The crack of a federal judge's gavel had not even stopped reverberating when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was claiming a victory in the court's decision Monday to impose a reapportionment plan on New York state.
As many people in our area had hoped, the three-judge panel approved congressional district lines drawn by U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann that include Chautauqua County in a Southern Tier district. Come Jan. 1, we no longer will be included in the Buffalo and southern Erie County congressional district.
Good. We will be back where we should have been the past 10 years.
After the federal court action, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee immediately sent out a press release declaring that ''no Republican is safe as Democrats poised for gains across New York.''
The committee used local vote totals from four years ago to show that President Obama would have won or tied 25 of 27 of the new districts in New York. And based on that, Democrats sent an email declaring the new congressional map ensures Democrats in New York are poised for gains in the House of Representatives in this fall's election.
But then there is the late, great liberal Democrat Tip O'Neill's truism: All politics is local.
Will voting trends for the House of Representatives this year follow the pattern of votes that were cast in the presidential election four years ago?
It seems more likely New Yorkers will take the measure of local congressional candidates this year, regardless of how they might have voted for president four years ago. We cannot help but think, too, that voters are going to be impatient about the dysfunction in Washington and in many state capitals. Just look at New York - elected state officials could not even fulfill their responsibility to reapportion the state's congressional districts to be in line with the 2010 census. Instead the decision was thrown to the courts. Although we like what Judge Mann did with Chautauqua County, we should not forget the job was supposed to be done by people who are directly answerable to the people.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee might be right about gains in New York. But we think it is far more likely that the electorate is restive, and there is no predicting in these warm days of March what will happen come November.