In what was probably the only race on the New York City ballot where the choice of NR’s editors had a fighting chance, the Empire State still went the other way, legalizing casino gambling throughout the state by a 56–43 margin. The initiative was a favorite of governor Andrew Cuomo, who pushed it as an economic-development and fiscal-responsibility issue — in theory, casinos are supposed to create revenue for strapped local governments and help revitalize upstate resorts. This was accomplished at least partly through some sleight of hand: Cuomo scored an extremely favorable wording of the question on the ballot today that cited the law’s benefits, of higher education funding and lower property taxes (their inclusion on the ballot was justified by the idea that they are legislatively guaranteed).
There can’t be casinos in New York City for at least seven years, but that will become a possibility eventually — interestingly, voters tonight in East Boston shot down a $1 billion casino project within the city’s limits. The state legalized gaming in 2011 after Governor Deval Patrick made his signature policy issue (these 2016 Democratic presidential prospects sure are full of innovative policy ideas to help the poor and the middle class), but apparently the people who have to live with casinos’ NIMBY effects are less interested than the overall, low-information electorate. Those promises of economic development and fiscal flushes, by the way, don’t usually pan out either, as Kevin Williamson explained in NR last year.
The most important race on Gotham’s ballot, unfortunately, went decidedly the wrong way too: Bill de Blasio, who hasn’t ruled out giving his wife an office in City Hall, can’t get out of bed before 11 in the morning, thinks inequality is crushing the New York City economy, wants to effectively end charter schools, and built much of his campaign on a biased, discredited judge’s ruling that the incredibly successful NYPD has violated minority residents’ rights, will be the next mayor.