We got our asses kicked.
In a stunning repudiation of the Republican Party and its candidates, the Democratic Party ran the table in statewide New York offices and in Monroe County. The best Republican campaign in years fell flat on its face. A once-in-a-generation convergence of issues and circumstances gave New York Republicans a path to victory in spite of a two-to-one enrollment disadvantage.
And we fell short.
For me, it’s heartbreaking. I believed in La’Ron Singletary. I smelled history in the air, and felt I was witness to the monumental rising of a new type of Rochester leader. I came around to Lee Zeldin, and felt the passion and purity of his campaign and supporters. I admire Jim Vanbrederode and believe in his blue-collar heart and common-man values. I felt there was a real shot for Joe Chenelly, and a place at the table for the message he carried.
And I wasn’t the only one. The circle of supporters was wide and energized, like most of us hadn’t seen in years. And it was reinforced on the evening news and in the updates on our phones. There was inflation and crime and a stumbling administration in Washington, in the context of a sinister administration in Albany.
Surely, our day had come. The red wave would carry us all to a better place.
But it didn’t. It was a figment of our anticipation.
We were delusional. And our neighbors didn’t buy what we were selling.
And we had absolutely no idea that that was the case. And the Democrats won all the truly contested races.
The midterm pushback against an historically unpopular president was minimal, with Joe Biden faring better two years in than any president had since George W. Bush. There are still some noses to count, but there was no shellacking, and no mandate, and no repudiation. It turns out going broke and having criminals run the streets isn’t that big a deal to a great many voters.
Joe Biden did well. Kathy Hochul did great.
She ignored the cries of her constituents, told people not to believe what they saw with their own eyes, and wrote off vast geographical stretches of her state, and it worked. She kicked the people who disagreed with her in the head, and was rewarded for it.
She, and her entire slate. And while Republicans fared better statewide than they had in previous years, they did not fare well, and it wasn’t close, and mystical votes from Long Island aren’t going to save us.
And in Rochester, as the voters joined the Democratic Party in turning their back on a black son of the city, history was robbed and hopes were dashed. The legacy of Frederick Douglass means nothing in the face of a smart political organization, and that political organization – sired by Congressman Joe Morelle – reigned supreme on Tuesday night. We all say, “Know your place,” in our own way, I guess, and last night Monroe County Democrats said it in theirs.
Compounding the hurt for the supporters of La’Ron Singletary was the inexplicable failure of the Monroe County Board of Elections to post any results for almost two hours after the polls closed or to offer a plausible explanation for the delay. Though establishment Democrats dismissed the problem with nonsensical claims of some slowdown in uploading data, black supporters of Singletary almost immediately began texting fears that the election was being stolen. Former Mayor Lovely Warren, who has worked in Monroe County politics for more than 20 years, called for an impounding of the machines and a court order to secure all ballots and election equipment, fearing that skullduggery was afoot.
But her concerns were dismissed with a press release.
And it is what it is.
And the consequences are going to echo across the county and the state.
Kathy Hochul has learned that she is politically untouchable, that there is no negative consequence for any of her arrogance or extremism. And she will retaliate, against officials and regions, to punish those who directly or indirectly opposed her. People will lose jobs and leave positions, counties will be shortchanged on state aid. If you’re going to take down a political power, you better take it down, or it’s going to come looking for vengeance.
In Monroe County, a plan to create five black-majority districts for the county legislature is suddenly in jeopardy. If Joe Morelle could win handily with suppressed turnout by black voters in the city, his apostle, Adam Bello, need fear no electoral payback from blacks, and can safely veto the districts that would represent them.
Some of the bigger names in the community – like Todd Baxter and Bob Duffy, who implicitly campaigned for Republican candidates and issues – were ineffective in their attempts to influence voters.
It was, from the standpoint of us Republicans, a hell of a wake-up call.
We gave our best, in terms of ideas and effort, and we got spanked. Our minority voice, long ignored by the government, is not ignored by our neighbors. They saw us as cranks. Their loyalty to party was paramount, all across the county, state and, to a large extent, country.
On the base of the historic Frederick Douglass statue in Highland Park there is the quote, “One, with God, is a majority.”
He might have believed that, but his successors in the Republican Party can’t prove it.
It was a great night for the Democratic Party.
And that might be a horrible thing for our state and country.
It certainly is a humiliation for Republicans.