New Jersey as a bellweather for 2014?

I don’t normally follow politics but lately I’ve been reading the stray article like this one in the local news. Political fallout of shutdown could hurt New Jersey Republicans

Most people think of NJ as true blue but we have, as most people know, a pub gov and 12 cong. districts that currently are evenly split between the parties. I’m not familiar enough with the demographics of the CDs to give much insight except to say that the NE part of the state is very wealthy due to NYC influence and that probably applies to a lesser extent to the northern part and NE corridor between NY and Philly, although as to the latter you also have some truly epic examples of urban-industrial, mad-max, post-apocalyptic nightmarishness sprinkled in there as well (which I sort of love - the refineries on a summer night are a beautiful sight). The southern and eastern parts of the state are pretty rural as is the north and west.

The point is, to all appearances, NJ seems to be a lot more middle-of-the-road than I would have imagined and therefore more indicative of how swing voters might lean in 2014. Does that sound like a plausible hypothesis? I know that people normally look at states like Ohio to gauge the swing vote, or at least that’s my impression, but looking at their congressional delegation, they’re 12R-4D. Of course I guess the obvious response is that this is the result of gerrymandering and the swing of pendulum in the last election so an even split now doesn’t mean the state is any less blue, if anything it proves how blue it really is. But on the other hand, if the Pubs look to be giving up their gains from the last election so quickly in a state where the Pub governor looks to be a lock for re-election, that can’t be a good sign.

First, it’s bellwether. :smiley:

I think that 2014 is just far enough off that we can’t call anything with assurance, but yes, I think the R’s have been exposed as the political extremists they have become. I predict a loss for many R’s in “comfortable” or balanced districts (the hard core will hold, of course) and an essentially new Republican party in 2016. Can’t come soon enough - not because of any particularly loathing for the current party (although I have plenty of that) but because truly balanced opposing parties are what make things work, and work out, in the long run. We’ve been too unbalanced since the Tea Party co-opted the Republicans. Maybe since the R’s decided “morality” was their province.

The shutdown hasn’t helped Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia. But as badly as everything went for the Republicans in this fiasco, it’s a full year before anybody votes. It’s hard to say how much this will stick in anybody’s memory and we don’t know what will happen over the next year.

D’oh :smack: Y’ah know, I don’t think the FF spell checker works in the title box. I just typed in now and it corrects here in the text box but not the title box. Somebody get on that pronto. [runs and hides :slight_smile: ]

You’re right about the time decay rate of voter memory. But the people who actually finance campaigns have much longer memories and that’s what I’m counting on personally. The only real question I have is though, do they try to influence the RNC and local party officials to back more moderate republican candidates or do they vote with their feet and send a more graphic message. Or do they do neither and support both sides as per usual and just adjust split.

No, sir. It is not true that each American major party is necessary to restrain the other’s excesses. It might be true, if our two-party system were the Democrats v. the Socialists; but Republicanism/conservatism has nothing of value to offer America nor any other country.

What about the “liberal conservatism” of parties such as Christian Democratic Union in Germany or UMP in France?

I know this is a highjack, so won’t pursue it, but even as extreme a party as the Republicans can still serve the valid role of keeping the majority party honest. The urge to corruption is universal, and one of the duties of the opposition is to search for it, find it, and expose it.

The fact that they’re looking for it in birth certificates and Benghazi makes them look idiotic… But people like Blagojevich and Jesse Jackson Jr. make the job absolutely necessary. The press also does its part, but aren’t an organic part of the system; the opposition is.

I’m a California Democrat, and am delighted that Sacramento now has a Democratic super-majority in the State Senate and Assembly…but that leaves us slightly more vulnerable to corruption than I like. I’d prefer a Republican party with the integrity to serve the necessary role.

Hijack to your heart’s content. And as long as we’re at it, what I think is really amusing is the fact that the Tea Party was the direct result of the financial crisis which in turn was the direct result of the policies of Bush II and Greenspan.

Note the remark about mortgages and derivatives. I don’t recall specifically, but it’s a safe bet that refers to MBSs and the point was to put a little ketchup on all those AAA rated shit sandwiches. Except Obama had only been in office for a year, so to whom should we send the thank you card for that disaster? Hmmm. And yet somehow, the TP gets co-opted by the same party responsible for it’s creation. Were it not so similar to so many other aspects of abnormal psych like Stockholm syndrome, abused children becoming abusers, etc., it would seem down right bizarre.

For years moderate Republicans did very well in NJ. Christine Todd Whitman comes to mind, as do a number of pro-choice, pro-gun control Republicans from the 1970s-1980s. They were socially liberal and fiscally conservative, back when fiscal conservatism implied low budget deficits and good government.

Those days are past. Both the professional class and NJ have been trending Democratic for a while. If NJ is a true swing state in 2016, then the Democrats have lost the election. Admittedly it will take a while for the well-healed of Morris County to wake up and realize that their interests are not served by a Federal government in crisis, both perpetual and wholly artificial. There’s something to be said for paying a little more in taxes if you get solid technocratic policy in return. All members of the 100% have an interest in a strong and healthy populace and economy.

That’s not what I said. Complex problems are better solved if approached from more than one perspective and the solutions are melded into one. They don’t have to be diametrically opposed or even particularly contrarian.

The problem of the last 20 year or so is that both parties, starting with and carried to the greatest extreme by the R’s, decided that only extreme positions and only total victory for their view was acceptable. I see the excesses of the D’s as largely (but not entirely) reactive to the extreme positions of the R’s. When the Republicans purge themselves of the moralizing anti-government extremists, both parties can come back to something like balanced centrism and we can start moving forward again.

I equate those to the GOP as it was before “movement conservatism” ever was heard of. Before Reagan, before Goldwater, before even Senator Robert Taft.

Such as?

I second that request.

Then let’s have proportional representation and a multi-party system. Half a dozen or so parties in play all keeping each other honest would make for a more honest system overall, wouldn’t it?

BrainGlutton, I’m not sure what you’re arguing there. The Republican party has a job to do, and they’re not doing it. The fact that they’re not doing it doesn’t negate the fact that they have a job to do; rather, it calls that fact into starker contrast.

Moderate Reps have a shot here in NJ. But the GOP isn’t really running moderates. Christie is wining for gov because he’s a moderate on social issue like choice and gay rights.

My local NJ congressperson is Rodney Frelinhuysen. He’s a Rep but he’s a also a fairly moderate Rep. He has a 50% percent rating from NRLC on abortion. The NRA gives him a D which makes pro gun control. He would lose in many other areas of the country other than NJ. He would be defeated by either a Dem or a more right wing Rep.

But keeping the other party honest is not that job; it’s an incidental effect of a two-party system, which itself is a thing not designed but spontaneously emergent. A political party’s job is to enact or push for certain policies in line with its ideology or constituent-interests, and to block or try to block policies out of line with those. The Pubs are sure doing that.

It is all politicians’ job to keep all politicians honest. In a two-party system, it is an emergent feature (just as the two-party system itself is an emergent feeder) that that job mostly gets delegated to the opposite party.

Seems like the nearest thing to that Pubs can manage lately is to harp on Benghazi.

As for NSA, Gitmo, drone strikes, indefinite detentions . . . not so much.

Which is why we need a better conservative party.