There’s a lot to be said for not having a record.
For a start, you can lie about who you are and what you will do when you get elected. You can even target your lies to different audiences – like pretending you have a war record and appealing to suburban voters with your anti-tax broadcast advertising, while using your grassroots to find and target liberals with a message especially for them. That’s how the Democrats did it.
Republicans… they did it ass backwards. They invested millions to tell their grassroots to go to hell and then broadcast an explicitly liberal message to those cultural leftists who hate the word “Republican” the most. And they did it in the midst of the most divisive national election since 2010 – on par with 1994. They invested even more millions in turning out the very people who loath them – all the while doing their utmost to convince their base that they think of them the same way they think of dog excrement. See, in this way you lose everybody!
New Jersey Republicans desperately needed a unified message to take to war in 2018. After Donald Trump and the GOP leadership in Congress screwed them by passing a tax package that arguably raised property taxes in the state with the worst property tax problem in the nation – somebody should have got everyone in a room to figure out a message. Hey, it’s a small state so if you don’t want to come off like a cacophony, you’d better all be singing the same tune.
Instead, half argued that screwing with the state’s property tax deduction was a net positive, half said it was a net negative – and the Democrats, they just loved it! For once, they got to be the party defending the beleaguered property taxpayers of New Jersey. What passes for the media in New Jersey backed them up on it. And more importantly, so did the instincts of the average property taxpayer. Donald Trump or no Donald Trump, when it comes to trusting the promises politicians make about property taxes, they don’t. Period. Somebody should have remembered that.
After handing the property tax issue to the Democrats – the issue that has consistently tested as the top concern of New Jersey voters for at least the last decade – it is amazing the NJGOP did as well as it did on November 6th. A large part of the electorate already hated Donald Trump (and therefore, the Republican brand) and wanted to show it – but by miscalculation, the remainder were granted permission to hate the GOP too… over property taxes! Gagged and gagged again.
But it wouldn’t have worked so well if the Democrats hadn’t been such clean slates. Just think of it. All those Democrats in the Legislature with all those perfect liberal voting records… and the only guy who is acceptable to the electorate to move up and go to Congress is the state’s most conservative Democrat legislator… the one who is endorsed by the NRA. The one who voted against same-sex marriage. Heck, Jeff Van Drew is more Pro-Life than many Republicans and has opposed both RGGI and increasing the minimum wage! But he moved up, and all the rest stayed behind.
Meanwhile, DC residents Andy Kim and Tom Malinowski simply move into the state, take out six month leases on rental properties, run and win. And the silly fools who spent years as Democrat committee members, in local governments, running for Freeholder and then for Assembly… they just suck ass. You can’t get elected because your liberal records won’t let you.
Where did Mikie Sherrill come from? The “Navy pilot – Prosecutor – Mom” fell out of the sky and landed in Congress. In the new politics of congressional elections, she’s one of the Houyhnhnm. Back in the trenches, the time-serving yahoos can only snort and envy her advancement.
Yesterday, Rutgers put out a new poll showing that – once again – taxes top the state’s issues grid (with a sizeable number volunteering “property” taxes as their big concern). The Eagleton poll noted that people are generally happy with the state’s economy and, as it is part of a generally buoyant national economy, that shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it does appear Democrat Governor Murphy is taking more credit than the state Republican leaders. One “research professor” drew attention to “a new phenomenon” of voters not having quite formed an opinion of Phil Murphy, after nearly a year in office. It’s like they don’t know him and it’s taking some time. (Maybe they will now… after yesterday’s snow job?)
A phenomenon is it? Why is anyone surprised, given the state of political news coverage in New Jersey? Just ask anyone on press row… oh, that’s right, it’s not there anymore. If it’s a national election like we just had, the coverage will be driven by national outlets. If not… good luck. And that is something our campaign gurus are going to need to consider when planning what used to be called “earned media” campaigns.
Meanwhile, back at madness central, a couple of juvenile delinquent Democrat Assemblywomen invited “pro-death penalty for American military members” activist Jane Fonda to place a feather in her patouee and lead a conga line from the Speaker’s office to the Governor’s den. Not a word yet from Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill about the appropriateness of Fonda’s appearance – or from Andy Kim or Tom Malinowski, for that matter. But hey Assemblywomen, keep it up. If that’s the fashion, keep it up and you’ll soon find yourself in… Congress? NOT!