The Divide New York Debate Returns

I am sick to death of an ‘upstate’ myth in New York. There in NYC, this supposed ‘upstate’ is Albany.

Then their is ‘the rest of us’.

I reside near Rochester, home of the defined Xerox,B&L, Delco, Rochester Products, Kodak…all manufacturing jobs. This is WESTERN NEW YORK!


Imagine a map, if you will, that shows a prosperous and powerful city that runs everything and largely rural northern region that is, well, kind of resentful of that.

A world-shaking split occurs, leading to a civil war with dragons and — I’m sorry, that’s the plot of Game of Thrones.

But you don’t have to be familiar with Westeros to know that New York’s fault lines are split in deeply similar ways.

A push to divide the state is brewing once again, a month and a half after Democrats gained full control of the state Senate for the first time in 10 years. In today’s political parlance, we’d probably call it #upexit if such a push were serious enough.

Sen. Robert Ortt, a Republican from western New York, called for a constitutional amendment that would create something akin to an electoral college for electing the governor and lieutenant governor, giving each county three representational votes of a statewide total. The amendment is a nod to Republicans who noted that GOP nominee Marc Molinaro won more upstate counties than Gov. Andrew Cuomo did (the governor won upstate counties with large cities in them, like Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse).

The push to divide the state in large part stems not just from the political differences, but the disparity in wealth and power that’s transferred almost entirely to the metropolitan area in the last half century.

Polarization is nothing new, of course, but it’s become far more intense  with each election. And New York is certainly no exception.

The country has organized itself into a collection of blue and red states and New York is now one of the bluest of them. Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans, and the GOP voters who are left tend to be more conservative than their Rockefeller Republican predecessors.

Whether it’s the issue of gun control, the DREAM Act, taxes and spending, parity in school or infrastructure funding, or even the choice for governor, the deepening divide – cultural, economic and political – between upstate and downstate has grown more pronounced every year,” Jordan said this week. “Many are asking whether both regions would be better off as separate entities.”

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