As is the custom with newspaper editors endorsing candidates for office the Sunday before the election, Belle’s Blog endorses Chris Christie for Governor of New Jersey.
New Jersey is a widely divided state. It’s so divided that the majority of its voters are independent of either the Republican or Democrat party; they’re considered “Unaffiliated” or Independent voters. For that reason, it’s always difficult to tell which way the state will swing in the polls.
For the last ten years, it has swung Democrat in electing its Congressional and State senators and its House and Assembly representatives. The demographics between 2000 and 2010 tell the story: a rising minority population, doubling among Hispanics in almost every community, and an increasing rise in Asians, which can mean anyone from Turkey to Japan, Somalia to the Philippines. Largely, the new immigrants are from China and India, and they almost universally vote Democrat (well, what else would you expect from the Chinese)?
Taxes are driving businesses – and middle class jobs – out of the Garden State in droves. Yet another company is getting ready to fold up its tent and either stranding its middle-class, Republican-leaning employees or taking them with them to a more business-friendly climate.
We know, that as a Democrat, Barbara Buono will prove decidedly unbusiness-like. But she’s not leading in the polls, even where a majority of voters put Newark Mayor Cory Booker into the U.S. Senate – at least for a year. This year, New Jersey must decide on its next governor and its state representatives.
We should not underestimate the importance of the statehouse in Trenton. They make many decisions affecting Garden Staters. Nonetheless, turnouts are lower in off-year elections. Only the gubernatorial race makes the election of somewhat greater interest than an off-year municipal election.
Elections in New Jersey are like trying to decide what kind of pizza pie you want to order: plain, sausage, pepperoni, garlic, onion, anchovies, meatball, spinach, tomato. In New Jersey, everyone wants something different. Some people just want plain, and others want everything on the pizza and in the pizza, even the crust.
That’s a pizza sliced into 21 counties and 556 municipalities, including about 12 major blighted cities with blighted populations that could outvote the rest of the state. Yet somehow, they have the worst turnout. They only come out for the really big elections.
Buono can deliver the cities, but that’s it. The Democrats will vote the ticket; the name means nothing. The main Democrat base is loyal to the end. However, neither party has a true “base” in New Jersey. There are more Independent voters in New Jersey than either of the parties.
That’s what got Christie elected last time and will get probably get him re-elected governor. He’s the Great Compromiser. You can’t really blame him; there’s nothing for it in this state. Christie delivers a little bit of everything on the New Jersey pizza pie. Plain for the Conservatives. Garlic for Northeastern Jersey. Pepperoni for the Route 80 corridor. Anchovies for southern Jersey. Couscos for the Middle Eastern immigrants. Salsa for the Hispanics (can you put salsa on pizza? I guess you put anything on pizza). Curry for the Indians and Duck for the Chinese.
Christie will not only deliver the special order pizzas, but he’ll sing and dance upon delivery. Or at least he’ll tell jokes and entertain you. That’s been his style at the town halls. It’s his way or the highway, but he gives you your moment in the spotlight before taking back the mic.
He knows New Jersey is a tightrope walk between the Delaware and the Hudson, stretching over chasms of diverse populations with nothing in common. He schmoozes with the ethnic minorities and commiserates with the suburban taxpayers who are watching their jobs disappear almost as fast as their taxes.
Even if you don’t always agree. Even if he makes you angry sometimes, such as when he appointed a Muslim to the Superior Court of New Jersey, he still gets credit for trying in an impossibly divided by race, ethnicity, demographics, and economics.
Christie is a funny guy. He would have made a great stand-up comedian or late-night talk show host if he hadn’t gone into law and eventually politics. When you’re governor of the Garden State, you need an excellent sense of humor (although he’s known also for temperamental flare-ups). That alone makes Christie the most qualified candidate for Governor of New Jersey.
On Nov. 5th, even though he’s a moderate Purple, vote Row A, Chris Christie for Governor of New Jersey.