Here's the problem. New Jersey is a mess. It is about the worst place to do business in the country. It's bad on job creation, has high unemployment and under-employment. It's the state with the highest property taxes in America and one of the top foreclosure rates. It has a tax regime that literally breaks up families -- while delivering record levels of child poverty. The state can't pay its bills, can't make good on its promises, and Trenton Democrats' only answer is higher taxes on the poor, working, and middle classes -- while urban Democrat machines lavish tax breaks on the rich. The Democrats run the show and have done so for more than a decade. If you want to take a dump on someone, it is a target rich environment.
So why would a Republican dump on a Republican running for President? And why would anyone go about it in so tone deaf a way?
Most Americans are a lot less fortunate than Jack Ciattarelli. Jack works hard and has done well for himself. But many, many Americans work hard and struggle to keep from falling behind. They have been living through a long grey economy and an endless war. And what do they have to look forward to? Economists predict a worsening economy in 2016 and that endless war is moving from places like Iraq and Syria, to towns in Texas, Tennessee, and California. Those Americans not cocooned by wealth are lost in anguish.
Few who enjoy the privileges of the political class understand the mood of this country. The parties, pundits, lobbyists, consultants, and all the rest who make up our political class appear utterly at sea to explain "the Trump phenomenon." But it is not just Trump. Witness the support Senator Bernie Sanders has gained through giving voice to his plainly Marxist prescriptions. Senator Elizabeth Warren too understands this moment better than most -- as do activists like Ralph Nader and writers like Chris Hedges. It is the moment when many, many people have simply given up on the political class, stopped listening, and have started to look elsewhere for ideas. The center is being evacuated.
Poll after poll most clearly shows that Donald Trump is not out-of-step with the American people. While the political class -- here in America and overseas in Europe -- excoriated his latest comments on a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, a plurality of Americans (46% to 40%) agreed with him, including a majority of Republicans (66% to 24%). For better or for worse, many average American voters are using the candidacy of Donald Trump as the unlikely vessel into which they are pouring their anguish. Politicians, particularly well-to-do ones, are not going to make a good impression on them by pissing into that vessel.
If you wish to lead, first acknowledge their anguish. Identify with it and enunciate those issues that have them concerned. Don't dismiss or gloss over anything. In a mature Republic like ours we should be able to address anything, to discuss... anything. Regain trust by action. Identify problems, solutions, and be clear about how tough the road will be. Do not mislead by promises and generalities.
Earlier today MyCentralJersey.com posted a statement by Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16). In it, Assemblyman Ciattarelli "condemned" Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Here is the full statement:
At the state and federal level, government’s inability to truly solve our most pressing problems is cause for disgust, anger and disenfranchisement amongst a great many citizens. The end result is strong desire for something that strongly opposes the political establishment, making it the perfect time for a serious and formidable challenge to the status quo. Unfortunately, times such as these are also ripe for the ascension of polarizing opportunists.
Enter Donald Trump.
Instead of providing the kind of leadership that appeals to the better angels of our nature in calling us to meaningful and just action, Mr. Trump preys upon our worst instincts and fears. In addressing important issues, he is a charlatan who is out of step with American values. He is a celebrity in his own political reality TV show. He is a Republican who is out of step with the Party of Lincoln– “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope on earth.”
Sitting silently and allowing him to embarrass our country is unacceptable. He is not fit to be President of the United States.
We are struck by the Assemblyman's use of the phrase "the Party of Lincoln." Did President Lincoln appeal to "the better angels of our nature" when he suspended civil rights? Was the pursuit of war over civil negotiation a "better angel"? Was total war -- economic war -- waged against a civilian population who he maintained were American citizens, was this a "better angel"? Was the order to burn civilian dwellings, destroy infrastructure, appropriate food, and to instigate rape, murder, and starvation part of "the better angels of our nature"?
In the pursuit of what he believed to be right, President Lincoln was willing to see the death of more than two percent of the American population -- 620,000 men. Another two percent were maimed -- missing arms, legs, parts of faces -- and another five percent made homeless. President Lincoln was content to visit this suffering on his own people -- on fellow Americans.
What Donald Trump has proposed is a mere inconvenience in comparison, similar to the temporary ban President Jimmy Carter imposed on visas from Iran in 1980. Even President Obama has used sterner measures -- like the extra-judicial killing of American citizens using drone strikes.
Being killed without a trial is a lot more permanent than a temporary ban on travel. And even if you carry a Muslim name, doesn't every American citizen deserve a trial? We look forward to something from the honorable gentleman calling into question the Obama (D) administration's use of non-judicial capital punishment.
Below is a video of another issue that the honorable gentleman might want to take up: