By Michael P. Riccards.
Although the media and the professional talking heads are commenting about the gubernatorial race in Virginia, there was a more important one in New Jersey. Sitting in my catbird seat in central Jersey, I can say that like all citizens I was totally surprised at how poorly the Democrats did.
Gov. Phil Murphy ran a very weak campaign, seeing his inevitable victory as placing him in the running for the next Democratic nomination for president in 2024.
But he barely won in a traditional Democratic state, running against an unknown Republican politician who couldn’t decide if he was pro-Trump or non Trump.
Most surprising was the loss of Senate President Steve Sweeney, who has proven to be a disciplined party leader for decades. His opponent was a truck driver who spent little on his campaign, but the Democrats in the Sweeney camp never spent any time or resources on doing some background on this troubling alternative. They figured that if Sweeney could beat the NEA in the state last time, then he could triumph easily this time. In politics last campaigns are not good teachers,
What happened in this state is a simple revulsion of the Democratic Party for a variety of reasons. First there is a negative reaction to Biden, especially after his ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan. Jersey has a lot of veterans, and they don’t like the idea of fight and run. One could say that 20 years is long enough, but still the exit which the American administrations had years to prepare for was about as messy as could be. Does Biden know what he is doing or is Bob Gates right that Biden has gotten every decision wrong in 40 years.
The deadlock among wings of the party has conveyed a sense of incompetence in the domestic agenda. Thomas Jefferson once said that one cannot do large things with a small margin. The Democrats should have read more carefully their founding father.
Also, while people may desire this or that program, they are scared when they see its full total. I support subsidies for pandemic-hurt businesses, but I mean barber shops and pizzerias, not minor league teams that greedy Major League Baseball has closed down.
Also when Henry Ford began to flood America with gas buggies, private enterprise set up gas stations all across the nation. If private enterprise could do that then, why can’t private enterprise set up electric recharging stations? Why does the federal government have to subsidize them now? Biden forgets he was elected because people wanted a return to normality, not more craziness.
The problem is the Democratic Party is too susceptible to the liberal elites while talking of being a working man’s party. The working women and men are voting Republican. That is not in their economic interests, but they are swayed by the culture issues. The wokeness, the critical race theory and the assaults of the elite New York Times on our liberal colonial history have generated enormous political support for the right wing. Sitting here in Jersey, I can’t believe how many normal Democrats are turned off by the racist , anti-American rhetoric they hear on television.
Michael P. Riccards, a former college president. is the author of 30 books, including a two-volume history of the presidency, The Ferocious Engine of Democracy, and the recently published Woodrow Wilson as Commander-in-Chief.