Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Wendy Long, New York’s Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate:
Now, to be fair, Wendy Long is not actually a serious candidate for political office. Chuck Schumer, the high-ranking incumbent, is unbeatable in New York, and the Republicans probably didn’t spend much time worrying about who would fall on the sword by opposing him (at the moment, Nate Silver gives Schumer a 99.9 percent chance to win). Still, even if she’s a dead candidate walking, I think it’s worth investigating Long’s implications here.
First, as far as I can tell, she’s trying to blame Chuck Schumer for New York’s loss of electoral votes since 1980. I’m assuming Long knows that electoral votes are based on state population (this might be giving her too much credit), in which case we can say that she’s blaming Schumer for driving people out of the state.
Let’s start there: In 1980, New York state’s population was 17.56 million. Today, it’s 19.75 million. So if we’re giving Chuck Schumer credit for population fluctuations, we actually have to credit him for attracting two million people to the state.
But, as you might have guessed, blaming or crediting one senator for population growth or decline is insanely stupid. The actual reason New York’s electoral votes have decreased is because other parts of the country—notably the southeast and the west coast—have grown at a faster rate than the northeast and the rust belt/midwest states. Those are inevitable demographic changes that have nothing to do with the work of one senator. Along with New York, here a few other states that have lost electoral votes since 1980: Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin. You’ll notice a common thread.
Unfortunately, Long did not elaborate on her plan to reverse the southward/westward migration and get all those people to come back to New York, but I’m sure it’s as brilliant as her tweet. On the other hand, it seems like she may accomplish her goal of making New York great again…in approximately one week, when she’s no longer a contender for one of the state’s highest offices.