“Democrats Blew Their Big Opportunity to Make New York Winnable in 2024”

Alexander Sammon for Slate:

After over a year in court, millions of dollars on lawyers’ fees, an overhaul of the state’s highest court, and an all-out battle to throw out New York’s congressional districts and replace them with something more favorable for Democrats, the New York Senate, empowered with the ability to flip control of the House single-handedly, voted to confirm new maps, signed by the governor into law. The result: The number of Trump-won districts in the state has officially increased from five to six.

Read that again. Not a typo! The most anticipated Democratic gerrymander of the 2024 election cycle has resulted with Democrats—wielding supermajority control of the Legislature and a newly enshrined liberal majority on the state’s highest court—actually increasing the number of congressional districts in areas won by a Republican in 2020. They made swing districts like NY-01 even redder, likely putting them out of reach for Democrats. (Swingy NY-19, too, is ever so slightly redder than before.) The new map is barely distinguishable from the 2022 map that contributed to New York Democrats’ disastrous midterms performance and gave the Republicans the House majority….

Charitably, New York Democrats were probably afraid that if Republicans sued successfully, a court could redraw the map with no solicitude for Democratic incumbents. They were trying to protect themselves, with little concern for national Democrats. But if Republicans had sued to thwart a gerrymander and won, the cost would have been minimal: The Legislature would merely have to try again. Instead, it didn’t even try, choosing instead to shore up its individual fates at the expense of the party broadly. New York Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, and that truth is etched into this map. What was the point of flipping the court, of bringing the lawsuit, of all of it?

“It’s absolutely astonishing. We’ve seen how feckless NY Dems have been in so many ways for so many years—decades, really—so I’m disgusted more than I am surprised,” said David Nir, publisher of Daily Kos Elections, which closely tracks redistricting efforts. “If it’s better than the ’22 map, it’s barely any better.”

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