Editorial: Midterm elections brought record turnout

11/11/2018 5:58 AM |

Tuesday’s elections on Long Island brought large numbers of voters to the polls, with long lines and wait times. In eastern Long Island’s 1st Congressional District, turnout reached nearly 250,000 — approximately 78,000 more votes were cast than in the midterm election four years ago.

The Democrat in the race, Perry Gershon, received more votes than the last member of his party to hold that position, Tim Bishop, ever posted in a midterm. Despite all those additional voters, however, Mr. Gershon lost to Republican incumbent Lee Zeldin, who collected just under 53 percent of the vote to Mr. Gershon’s 46 percent.

But Mr. Zeldin now faces an uncertain legislative future as he enters his third term, as Democrats nationwide gained more than two dozen seats in the House of Representatives to become the majority party. No longer do the Republicans control all three branches of government, which will usher in the kinds of checks and balances envisioned by the founders of our democracy. It was James Madison who said that one-party control of all branches was “the very definition of tyranny.”

The Democratic takeover of the House was seen by many as a sharp rebuke to President Donald Trump. This new majority is sure to turn up the heat on the president in such areas as subpoenaing the president’s tax returns and reinvigorating their own investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Meanwhile, the special counsel’s probe, which has already produced more than two dozen indictments and six guilty pleas, proceeds toward some kind of conclusion.

Standing before his supporters Tuesday night, Mr. Zeldin tipped his hat to the new political map in Washington, saying he wants to find common ground and ways to unite the country. A bipartisan message is new for Mr. Zeldin, who has been among the Congress’ most vocal supporters of President Trump.

In his speech, he said: “Whether your candidate comes in first or second, whether I come in first or second, it’s important that we are all coming together after the election. We have some important work ahead, so let’s get it done.”

In New York, the Democrats won control of the state Senate from a Republican party that has held the Senate for a half-century. This means the Democrats now control the Assembly, the Senate and the governorship, for which two-term incumbent Andrew Cuomo easily won re-election over Republican Marc Molinaro.

Republican Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo won re-election Tuesday night, as did Republican state Sen. Ken LaValle. In an interview in October, Mr. Palumbo said that, with redistricting slated for 2020, it would be very difficult to turn a Democratic Senate back to Republican in future elections.

For both Mr. Palumbo and Mr. LaValle, the coming years in Albany may be marked by fewer legislative successes for their districts.

Photo caption: North Fork Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo celebrates his win Tuesday night. (Credit: John Griffin)

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