of the state’s Democratic primary voters, from the old Comiskey on the South Side to Wrigley on the North Side. But Chicago is also Hillary’s place of birth, and while it probably won’t count for much, she may find some voters in the suburbs and pull together 20 to 25 percent statewide.

It’ll also be interesting to see how Obama performs downstate, which Salon’s Edward McClelland has noted has a “history of working out racial questions for the rest of the country.” The region produced the two men most responsible for ending slavery in Abraham Lincoln and U. S. Grant. But one hundred years after the Civil War, racial strife tore apart the town of Cairo, and in 2004, Obama ran second in the Democratic primary downstate.

Across the mighty Mississippi from Cairo is Missouri, another state that has always been stuck between North and South. The northern part of the state was settled by Virginians and is known as Little Dixie. John Edwards might have found support here, but with the former North Carolina senator out of the race, Hillary has a distinct advantage. Obama will be buoyed by support in St. Louis and Kansas City, and he’ll do well with the Democrats and independents who listen to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s argument that he has purple-state appeal. An Obama victory is a long shot, but he could end up taking nearly half the state’s 72 delegates.

Minnesota will also award 72 delegates, but will do so in complicated caucus system that should favor Obama’s superior ground game. Obama’s style of campaigning will also probably play well in this state that is proud of its tradition of being “Minnesota nice” and often rewards candidates who run sunny campaigns. Edwards could have had an opening here, as Minnesota’s Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party has been known to be kind to populist candidates.

On Minnesota’s western border is the town of Fargo, N.D., where Democratic voters will also be caucusing. National Geographic recently described North Dakota as an “empty prairie… littered with dead towns.” With only13 delegates, it’s anybody’s guess who will win. Another state with few Democrats that appears to be up for grabs in Kansas. But with most leading Kansas Democrats endorsing Obama, the Illinois senator might have the upper hand. It also won’t hurt that is mom is from Kansas.

Republicans in the Midwest (Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and North Dakota)

It’s unclear who is leading the contest for North Dakota’s 25 delegates in the Republican race. Romney won a straw poll, but the state is also home to many older and more mainline Republicans who may support McCain. Neighboring Minnesota and its 40 delegates will be the focus of much more time and attention. McCain is the heavy favorite in Minnesota and Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been singing his praises there from the very beginning.

But the state also has a very vocal and active pro-life community, and Mike Huckabee could do surprisingly well. It’ll be interesting to see how Romney stacks up against McCain in the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, which are the fastest-growing areas in the state and are home to many of the new Republicans who are changing the electorate of this once heavily Democratic state.

Romney has a better shot in Missouri, er, “Missour-ah” to use local GOP dialect. The state will live up to its reputation as a fierce battleground and many of the rifts in the state GOP that were apparent during the 2006 battle over a stem-cell ballot initiative will be exposed. Moderates such as former Sen. John Danforth, who is backing McCain, supported the initiative. But many conservatives staunchly opposed it. Former Sen. Jim Talent, who could never really articulate a clear position on the issue, is a Romney ally, as is the Blunt family. If the “Rally to Romney” movement takes hold in here, he could edge McCain and take Missouri’s 58 delegates in this winner take-all contest. A repeat of Florida, where Huckabee stripped Romney of significant conservatives support, could happen.

Romney also needs to have a strong showing in Illinois, which awards 70 delegates by district. McCain is the favorite here, but former Speaker Dennis Hastert is doing all he can to knock down the maverick senator whom he has derided as an “unreliable” vote for the GOP. McCain is likely to take Chicago and the burbs, but it’ll be interesting to see who wins downstate. The southern part of the state might as well be in Dixie, which is also hosting a slew of elections on Super Tuesday.

 

Collapse of the Empire State

New York’s presence once loomed so large over America that it crowned itself the Empire State. Today, New York has fallen behind California and Texas in population and is in danger of dropping behind Florida. As its influence ebbs, the Empire State is losing electoral clout as an unprecedented rate.

According to Census Bureau estimates released in December, New York State has grown at such as sluggish rate relative to the rest of the nation that it is due to forfeit two congressional seats after the 2010 reapportionment. It would mark the seventh consecutive Census in which New York has given up seats.

“Reapportionment is carnage time for New York: the state lost five districts in the 1980 Census, another three in 1990 and two more in 2000,” according to the Almanac of American Politics. Almanac author Michael Barone predicted in a National Journal article in July that at least one district Upstate will be eliminated.

If Upstate looses another representative to Congress (or two for that matter), it would be consistent with an ongoing trend. Upstate is scared by ghost towns from Schenectady to Syracuse and beyond. If you ever want to see a vision of America in the 1960’s, visit Utica. It is as if everyone in that once bustling, medium-sized city lost their jobs one day and then got up and left. And its been frozen in time since. No one has invested anything.

GE employed 40,000 people in Schenectady in 1950. Today, it employs 3,000. Kodak, based in Rochester, cut 30,000 jobs in the last three years. Carrier, the crown jewel of Syracuse and the namesake of the Orangemen’s CarrierDome, shut down its air conditioning plant in 2004.

The loss of manufacturing jobs isn’t unique to Upstate New York. Cities across the Rust Belt, or what Joel Garreau calls “The Foundry” (America’s industrial region), are suffering. But Upstate is uniquely burdened with a tax system that funnels money to New York City and doesn’t circulate enough back.

Couple New York’s suppressive tax system with wintry weather, and it’s understandable why the region is experiencing sluggish to negative growth. And it’s a snowball effect: as jobs leave, people emigrate, the tax base shrinks and school systems decay. The Almanac says New York is experiencing an “unprecedented hemorrhaging of talent and productivity.”

A New York Sun article from Thursday noted that the Census Bureau estimates that New York is the eighth-slowest growing state. In fact, only two states declined in population from 2000 to 2006: New York and North Dakota, which National Geographic describes in its January 2008 issue as a prairie state “littered with dead towns.”

New York State grew 32 percent between 1940 and 1965, but only another two percent from 1965 to 1997. In the same period, California surged 74 percent and Texas bulged by 84 percent. Which brings us back to representation in Congress. Texas is slated to gain another four seats, bringing its delegation to 36. California already commands 55. Florida will have 27 seats, the same as New York.

When New York was in its heyday, Franklin D. Roosevelt would welcome throngs of guests to his estate in the Hudson River Valley. It was an age when radio reigned and the three biggest sports in America were boxing, baseball and horse racing. Florida was building its first railroad to the area that would become Miami and Henry Flagler was luring the first waves of what would become millions of New Yorkers down to Palm Beach.

Today, boxing and horse racing are afterthoughts in American sports, but their halls of fame are fittingly located in Upstate New York (along with baseball’s hall). Roosevelt’s Hyde Park mansion is a museum. Meanwhile, Florida is host to the major sports events of today such as the Daytona 500, which attracts upwards of 20 million viewers, and the Super Bowl, which is regularly held in Miami or Jacksonville.

New York will always command a special place in America’s identity, symbolized by the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, The New York Times, Broadway and the Yankees’ pin stripes. But those institutions were founded long ago. The state that once declared itself the epicenter of an Empire is no more.

Congressional Representation of the Four Largest States
Congressional Represenation of the Four Largest States

New York Congressional Districts
New York Congressional Districts

New York Times’ United States of Florida
United States of Florida