Republican Mike Lawler, left, seen with his wife Doina and...

Republican Mike Lawler, left, seen with his wife Doina and daughter Julianna, on Wednesday, defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in the Hudson Valley. Credit: AP/Mary Altaffer

With a few races still to be decided across New York State, we pick through the detritus of Tuesday’s elections for lessons about the future. Perhaps, more importantly, we seek answers to the more urgent question: Where are we as a nation today? 

The expected red tsunami didn’t wash ashore in the end, but there are plenty of positive indicators for Republicans in New York, especially. 

Rep. Lee Zeldin scored an impressive 47% of the vote statewide, and he won more than 30% of the New York City vote. No Republican has done either in more than 20 years.

Republicans picked up enough State Senate seats to break the Democrats’ supermajority in Albany, and several Republican Assembly candidates picked up seats held by veteran Democratic incumbents. Republicans also won several congressional seats, including Assemb. Mike Lawler, who defeated Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in a super-high-profile Hudson Valley showdown (Lawler is a client). It was the first time in 42 years that a DCCC chairman lost a reelection bid. 

New Yorkers clearly benefited from court-ordered redistricting lines that spurred healthy competitive races across the state. It gave us a snapshot for how elections can look when partisan gerrymandering is removed from the equation. The nation could use lots more of these.

Nationally, things didn’t go quite so well for Republicans. As of this writing, it looks like the GOP will pull off a narrow majority in the House of Representatives and Democrats will likely retain the Senate.

Democrats, it turned out, had a very good night nationwide, particularly when one considers the dire predictions so many pundits leaned into in the final weeks of the midterms. They have reason to be happy about the New York results as well. Gov. Kathy Hochul became the first female elected governor in state history, and Democrats held many more State Senate seats than had been predicted.

But Zeldin’s performance, particularly in the five boroughs, should put Democrats on notice that crime and the high cost of living in New York are issues resonating with voters statewide. And slowly but surely, Republicans are picking up vote share in the five boroughs with the help of new GOP voters in the Orthodox Jewish, Asian, Latino, and African American communities. If Republicans can expand that share of the city vote by just a couple of points in future statewide elections, New York could become a very different state in years to come. It’s a tall order, but the direction arrows are clearly marked for future Republican efforts. 

Now, the elephant in the room question: What did Tuesday mean for Donald Trump?

The answer, as with all things Trump, is that the jury is still out. But Trump had an unmistakably awful night, with his preferred candidates getting trounced across the nation. Those losses didn’t go unnoticed internally, and there are louder and louder grumblings within the party that Trump has become more of a liability than an asset. (Some of us have been arguing that for an awfully long time.) That said, grumblings have never mattered a lick to Trump, and it's doubtful they will change his plans about reelection. 

Tuesday was a heck of an election, but the nation remains where it was on Monday — significantly divided. But look at the bright side: Elections took place across the country mostly without hiccups or controversy. That alone is a wonderful thing.

Opinions expressed by William F. B. O’Reilly, a consultant to Republicans, are his own. 


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