It took more than a week for Republicans to win the majority of U.S. House of Representatives. While some races are still being counted, the GOP is expected to regain control of the lower chamber by one to four seats.

Democrats’ narrow miss on keeping control of the House has increased scrutiny on the party’s weak showing in New York. Four U.S. House seat were taken by Republicans in the election. New York Previously held by DemocratsTwo in the Hudson Valley, two on Long Island. Democrats Also, the results were not as expected. central New York district President Joe Biden won, while a moderate Republican retiring was leaving.

While there are many reasons that can lead to a certain political outcome, two key factors stand out. Democrats’ overall failure in New York. New York Democrats A congressional redistricting plan was drafted by him. The court rejected it on the ground that it violated a 2014 Constitution amendment prohibiting partisan gerrymandering. Democratic New York Gov. Rep. Lee Zeldin, her Republican opponent, defeated Kathy Hochul in the New York Candidates further down the ballot are affected by city suburbs.

Taken together, it is not an exaggeration to say that the House might remain in Democratic hands if it were not for the party’s disappointing results in New York.

New York’s Redistricting Mess

The Roots of New York’s redistricting fiasco date to 2010, when former New York City Mayor Ed KochDemocrat, he joined other good government groups to call for the end of partisan gerrymandering. Koch got 138 New York State legislators to sign a promise to an independent body to draw new legislative and congressional districts following the next Census.

Despite this pledge, gerrymandering continued apace for 2012. DemocratsWho controlled the New York State Assembly drew legislative district to their advantage. Republicans who controlled the state Senate drew boundaries that were favorable. A federal court was established in the meantime. imposed New congressional lines

After initially stating that he would, he later changed his mind. veto partisan plans, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reversed course and bargained instead for a bipartisan compromise that would reform the next decade’s redistricting. He won the support of Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats Pass a constitutional amendment to ban partisan gerrymandering.

Then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, reached a deal for redistricting with Dean Skelos, then-state Senate Majority leader (R), and Sheldon Silver, Assembly Speaker (D), right.

J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday LLC/Getty Images

Below the proposalA separate commission, staffed equally by Republican and Democratic appointees, would draw new congressional and legislative lines. If the commission is ineffective, however, the state legislature will have the power and authority to draw new districts.

State Senate DemocratsCuomo already made it clear that he felt marginalized for his involvement with a group breakaway leaders. Democrats, argued The plan was deemed unworkable by the non-existence of a tie-breaking vote from the bipartisan commission.

In New YorkThe legislature must approve constitutional amendments before they can be adopted by the voters. Cuomo supported the amendment and it was adopted in both legislative chambers. Voters were able to overlook objections from figures such as Michael Gianaris, the state Senate Deputy Democratic leader. In a 2014 referendum 57% of New York voters Voted in favor of the amendment being adopted.

The scenario Gianaris had foretold about was realized. The commission’s five Democrats The five Republicans were unable to reach an agreement and sent a letter. dueling maps The legislature, Democrats Quickly, they drafted their own maps that were weighted to give the advantage to their group.

“We were very much intentionally designed to fail,” David Imamura, an Attorney and Democratic Chair of the Commission, recently resigned to run The Westchester County legislature. “I do blame [Cuomo] for accepting a system that was doomed to fail.”

Rich Azzopardi (an ex-senior aide and spokesperson for Cuomo) said that Cuomo made what he believed was the best deal with the Assembly and state Senate Republicans about the equal number of members. Democrats It was at that time.

“Everyone thought there was going to be some good faith in there,” He said.

“We knew this was going to be challenged in court. They absolutely should have seen this coming from a mile away.”

– Zach Fisch (ex-chief of staff), Rep. Mondaire J. (D.N.Y.)

Initialy, the deadlocked commission looked like a blessing. Democrats To reduce Republican gerrymandering, especially in Texas, Florida, Ohio. The map drawn by Democrats in the legislature ― led by Gianaris, who chaired the legislature’s redistricting team ― gave Democrats An advantage in 22 out of New York’s 26 U.S. House Seats If Democrats They would win all 22 seats and then pick up three additional seats to their total. The Since the seat that is currently held by Republicans is now owned by Democrats, it would mean that there would be a net gain of four seats. New York Population decline has led to the loss of Republican support.

Some critics were concerned that Gianaris’ and his team had overplayed their hand given the existing constitution.

