NY-3 Tells Us Nothing & Everything About America’s Political Transition.

Gavin M. Wax
4 min readFeb 26, 2024


There’s no shortage of hot takes on the Democrats’ easy eight-point victory in the New York-3rd special election, which brought them one seat closer to taking the House in November. It was a result that should have been thoroughly expected on both sides. Like in many battleground Senate and House races in the 2022 midterms, the Democrats’ fundraising and spending advantages became apparent. In the case of the New York 3rd, Democrats outspent Republicans nearly 2 to 1. Republicans started at a resource disadvantage from the start. They shouldn’t have expected to win a race against Tom Suozzi, an effective incumbent who ran as a conservative Democrat on core issues like immigration.

The results tell us little about what to expect in November, although the mainstream media will endlessly do it anyway. Special elections are a particular type of election in which it’s tough to predict turnout on each side. The electorate that participates in a general election differs from the electorate that shows up in a midterm. And just as midterm elections can have little predictive value for the next presidential election, special elections have even less predictive value.


The responses to the NY-3 special election tell us everything about America’s political transition and how little we still understand about what’s happening. That lack of understanding is partly why we wrote The Emerging Populist Majority, which discusses America’s class realignment through the two parties. Twenty years ago, the adage was that Republicans were more likely to show up to vote in high numbers, which made up for the fact that there were fewer registered Republicans than Democrats. Today, as grassroots conservative organizer Scott Presler frequently documents, Republicans continue to close party registration gaps in nearly every state. But there is an important caveat. Republicans are gaining more voters who are also newer and vote more infrequently. The Democrats are gaining fewer voters, but the voters they gain reliably show up for every election.


This is the much-talked-about but poorly understood flight of professional, college-educated voters from the Republicans to the Democrats. Still, it is far outmatched by the much larger flight of working-class and non-college-educated voters from the Democrats to the Trump-era Republicans. In NY-3, Republican candidate Mazi Pilip was like George Santos, on the one hand, embracing Democratic notions of identity politics.

But unlike Santos, Pilip distanced herself from the Trumpian populist brand ascendant in the Republican Party. On the other hand, Tom Suozzi, with much higher name recognition, often used the zeitgeist of the modern Democratic Party — progressivism — as a punching bag. Suozzi ran as a conservative Democrat, especially on issues like immigration and national identity. Remarkably, a fading Republican Party establishment, which will never again preside over a national electoral victory, blamed populist and Trump-aligned organizations that ran purely on volunteer time and energy. But President Trump later identified exactly why parts of the would-be GOP electorate were less than enthusiastic — respect.

The Republican establishment is outnumbered at least four to one in terms of what direction the party should take. Yet, it still demands calling the shots and routinely blames others for its mistakes. The establishments of both parties do not think they need to change because they are wealthy and comfortable. For decades, congressional leaders of both parties pursued a path of wars, open borders, outsourcing, and industrial decline. Republican grassroots voters, on the other hand, are more likely to be feeling the effects of the cost of living crisis and unrestrained mass illegal immigration, making them more likely to demand change from Washington, D.C.

Rather than become introspective, the establishment will lash out like a cornered medieval monarch about the disloyal mouth breathers — the grassroots — and their lack of loyalty to “the party” or “the system.”

But the writing’s on the wall.


Americans of all political stripes have historically low trust and confidence in our institutions. That confidence will not increase with more of the same from a doubling-down establishment. Gone are the days when a Democrat could abstractly run and trick voters with slogans of “hope” and “change.” Gone are the days when Republicans could act like supporting the wars and supporting the troops are the same.

In one of the more accurate polls of the special election, Siena had NY-3 as a four-point race with eventual winner Suozzi in the lead. Yet it showed Trump up among even likely special election voters by 5 points. That gap of 9 points better than the downstream result could grow even more expansive by the fall.

With a better candidate that embraces an America First populist message, Republicans could very well take back the NY-3 seat, giving the narrowing Republican House majority some much-needed cushion.

Originally published at https://thenationalpulse.com.



Gavin M. Wax

Gavin M. Wax is a New York-based conservative political activist, commentator, columnist, operative, and strategist. You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax