Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections. It also discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good.
New York Republicans are about to get their best chance in years to take back state government: A five-alarm scandal that’s left Gov. Andrew Cuomo facing an impeachment inquiry and multiple investigations.
But 15 years after the departure of George Pataki — a moderate and the only Republican to win a New York governor’s race in five decades — the GOP is bucking conventional wisdom that suggests a center-right gubernatorial candidate is their best, perhaps only, shot at success.
Party leaders from across the state, looking to avoid a potential civil war, have been rallying around Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island — a Donald Trump-loving conservative who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and has fought ardently to oppose abortion rights. Other contenders look much the same and include upstate firebrand Rep. Elise Stefanik and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew Giuliani. Both are also backers of Trump, who lost the state by some 2 million votes last year.
The dynamics are not the result of choice or strategy but rather environment. The GOP is nearly decimated across the state, and with a polarized landscape on the heels of a Trump presidency, it might be impossible to find a GOP candidate who can appeal to center-right Democrats and independents — especially one who has the kind of financing and zeal Zeldin does.
The next George Pataki simply doesn't exist.