We could be in the midst of a political sea change in NJ and in U.S. politics: Part I

By the end of 2017 New Jersey most likely will retain a strong Democratic hold on the legislature and gain a Democratic governor. By the end of 2018 we might increase up to three new Democratic representatives raising our total to 10 Democrats and only 2 Republicans, retain our two Democratic seats in the U. S. Senate, and possibly add another progressive Supreme Court member. That is a sea change for NJ.

Such does not mean that there will be peace in the jungle. However, the disagreements will be among more like-minded individuals as opposed to the sharp dichotomy we now face between conservative Republicans, particularly Gov. Christie, and liberal Democrats in the legislature.

There are two potential trouble spots in the NJ scenario.

  1. In Congressional District 5 incumbent Democrat Josh Gottheimer is in a tough race.
  2. Senator Robert Menendez faces a federal corruption trial in September, and if he is found guilty he would have to leave the Senate.

Nationally, as POLITICO points out, “Crowded House primaries are becoming a familiar sight on the Democratic side.” The Atlantic recently outlined,  “How the Democrats Can Take Back Congress.” Political handicapper Charlie Cook recently said, “Analysts who have watched congressional elections for a long time are seeing signs that 2018 could be a wave election that flips control of the House to Democrats.” Locally our activists are leading the charge to flip three congressional districts.

The path toward control of the U. S. Senate would appear easier because the addition of a net two new Democrats, joined by the current two Independents who vote Democratic, would provide a Democratic voting majority. However, there are far more Democrats in play than Republicans. The trial of Senator Menendez could result in conviction and temporarily provide an additional Republican place holder in the Senate appointed by Governor Christie.

While the outcome of Democrats gaining control of the Senate and House remains in flux the likelihood at least is increased Democratic membership in both houses.

A significant portion of this sea change is being brought about by one person. Thank you President Trump. You are helping to make all this possible. Your most recent job approval ratings from Gallup has sunk to 38% and from ABC to 36% – the lowest six-month approval rating of any president in dating back 70 years,

Part II will cover the House of Representatives, both in terms of NJ and nationally, and Part III will cover the U. S. Senate in the same manner, plus, look at the ramifications of impeaching President Trump.

Comments (3)

  1. Rosi Efthim

    The Dems need to show up with more than Trump is bad or the Republicans are bad. I don’t know what Democratic Party core values are anymore. We certainly don’t talk about what Dems stand for in this state.

    1. Bill Orr (Post author)

      Yeah. Trump is stumbling but so are Dems. We need more coherent messaging which meets the needs of real people not just vague or anti Trump rhetoric. Bernie represents the best of core values. Also our activists are setting a good example. In NJ Party bosses are a hindrance.

  2. ken bank

    Progressive “core values” are not the same core values of the vast majority of American voters, and while campaigning on progressive themes may work in solidly blue districts, it doesn’t mean it will work in more competitive districts. In my district, CD3, most people I know (including some Democrats) voted for Trump. Some folks even think that Trump hasn’t gone far enough with banning and deporting immigrants. Last year, the AFL-CIO and its affiliated building trades and construction workers unions all endorsed MacArthur. When I went to TMac’s townhall in Waretown, there were as many supporters from the building and construction trade unions as there were protestors. And most of them don’t care about healthcare either. They have their own employer-insurance and will not be significantly impacted by medicaid cuts and elimination of subsidies for private insurance. The most important groups in CD3 are veterans, military families, and blue-collar working class building and trade unions. They don’t care about women’s issues, minority issues, civil rights, black lives matter, gun control, or immigration (unless it involves banning Muslims and deporting Latinos).

    The reason Dems won in 2006 and 2008 had nothing to do with progressive “core values”. They won because voters were fed-up with the Iraq war, and the economy was collapsing all around them. And if Dems are triumphant next year, it will have more to do with negative attitudes against Trump than any embrace of progressive values.

    As to Party bosses, they are a necessary evil if Dems are to win elections. John Kennedy would never have been elected if Party bosses and their Mafia allies in Illinois hadn’t stuffed ballots in Cook County. Neither Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson would have been elected, much less get their progressive legislation through Congress, if they didn’t have party bosses to enforce discipline among party members. Like it or not, Democrats will not win the Governorship or control the legislature with the help and support of party bosses like George Norcross and Brian Stack. I think the success that Dems have in Monmouth County has more to do with Vin Gopal’s strong leadership than any embrace by voters of progressive core values.


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