VMARS had an interesting idea when s/he proposed that the Blue Jersey community Write In Booker To Send a Message. However, I have serious doubts about whether or not a write-in campaign like this can have much, if any, impact on the kind of Senator that Cory Booker will be, once elected. His friends on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley and Hollywood are the people who have his ear. He listens to them, not us, and I do not think that a write-in campaign is going to change that. That doesn’t mean that we are powerless to stop the Booker juggernaut.
We can do more than send a message that will not be heard. We can make a statement. We can end Cory Booker’s political career, which will send a message to the entire political establishment here in NJ and throughout the country and world that we take our politics seriously and will no longer tolerate manufactured media creations who put a socially liberal face on fiscally conservative positions and demand elected officials who stand for something more than their own ambitions.
Yes, Steven Lonegan is a terrible person and having him as one of our United States Senators for a year-plus would be very embarrassing, but if a quasi-moderate like Scott Brown could not survive a real election cycle, someone who is more like another Scott (Garrett) than Brown, is going to lose to any Democrat in November 2014 that we nominate next June.
As much as we would like to fantasize about it, neither Rush Holt nor Frank Pallone are going to risk their safe House seats to run against Cory Booker in a Democratic primary election next year. They know how NJ politics works and they know that the risk is simply far too great and the reward is nearly impossible to realize. This is why they were both willing to take their chances on a run this summer even though they both knew that their respective candidacies were going to cannibalize themselves.
However, if Booker were to somehow lose to Lonegan in October, not only would his brand be irreparably damaged, making a 2014 rematch unlikely, if not impossible, Holt and/or Pallone might be more inclined to risk their political careers and futures in another wide-open primary election, knowing that whomever wins that primary election will be facing Lonegan in November 2014.
Cory Booker is not going to notice how many write-in votes he gets in October if he defeats Steven Lonegan in a landslide. However, he and others will notice if he somehow loses to Lonegan, especially if liberals make it clear that we are not just voting for a Ralph Naderesque third party candidate, but actively choosing the far greater of two evils temporarily to have a real chance at electing someone good next year. Yes, we will have to suffer the embarrassment of having this vile person as our Senator for the next year-plus, but in the same way that Massachusetts was fortunate enough to replace Scott Brown with someone far better than the person he defeated, so can we.
If I thought that the terrible votes that Lonegan would cast over the next year-plus would make a difference in the grand scheme of things, I would never even consider such an abhorrent act as voting for him, but I believe that Washington is going to be irreparably gridlocked until January 2015 if not longer unless the Democrats can take back the House and keep the Senate, so I believe that we can tolerate the short-term embarrassment of being represented by Lonegan in return for the long-term benefit of being represented by someone far better than Booker for a full six-year term.
It is also possible that taking down Booker this year could have a larger ripple effect in 2014. A Lonegan victory in a state as blue as New Jersey could embolden far-right-wing Republican primary voters and enable their unelectable primary election candidates to defeat establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and create opportunities for Democratic victories in states where they might not have been expected otherwise. It could also embolden the progressive grassroots throughout the country and sufficiently scare the Democratic establishment into taking a chance on more liberal candidates out of fear that their more liberal voters will turn on their beloved center-right candidates the way that we can and should turn on Booker.
If we want good people like Holt or Pallone to take risks on our behalf, we should be willing to do the same for them. For this reason, I believe that we should not only vote for Lonegan, but get other liberals to do the same. I don’t know if the turnout in October is going to be so low that our efforts can make a difference, but if we are going to do something, we might as well do something that has a chance of having its desired effect in the long-term at the very least.
The alternative is electing Cory Booker to the Senate and then the Presidency and enabling him to become the standard-bearer for a new Democratic Party that continues all of the corporatist, wrong-headed policies on issues ranging from banking and finance to education that have become more and more acceptable under the Obama Administration. We can do better, but the only way to do that is to defeat Booker in October.