In the musical Hamilton, Aaron Burr offers some free advice to Alexander Hamilton: “Smile more; say less. Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.” Today we are faced with a similar situation between incumbent Senator Bob Menendez who tells us what he’s against and what he is for, and challenger Bob Hugin who does not. Menendez in the Vote Smart – “Political Courage Test” – answers the questions favorably and his record supports those answers. The other Bob, despite repeated requests, answered none of the questions, and in most cases Vote Smart indicates, “Despite exhaustive research, Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate’s position.”
Unfortunately this battle has landed in the sewer with TV ads attacking Sen. Menendez for his indictment and challenger Bob Hugin for grossly overpricing a cancer drug. More recently, it has taken an even uglier turn with a new Hugin ad raising old unsubstantiated claims that Menendez patronized underage prostitutes as part of his friendship with the co-defendant in the 2017 trial. The FBI found found no evidence to support the claim.
None of these ads get to the heart of the matter. We have good reasons to vote for Menendez and few if any reasons to vote for Hugin. Plus we have reason to believe that Menendez can win.
In the most recent poll from Quinnipiac (October 10 – 16) Menendez, leads Hugin 51 – 44 percent among New Jersey likely voters. Women and non-white voters remain the key to Menendez’ support.
On Tuesday the Democratic super PAC – Senate Majority PAC – said it was spending $3 million on statewide ads to help Menendez. “I think it indicates they’re taking this challenge seriously,” said Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison of Democrats. “If they thought they were in trouble they’d walk away.”
So lets look at the issues. Here is where Menendez shines and has good reason to expect our support.
- He is pro-choice – rated 100% by Planned Parenthood.
- He supports reducing the bloated defense spending, which “sacrifices the very things that make America worth fighting for.”
- He supports federal spending for infrastructure “that will create jobs and grow our economy.” – and is fighting for the Gateway tunnel.
- He supports government funding for development of renewable energy, saying “Bring on the renewable energy jobs in NJ!”
- He supports federal regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, and is rated 100% by Environment America.
- He supports gun control legislation and is rated 0% by the conservative Gun Owners of America. “There is so much we can do to stop gun violence.”
- He opposes repealing ACA. “We can’t go back to the way things were before the ACA. Millions will lose insurance and suffer.”
- He opposes building a wall and requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship. He is rated 0% by the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform.
- He supports investing a portion of the federal budget surplus into the Social Security Trust fund.
- On welfare and poverty, he says he encourages “work and personal responsibility, while maintaining a safety net, especially for kids.”
- On legislative priorities he lists his efforts to “modernize our job-supporting Port, fund the Weehawken Ferry and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and revitalize Jersey City Waterfront and MLK Drive.” “I will continue fighting for our children, working to pass my Drug Elimination and Justice Act to make our schools safer, my School Construction bill to modernize schools, while raising standards and lowering class size.”
Above are just some of the issues and reasons to support Menendez, and we can only do so by actually voting for him. Who knows where Hugin stands on these matters?
Throughout his life Hamilton disagreed fervently with both Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. In the election of 1800 Hamilton faced a difficult choice between the two as to whom he would support for President. He decided, “But when all is said and all is done… Jefferson has beliefs; Burr has none.” He selected Jefferson.
You can read other parts in this midterm issues series by clicking on the appropriate front-page slider or entering in the SEARCH box on the front-page: 2018 midterm issues Prior issues are SALT (Part I), Healthcare (Part II), Climate Change (Part III), The Trump Factor (Part IV), Immigration (Part V), “Follow the Money” (Part VI) and Gun Control, Festering and Frustrating (Part VII).