The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
1/4 New York Legislators Picked by Party Hacks, Not Voters

New York State held several special elections this week, and the New York Observer took the occasion to point out that one in four members of New York’s state legislature have been elected through these special channels, ushered into an election by closed-doors party selection instead of through a primary process.

New York’s machine politics thrives on corruption and it’s no surprise that special elections prevail in a state where political scandals are a dime a dozen. But it’s worth noting, as the state legislature inches closer to fiscal-self destruction, with nothing but a determined governor to keep them from the abyss, that a quarter of them were never even elected by standard democratic procedures.

New York remains one of the worst governed, worst managed states in the union. Even New Jersey is getting top marks these days for reform and attacks on corruption; New York is just wallowing in its traditional world of back scratching, favor swapping and lazy incompetence. Over-regulation,rampant government featherbedding and cost inflation, poor laws and bad administration take a heavy toll and have left most of upstate New York an economic basket case. New York State is badly in need of a soup to nuts overhaul, starting with the state’s cumbersome and poorly conceived constitution.

Published on March 24, 2012 12:58 pm
  • Anthony

    New York remains…and thrives on machine politics and corruption – we could easily replace the Empire state with the state of Lincoln (Illinois)- insider governance has taken heavy toll on state.

  • Jim.

    Professor Mead:

    Would you be willing to write a new Constitution for the great state of New York?