They also questioned the wisdom in drawing two districts. Legislature Democrats It was decided to draw a congressional District that included parts of Queens, Long Island’s North Shore, and Westchester County, which are located on opposite sides the Long Island Sound. Another district that encompassed the entire of Staten Island was created to encompass more liberal Brooklyn neighborhoods, such as Park Slope.

These two districts might have made it more likely that there would be a New York State Court of Appeals with a Democratic majority would eventually find that the map was drawn with intent to benefit the Democratic Party.

“If you spoke to people in those communities, they were quite confused,” Zach Fisch, an attorney who was previously chief of staff for Rep. Mondaire (D-N.Y.), said this. “It didn’t pass the smell test.”

Fisch had a stake on the maps being held up in court. Community members in Jones’ district in the lower Hudson Valley had worked hard to convince the independent redistricting commission that towns on either side of the Hudson River formed a shared community of interest. Democrats In the legislature, a district was drawn that honored this perspective, insulating Jones from having a run against another Democrat. Once that map was drawn, it was not difficult to change the boundaries. struck down Jones had to use musical chairs in court. After moving to Brooklyn’s new open district, Jones lost the Democratic primary.

“At the beginning of this process, we knew what we were working with. We knew this was going to be challenged in court,” Fisch said. “They absolutely should have seen this coming from a mile away.”

The Neue court-ordered map The draft was rejected by Carnegie Mellon University’s nonpartisan political scientist and included far fewer Democratic-leaning members.

Gianaris supported the process by arguing that the appeals courts violated the constitution by refusing the legislature the opportunity to draw new maps that meet its standards.

“We had a rogue court led by a judge that has since resigned under a cloud of suspicion that issued a completely unconstitutional decision in New York,” He said The Sunday Review refers to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s resignation Court of Appeals July.

New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D) has defended his role in the redistricting process.
New York State Senate Deputy Majority Lead Michael Gianaris, (D), has stood by his participation in redistricting.

Hans Pennink/Associated Press

Gianaris called it criticism “Monday morning quarterbacking,” Plus, “These are the same people who would have been criticizing us if the maps were not sufficiently favorable [to Democrats], had we done them differently.”

When The Sunday Review asked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) about New York Democrats’ lackluster performance, she likewise accused the state’s Court of Appeals of issuing an unconstitutional decision.

Some House losses were due “the challenge of new lines that were so absurd,” She said it earlier this week. “I hope someone does litigate them because I think they are unconstitutional.”

However, Michael Li, senior counsel at liberal Brennan Center is a fault Democrats In the legislature because they failed to use the window of opportunity provided by a judge in March to correct the maps. “By refusing to redraw the map themselves or offer reasonable alternatives, Democrats left the door open to a more radical reworking of the map,” Li wrote the think tank’s blog.

Gianaris wasn’t the only Democrat to elicit scrutiny. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. New York Democrats Draw an even more aggressive map.

Gianaris insists that he did not have any contact with Maloney concerning redistricting. Some blame Maloney, however, for weighing-in as a representative from the National Democratic Party PartyIt is more likely that the state legislature will be elected. Democrats This would be an overreach.

“Maloney and Gianaris played this far too cute and overreached,” ” New York Democratic insider requested anonymity in order to protect professional relationships. “That was the original sin of this year.”

The DCCC did not address this criticism.

Maloney blamed Hochul in a private phone call last Thursday with supporters for failing to petition U.S. Supreme Court, to hear a challenge of the election. New York Court of Appeals ruling. During the period when the U.S. Supreme Court assessed the petition, the court would have issued a stay keeping the legislature’s maps in place at least through Election Day, Maloney said.

An exchange with The Sunday Review spokesperson for Hochul refused to comment on the claim.

Let’s just say that the court-ordered congressional districts map was less favorable. Democrats than either the Democratic redistricting commission members’ or the state legislature’s proposals. There is some doubt about how much the earlier maps would have helped in an otherwise difficult cycle for Empire State. Democrats.

The news outlet City & State conducted an analysis It is possible that the older, more Democratic maps could have saved Democrats Some seats upstate were not saved, however. Democrats They were unable to win the Long Island House seats.

“There was a red wave,” A Democratic consultant, who has advised many clients, said: New York House candidates requested anonymity to protect professional interests. “It was just on Long Island.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) won election to a full term, but not at the margin some had hoped.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), won election for a full term, though not with the margin some had hoped.

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Hochul On The Hustings

Few people have been elected since Election Day. Democrats As much intra-party criticism has been directed at Gov., they have also been the targets of criticism. Hochul.

