May 23, 2017
By Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein
New York, NY – Right now, the top news in the New York politics is the story of the State Senate’s lulu payments, the extra money that legislators in leadership positions earn.
The Republican-controlled Senate paid seven senators (three Independent Democrats and four Republicans) for positions they did not hold.
In this age of Trump, there’s now a spotlight on government and an outcry ensued. While there’s now an uncertain investigation, the political outcomes are more obvious and no one stands to benefit.
Senate Republicans are an obvious loser in this exchange. Their leader and staffers might be in legal trouble and next year, they’ll be facing a hostile electorate. New York Republicans will need to stand apart from Trump this may be an albatross linking them to Trump’s self-dealing.
The Independent Democratic Conference is getting more of the negative attention they’ve tried to avoid. However, most of their members are generally safe and could even gain in the 2018 elections at the Republicans’ expense. If that happens, the IDC will likely still hold the balance of power in the Senate, even if they are weakened by this.
Senate Democrats benefit because this hurts their Republican and IDC opponents. However, the Senate Democrats’ aggressive call for an investigation further strained an already-acrimonious relationship with the IDC. It’ll be more difficult to get their support now, which leaves the Democrats far from a majority.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s main goal appears to be preparing to run for President and this drags him into a fight he doesn’t want. His Presidential campaign is already an uphill climb; news about Republican corruption on his watch is just an added difficulty.
The Constitutional Convention now has a great argument in favor of the referendum to empanel a Constitutional Convention. They already planned to argue that the establishment is corrupt. This just helps them make that case.
Meanwhile, the General Public suffers diminished trust in elected officials. That’s bad for democracy and for anyone who wants government to address any of the serious issues we face today.
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