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Every once in a while, a set of political arrangements that seemed set in stone simply collapses. The wall dividing Berlin suddenly came down. The Soviet Union fell apart. Syria succumbed to civil war. And today Sheldon Silver, who has been Speaker of the Assembly in New York for twenty years, was arrested on corruption charges.
For as along as I can remember, the state of New York has been run by a condominium. The assembly belonged to the Democrats, and the only assemblyman who mattered was the Speaker. Everyone else was a time-server. He made all of the decisions. The senate belonged to the Republicans, and the only figure who mattered was the Majority Leader. He made all of the decisions.