Hochul beat Zeldin almost by a hair in her race to win. six percentage points. This margin isn’t something to brag about in a country that President Joe Biden governed. more than 23 points.

Many Democrats believe that Zeldin’s spirited campaign ― and Hochul’s struggle to overcome it ― hurt Democratic candidates for U.S. Congress and the state legislature, especially in the New York Urban suburbs

“Even if she had won by more than 10, there would probably be a few more seats that we would have won,” According to the Democratic consultant.

In the private call with supporters, Maloney complained that Hochul’s sluggish numbers in his district were impossible to overcome.

“We could have played through the map, as enacted, if the governor had not lost by 10 to 20 points in the suburban counties,” Maloney claimed. “That’s brutal.”

Maloney actually outperformed Hochul, both in Rockland, Putnam, and Rockland counties. The entirety of which are located in Maloney’s district. Hochul lost Putnam by just under 21 percentage points and Rockland by 12 points, compared with Maloney’s defeat margins of about 18 percentage points and under 10 points in Putnam and Rockland, respectively.

In both counties, more than twice as many voters left the congressional race blank than left the governor’s race blank, suggesting that some voters showed up specifically to vote for Zeldin and had neutral views of the congressional contest.

Hochul’s team attributes this performance to Zeldin’s effective fearmongering about crime in New York Manhattan-based reactionary media outlets Fox News and The Associated Press amplify the city New York Post.

The Republican billionaire also gave him a vital boost by spending over $11 million on super PACs Ronald Lauder funded. That money meant that in the final week of the campaign, Zeldin and his allied groups were able to jointly broadcast more TV ads than Hochul and her allies in five of the state’s largest media markets, according to data provided by Hochul’s campaign.

“After just over a year in office, Governor Hochul earned more than three million votes thanks to her work criss-crossing the state and building a broad coalition of elected officials, organized labor, faith leaders, and progressive groups who worked tirelessly to energize voters and elect Democrats up and down the ticket,” Jerrel Harvey was the communications director for Hochul’s campaign.

Some critics think Hochul did not make adequate use of New York Lieutenant Gov. Antonio Delgado (D), left, in her campaign for a full term.
Hochul is criticized by some for not making adequate use of it. New York Lieutenant Gov. Antonio Delgado (D), in her campaign for a full-term.

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

But Democrats Hochul and Lieutenant Governor were publicly criticized. Antonio Delgado wasn’t present enough. These critics also contend that Hochul, and the New York State Democratic Committee ― the party’s main convening arm in the Empire State ― lacked a robust field operation.

“Simply put, the Governor’s campaign was completely absent. No public visit to Rockland County from the Gov. or LG,” New York State Sen. Elijah Reichlin–Melnick (D), who lost in his re-election campaign, stated in a Twitter thread lambasting Hochul. “No high profile surrogates in the county. No organizers on the ground. No field team knocking doors.”

New York Andrew Gounardes, a state senator from Brooklyn, was reelected. told The City That Democrats’ statewide coordinated campaign had a more organized strategy and field operation in 2018 than it had this cycle.

“Where the hell was the state party?” He asked him the next day. “We were literally left to die on a vine here. And it’s deeply frustrating that our party didn’t even put up a fight.”

Hochul’s team said she appeared at more than 70 in-person events across the state after Labor Day. The campaign’s total field budget was about $6 million, of which $3.1 million went solely toward a paid canvassing program.

Hochul’s Democratic detractors nonetheless feel that she was slow to fight back against Zeldin’s focus on crime. Zeldin attributed an increase in crime to the 2019 law restricting cash bail. Hochul approved this year a second revision of the law that would allow judges more discretion in detaining criminal defendants while they await trial. Zeldin, however, promised to repeal the law and take other drastic steps to curb crime such as firing the progressive Manhattan district attorney.

“The governor’s campaign had the infrastructure and statewide support to deliver a clear message that resonated with voters on key issues like protecting our rights, public safety and democracy.”

Hochul campaign communications director Jerrel Harvey

These critics also note that Hochul’s gaffes gave right-wing media outlets material to exploit that more disciplined candidates might have avoided. The Hochul said to reporters, “Zeldin!” “has been hyperventilating” Concerning crime, which is the New York Post treated She is dismissive of the ordinary as evidence New Yorkers’ legitimate concerns.

