'Extinction Level Event' Looms as the New York Redistricting Map Forces High Profile Democrats to Face Each Other in Primaries

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Redistricting continues to provide an endless source of schadenfreude for conservatives and Republicans, as a raw attempt at a power grab by Democrats has blown up state by state. In Florida, a gutless state legislature was forced by Governor Ron DeSantis to take action (Ron DeSantis and the Constitution Score a Big Win Over the Activist Left and Rule by Random Judge), boosting the number of solidly Republican seats from 11 to 17. Kansas turned the only seat held by a Democrat from a D+4 district to an R+3. But the most excitement has been caused in New York, where a bare-knuckle gerrymander by the Democrats has blown up.

The original proposal by New York Democrats created a map with 19 Democrat seats, four GOP seats, and three “competitive” seats. However, the state court struck it down and, barring a deus ex machina event at tomorrow’s hearing, imposed a map of 16 Democrats, five Republicans, and five competitive seats. My colleague Bonchie has covered the details in Court-Ordered New York Redistricting Map Is Lights out for Democrats.

As a result of the new map, a probably fatal blow has been dealt to the political careers of several Democrats. The New York Times says Democrats view this map as an “extinction-level event.” The most amusing aspect of the new map is the number of big-name Democrats pitted against one another.

Both Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clark suddenly find themselves living in the same congressional district. Fortunately, there is an open seat in a newly created, heavily Democratic district nearby that I’m sure one of them will take. Carolyn  Maloney and Fat Jerry Nadler also live in the same district. They seem bound for a primary fight. Popcorn, gotta buy popcorn.

The real fun starts with the saga of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney and freshman Democrat Mondaire Jones in the court’s version of NY-17. Maloney had represented an even R vs. D district, and Jones won in a D+17 district. Now both find themselves living in a D+7 district. There is an open D+2 seat nearby, but Moloney has decided to challenge Jones in a primary. He didn’t merely decide; he announced his decision on Twitter before talking to Jones.

Jones hasn’t made his decision public yet, but he has three options. He can bow out of the race; he can accept the challenge and take on a member of the Democrat hierarchy, or he can challenge freshman colleague Jamal Bowman in a D+40 district. To make matters even more amusing, Maloney is White. Jones and Bowman are both Black and progressive. Jones has the added cachet of being gay.

It wouldn’t be a day ending in “y” unless somebody got called racist.

On the merits, though, Maloney acts like a little b**ch and not a leader. There is an open D+2 seat nearby that he could easily win. The rational explanation is that he’s tired of the grind of campaigning in a competitive district every year. There is also the tingling of his survival instinct. Running in a competitive seat would not be a big deal in an ordinary year. But 2022 looks to be anything but a normal election year. He’s particularly leery of running in a D+2 district in what is shaping up to be a wave year. He’s a member of the establishment, and he thinks he deserves a safe seat.

I don’t really care who wins this battle so long as it causes injuries, hard feelings, and long-standing grudges and refusals to work together.