Saturday, March 10, 2018

Midterms in New Jersey: "It’s All About Stopping Trump"


The video above is how most New Jersey voters got to know Jim Keady. Now he's running for Congress, in the district Republican Chris occupies.

Chris Smith (R-NJ) is an anti-Choice fanatic; other than that, though-- and I emphasize FANATIC-- he seems as much a moderate Democrat as a Republican. His voting record is a lot like New Jersey Blue Dog's Josh Gottheimer. He's been representing the 4th district since 1980. The district is mostly made up of Monmouth County but includes some of Ocean and some of Mercer as well. It starts on the east side of Trenton heads northeast to Middletown, Red Bank and Neptune and southeast to Manchester Township and Lakewood. It was Trump's (and Romney's) best-performing district in New Jersey, largely because of a huge community of very right-wing Orthodox Russian Jews (and human organ traders) in Lakewood. The district has the worst PVI in the state, R+8, a point worse than it was in 2017.

Nationally, June 5 is a huge primary day. Going to the polls to pick candidates for November will be some states with incredibly important contests-- New Jersey, as well as California, New Mexico and Iowa. In NJ-04 there are two Democrats competing--Jim Keady, a proven progressive Berniecrat, and some right-of-center carpetbagger the DCCC is pushing, Josh Welle, who seems to be running a campaign that says, "I'm just like Chris Smith" but without the anti-Choice fanaticism. The only political contribution I could find for Welle was when he was still living in Arlington, Virginia a few months ago and he contributed to right-wing Democrat ("ex"-Republican) Joseph Kopser in Austin, Texas.

Dan Jacobson, a former Democratic Assemblyman now publishes the TriCity News in the district and he posted a recent OpEd he wrote about the NJ-04 race , calling out the notoriously corrupt Monmouth County Democratic Party machine. They had a convention last weekend and endorsed "endorsed a boring establishment candidate-- a carpetbagger who just moved up here from Virginia-- to run against Republican Congressman Chris Smith." Jacobson wasn't surprised and he wasn't happy.
Fiery progressive Jim Keady, a former Asbury Park Councilman, came up short. Yet he still showed significant support among the delegates. Now he will take on the machine by running in the June Democratic primary against organization-backed candidate Josh Welle, a mutant who’s decided this is his time to be a Congressman.

(Hilariously, this Publisher was barred by the Monmouth County Democratic Chairman from voting at the mini-Convention, even though I was eligible to do so as a former Democratic Assemblyman back in 1990-91. Apparently, I haven’t been a loyal enough Democrat, as-- shocking!-- I’ve publicly endorsed some Republicans in these pages, while skewering some assholes who are Democrats. Hey, now I know how the Bernie Sanders people felt!)

Although conventional wisdom says Smith is unbeatable in this Republican district, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added it to its list of targeted races. For there is an outside shot to win.

At least for now, I am a Democrat in good standing-- as the Monmouth County Democratic Party by-laws would describe me since I voted in the last two Democratic primaries over my revulsion at our Jackass-in-Chief. In reality, though, I’m a right-of-center voter. I tend to vote a bit more Republican.

Not now. I’m not voting for any Republicans. We need at least one house of Congress in Democratic hands to investigate Trump and expose him for the fraud he is. The end game for this voter is for Trump not to be on the ballot again, so people like me can vote for a Republican if we so choose. In other words, so the country has a sane choice.

That means contesting every seat in the House of Representatives with even a remote chance for the Democrats. That now includes Chris Smith’s seat. On social issue, I agree with Keady on everything, but on economic issues we part ways. He was a Bernie Sanders guy before people around here even knew who Bernie Sanders was. I think all that left-wing shit they espouse-- while wonderful if it could work-- is economic nonsense. Just ask the next Venezuelan you meet.

But that’s not important now. It’s all about stopping Trump. And Keady is clearly the best choice for this long-shot race precisely because he is a Bernie Sanders progressive. The best way to beat Smith is for an unprecedented turnout among Democrats. Keady can fire them up. Meanwhile, organization-backed candidate/carpetbagger Josh Welle says flat out that his strategy is to win over moderates and Republicans. I say it won’t work. Welle may be a Navy veteran — thank you for your service-- but he’s a pretty lackluster campaigner. Seems like a typical ambitious politician to me, who’s typically uninspiring. Too canned.

Keady is a total animal who’s been consumed with progressive social justice issues since I first met him almost 15 years ago. He’s the real deal. By running in the primary, Keady will now get to put his theory to the test about his ability to uniquely boost Democratic turnout.

In New Jersey, it is extremely rare to win a primary without party organization backing. Josh Welle will now appear in the “organization” column on the Democratic primary ballot. The few people who bother to vote in such primaries blindly go down the organization column, as there’s rarely a serious challenger.

Keady, though, has some things going for him. This is a Republican district which means there’s even less Democrats there than usual. The turnout will be particularly light with no other high profile Democratic primary fights on the ballot, like for President or Governor. Keady can potentially reach this relatively small number of voters. And as a rule, the relatively few Democrats in a heavily Republican area like this tend to be the more hard-core believers in the party.

A Bernie Sanders progressive, running against a triangulating moderate like Josh Welle, can appeal to those true believing Democrats who’d vote in a primary. I’m not saying Keady can pull it off. Right now, it’s likely he won’t.

But it’s also not impossible. In fact, I’ve always thought Keady’s path to victory — and flipping this seat for the Dems-- is to indeed lose the Monmouth Democratic Party convention, and then beat the party organization in a stunning primary upset.

That would be a big deal in the political community in the state, and the national progressive movement. That will attract Jim Keady a lot more attention and support than just winning the party endorsement and cruising though the primary. Local supporters will be even more fired up. In other words, if Keady’s theory is right that his brand of progressive politics can trigger an epic Dem turnout in this district, he has the chance to prove it by winning a huge upset in the Democratic primary.

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At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We need at least one house of Congress in Democratic hands to investigate Trump and expose him for the fraud he is."

Spoken like someone who just awoke from a 40-year coma and has no clue what the democraps stand for these days ("xxx is off the table" et al).
Or maybe spoken like someone who knows his voters are that clueless.

Either way...


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