“I’m not going to assess his job performance. Certainly I wish he would tweet less. I think that it’s important that a congressperson works with any president when they are doing the right thing for their district.”
– Jeff Van Drew
That milquetoast statement is so lacking compared to last night’s CD11 Congressional Candidate Forum, where the 5 Dems and Frelinghuysen’s GOP primary opponent had actually formed an opinion about Donald Trump’s immature, unstable and destructive time in the White House. And said it right out loud and everything.
Van Drew’s comment reads like he’s not even paying attention to current events, but fully expects that won’t hurt him in the 2018 Democratic Primary. But that should concern everybody else.
Jeff Van Drew is a mere demi-Dem, who bills himself as a conservative Democrat. Read: basically a Republican. Wanted to reinstate the death penalty. Against sanctuary cities. No on marriage equality. Por-handgun. And get ready: Wants restrictions on women seeking abortion. Now, I recognize South Jersey’s different. But there’s a gulf between not being a firebrand and being gutless. Even picking just one of those issues, it’s as if Van Drew doesn’t grasp that even women in South Jersey want control of their reproductive lives. As if George Norcross hasn’t told him to grasp that. Norcross. It’s 2017. Why are any of us OK with an unelected powerbroker pre-selecting a congressman?
Sue Altman wrote about all of this brilliantly earlier at Blue Jersey – [SJ Democrats Pick Van Drew for Congress – Latest Play Against Progressive Change] – making the point that Van Drew was launched right over the head of a black woman candidate who was already in the race and earning support: Tanzie Youngblood. This morning, Youngblood had to take to Twitter (above) to remind voters there’s still a democratic process to go through. The Democratic County Committee members decide who to endorse for the nomination. Not the county chairs. And not Norcross himself pulling his silver strings.
I don’t know who CD2 voters will pick for LoBiondo’s open seat, or which Dem is the right fit. That’s their choice. And maybe it’s Van Drew. But I hope the Democratic County Committee members in Salem, Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic counties (and parts of Gloucester, Camden, Burlington & Ocean) recognize that the power is theirs to decide, that the bylaws say so, and that they don’t have to be dictated to if they choose not to be. They should demand to hear from both both Youngblood and Van Drew, and ask every hard question they have. Then, they should make the choice that’s right for them, with Democratic primary voters doing the same next year at primary time.
A Republican open seat is a rare gift. It shouldn’t be squandered on the wishes of a rich man whose reasons may not serve democracy, New Jersey or the best forward-thinking Congress we deserve. My 2 cents.