Hochul was rated lower than the generic Democratic in internal congressional election polls Party According to multiple Democratic consultants, ballot is among the most likely voters. New York The candidates for the Congress

“When you’re running for executive office ― governor or mayor ― you’re present in people’s lives in a way that they expect things that relate to their day-to-day,” The consultant stated. “I don’t think there was ever a rationale articulated by Kathy Hochul in terms of why Kathy Hochul wants to be governor. I don’t know what she wants to do in the next four years.”

“Zeldin had a real premise he was running on, that whether real or exaggerated, people felt was really relevant to their lives,” The consultant was also added.

Hochul’s campaign maintains that it did have a positive message, noting that eight of the 15 TV ads she ran during the primary and the general election were strictly positive in tone.

“The governor’s campaign had the infrastructure and statewide support to deliver a clear message that resonated with voters on key issues like protecting our rights, public safety and democracy,” Harvey stated. “New Yorkers met the moment, turned out, and elected Governor Hochul to a full term and she looks forward to four more years of delivering results to families across the state.”

Hochul’s campaign said that nine out of its 15 TV ads address the issue of public safety.

But most of those ads focus on Hochul’s efforts to enact tougher gun regulations. Of the 12 TV ads that Hochul aired in the general election ― from early September through Election Day ― The Sunday Review could find just three ads that provide a traditional case for Hochul’s credentials as a crime fighter.

The First, a Spanish-language ad in early September featuring a retired police detective touting Hochul’s commitment to combatting crime.

In late October, polls showed Zeldin within striking range of Hochul’s release. Hochul then released a TV spot A narration in which Hochul promises to provide a “living wage” “safe walk home at night, a subway ride free of fear.” The ad cites Hochul’s passage of legislation to beef up public safety, including by revising the 2019 bail law.

Hochul talks to the camera at the end of the spot. “You deserve to feel safe,” She says. “And as your governor, I won’t stop working until you do.”

A final TV ad contrasts Hochul’s record on gun control with Zeldin’s, again touts her work revising the bail law, and concludes with the same promise that Hochul “won’t stop working” until New Yorkers “feel safe.”

Some Democrats I believe she should’ve used stronger language.

Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania Attorney General (D), won his race to be governor of Pennsylvania with a larger margin than Hochul’s. He promised to fight for Pennsylvanians. “be safe,” Also available: “feel safe,” He used that to refer to feeling safe around law enforcement.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) made crime central to his campaign.
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R. made crime central to the campaign.

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Getty Images

What’s more, none of Hochul’s general-election TV ads feature Delgado, who is Black and represented the Hudson Valley in Congress.

“I don’t know if anybody knew that Antonio Delgado was running,” One of the most prominent New York Democrat who requested anonymity in order not to be identified as Hochul.

Zeldin also assembled a group of people with diverse racial backgrounds. New York Democrats To explain on camera They voted for him because of his crimes.

In another TV adZeldin promised that he would not do it again. “could not” Act to limit abortion rights New York. New York Carl Heastie (D), the speaker of the state Assembly, is a Hochul-supporter. Heastie was confirmed in a Twitter thread While it was obvious that attempts to pass anti-abortion legislation will fail, Zeldin could still use his budget control to limit the practice.

“Zeldin controlled the narrative, controlled the pace of the race, and just sunk [every Democratic candidate] who wasn’t in areas with a lot of Democratic voters,” A second Democratic strategist, who advised on the matter, said: New York Representative candidate, and requested anonymity to protect professional interests.

Hochul now faces the pressure to fire Jay Jacobs – a longtime Cuomo ally who currently chairs the New York State Democratic Committee.

“We did very well,” Hochul spoke to reporters Nov. 10, just two days after the election. “He did a great job as chair and will continue to be chair.”

But, it’s still progressive Democrats, in particular, are likely to continue to push for Jacobs’ ouster.

After Jacobs declined to endorse Democratic nominee India Walton’s bid for mayor of Buffalo in 2021, he rankled the left By comparing his decision not to support her after her primary victory to the dilemma he would encounter if David Duke (ex-Ku Klux Klan leader) won a Democratic primaries. (Walton was a Black woman who lost a write-in election to Mayor Byron Brown.

“It’s more than just the fact that he is far to the right of rank-and-file New York Democrats, he failed to properly support Kathy Hochul’s campaign and he is directly tied to the Cuomo status quo that resulted in disastrous congressional maps that will likely cost the Democratic House majority,” Bill Neidhardt, a well-known progressive consultant who works with the likes of the New York Families that Work Party. “Jay Jacobs has so fundamentally dropped the ball in New York that he has cost national Democrats a majority.”

Igor Bobic contributed reporting.