From the Morning Memo:

When he was sworn in for the first time in 2011, Andrew Cuomo faced an entrenched Democratic speaker in the state Assembly and a newly invigorated Republican majority bolstered by a rump caucus of Democrats in the state Senate.

At the time, there were political rewards of working across the aisle, finding mutual areas of interest and compromising.

Cuomo would proudly point to the accomplishments he’s notched in eight years compared to the dysfunction of Washington, which also operated under divided government, but very different rules.

But over the course of two terms in office, things shifted amid several black swan-style events.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly were convicted of fraud and bribery.

The glue holding the fragile alliance between the Independent Democratic Conference and the Senate GOP dried up after the election of President Donald Trump, which supercharged liberal activists in New York.

From that new activism rose new candidates challenging how Albany worked. The state Capitol can be a static place, where change is a veneer and actual, real change shunned in favor of the status quo.

So for Cuomo, the third term is being seen as something of a reset: Democrats now have working (and large) majorities in both the Assembly and Senate. Many of them are Democrats who personally do not like him and are leading committees that are geared toward investigating his branch of government.

At the same time, the conventional wisdom goes, the new Democrats in office will push Cuomo for items he doesn’t want, like more spending for direct school aid and single-payer health care.

And yet despite this, Cuomo continues to hold the lion’s share of power in state government.

Consider the office of governor, an inherently powerful position to begin with, given the ability to release the budget as proposed in full. Cuomo has added bit of leverage over the next several years, with phased-in legislative pay increases linked to the passage of budgets by April 1, the start of the state’s fiscal year.

It’s also no mistake Cuomo continues to point to his vote total in the November general election in which he defeated Republican Marc Molinaro. To his liberal detractors, he sounds Trump-like. But to him, it’s a reminder that he has a statewide mandate for the next four years.

Add to this the governor’s political alliances remain strong: Labor in both the private and public sector is on his side. The state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, consists entirely of his nominees due to retirements that occurred during his time in office.

Cuomo can set the agenda. Cuomo has the leverage.

Single party rule can be complicated and troublesome. The most recent example was the ill-fated 2009-10 legislative session, in which Democrats held a narrow majority in the Senate and tussled with Republicans in an disastrous coup.

That was under different leaders and a different governor, David Paterson, who never was able to fill the power vacuum left by the resignation of Eliot Spitzer and retirement of Joe Bruno.

If anything has been learned in the last eight years, Cuomo is adept at the sheer wielding of power, retreating when he has to, and only coming around on major policies after he’s measured twice and cut once.

The incoming lawmakers may not be impressed with that ability, however. Power is a means to an end, but in a new political era, with the personal costs for women, people of color, the poor and immigrants far more specific and acute, the real focus is on ideology.