Sunday’s New York Times contains a solicitous, attentive look at a backward, benighted place — North Carolina, where one political party has deviously “seized control” of the state legislature. The Republicans of North Carolina, says the Times, have not only “run quickly through the conservative policy checklist,” they have gone so far as to “skew the balance of power in the state in their favor.”
Imagine — a local political party so dominant that it can enact its agenda at will and even “skew the balance of power in its favor.” Actually, the Times needn’t have ventured so far south to find such tyranny, as New York City itself is a virtual one-party state and will likely remain so for at least the near future.
For instance, the City Council has 48 Democrats and three Republicans, who mostly sit quietly and attend to their constituents’ non-ideological concerns: street repaving tends to top the New York City Republicans’ agenda. All three citywide elected officials — Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James — are passionate progressive Democrats who continually try to top each other’s radical proposals. Public Advocate James wants the Department of Education to appoint a “chief diversity officer?” Well, Comptroller Stringer will launch a task force to funnel city money to companies with greater racial diversity on their boards — so take that.
This is an election year in the city, but you are forgiven if you hadn’t noticed. The citywide elected officials are each running for re-election and are virtually unopposed. Not that no one else is running: Mayor de Blasio has about a dozen primary challengers, but none is a serious candidate. Ditto for the comptroller, the public advocate, the borough presidents and the City Council. It is virtually a maxim in New York that incumbents get re-elected.
Partly this is because only Democrats win, so the real race is for the Democratic…