With Darrel Aubertine’s apparently comfortable win in the 48th Senate special election over Will Barclay, inquiring minds want to know: Which Republican senator will switch parties first? Wow, the phone lines in Albany have got to be smokin’ now!
While the outcome of this election is all kinds of bad news for the NYS GOP, a party that has not had any good news for many many years, I caution any Democrats against reading too much into the outcome. The major impression I get about what this election meant for the actual voters in the 48th, is best summed up by Danger Democrat of Watertown (who has to be very happy today):
Tuesday, February 26th, is a day that may alter and illuminate our times in the counties of Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence. But probably not. Change happens by individual degrees usually, not 180 of them at a clip at a singular event. But this SD 48 election is a major component of a gradual watershed alteration in the NNY political landscape. From egalitarian, paternalistic politics to a more populist version. The previously rocksolid landed gentry here is being challenged. Roots are being viewed as not necessarily permanent fixtures…
Is the Democratic Party of New York State really ready to confront and manage passionate sentiments like this?!
I think this election was a great deal about the North Country asserting its political autonomy from presumptuous establishments further south – which has to be rather exhilarating for them, but could also be a shape of things to come in state politics. This wasn’t so much a win for centralized Democratic authority over the Empire State as it was a win for (forgive the analogy) the range riders on the steppes. They may have put up the money for the win, but does the Democratic Party in New York really have control over all those independents who helped put Aubertine over the top? It’s still safe to say it’s going to take a lot of money to hold these seats — even though the Republican establishment in CNY has probably taken quite a savage whipping by proxy through young Will Barclay.
Really, for the Democrats to take ownership of the entire state legislature is a dangerous juncture for them. When you kill your enemy, make sure you know what to do with his serfs — because you’re freeing them.