Like many others, I’ve often thought about leaving New York due to deteriorating conditions that have steadily gotten worse following a long, continuous period of decline. Indeed I even wrote a monograph called The Decline of the Empire State when I was the founding director of the NY State Republican Policy Committee, and generated some programs to reduce the burden on taxpayers the last time we held any power here. But that was over two decades ago, and for most of this century things have steadily gotten worse. Taxes are high, crime is rising, the quality of life is declining, and we have been hemorrhaging people for decades, mitigated slightly only by immigration. One can only wonder if there is any future left here now?
The decline is heartbreaking because it didn’t have to happen, and would not have happened had there been better stewardship, but the corrupt mismanagement and political rot runs so deep that the chances of ever reversing the trend grow dimmer. When I wrote of the decline in the past I was looking at the relative position of the state. Once it truly was the Empire State, the biggest and most dynamic in the nation. When I was a kid it seemed as though everything was here, including the headquarters of most large corporations, many now long gone. New York was first in everything. But in the 1960s California passed it by, then Texas, and now even Florida has a greater population. But it is telling that the budget of the latter, despite a larger, growing population is half that of New York.
Despite the abysmal degree of chronic incompetence and corruption, for the longest time I have been reluctant to seriously consider leaving places I know so intimately and such great detail, and if you’re from the city, everywhere else seems slow. So I think this has always been my home and I should stay and fight for it. While Democrats have a big advantage in party registration in New York, it is in no way as “progressive” as many people think. It has little of the far out lunacy of places on the west coast, and there is still a significant segment of conservative Democrats who stay registered as such so as to be able to vote in the primary elections, especially in New York City.
But if Lee Zeldin can’t win this election then no Republican ever can, and we are doomed to unfettered one party rule. There will be no check on the irresponsible legislature, no barrier to the ever-expanding state with ever diminishing resources as the most productive taxpayers and enterprises accelerate their departure. This will inevitably lead to insolvency- and yes, New York State can and will go bankrupt, crime will continue to increase, and day to day life will become ever more miserable for most people remaining here.
That is why the upcoming election is the most critical in the history of the state. It is our last chance to stop, and even reverse the decline, and truly begin a new era of renewal and reform. Many Democrats know this as well, but it is going to require that they abandon the party regime responsible for the awful situation we find ourselves in, and vote this time around for Lee Zeldin. He is appealing on so many levels, facing a weak candidate and unusually favorable prospects based on objective conditions. He is an outstanding candidate who is poised to save our state from the disastrous prospects awaiting us.
Things don't have to be the way they are now. We can become so much better. New York is a vast and beautiful state with abundant resources and great historic places, and extraordinary, untapped potential. With competent leadership it would still have a good chance of recovery and renewal. Electing Lee Zeldin as Governor is the only way forward now, and voting this Election Day is critical for all our futures.