Donald Trump has so offended the mainstream GOP that some prominent Republicans may vote for Hillary Clinton if she is the Democratic candidate for president. Last week, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman said if it comes down to a choice between Trump and Clinton, she will reluctantly support Clinton.
Since Trump once gave campaign contributions to Clinton, some speculate that Trump’s GOP campaign for president is a well-orchestrated campaign by the Democrats to send the Republican Party into chaos.
If so, it has worked.
The fact that Trump keeps going to more and more extremes in his statements suggests that he is doing everything possible to alienate Republican moderates. While supporters of Trump see him as someone who is not beholden to anyone, his position also makes him less accountable than a traditional party candidate.
In some ways, Trump’s campaign is almost too much like a cartoon to be believed, and it’s not just the angry mostly-white silent majority that is falling for his rhetoric. The GOP itself is scared to death by it. There is no way to tell what he will say or do next.
If Ted Cruz fails to overtake Trump in the primary and the GOP cannot orchestrate a political coup in an open convention, Trump will drive Republican moderates to elect a Democrat.
Even if this Trump-Clinton plan wasn’t previously plotted by the Democrats, Trump is doing everything he possibly can to expose the worst and most racist elements of the GOP.
While extremists in the GOP have blamed President Barack Obama for Trump’s rise, in reality, it was the rise of The Tea Party that helped create this cartoon candidate. But the foundations for an anti-intellectual political base go back to the late 1970s when Ronald Reagan pulled off a similar (but far less crass) takeover of the GOP.
Yet in comparison to Trump or even Cruz, Reagan seems like a moderate.
Pulling the ‘Hudson County Swerve’
This creation of an alternative candidate is nothing new. Some in Hudson County call it the “Hudson County Swerve.” You put another candidate in to cut the vote of your opponents so that you can win with less than a majority. The most recent example of this was the 2012 Hoboken municipal election in which a ticket funded by Frank Raia, with Tim Occhipinti at the head of it, took votes away from another anti-Dawn Zimmer mayoral contender and got Zimmer reelected.
Jersey City has had several instances in which opponents of a candidate found someone with the same last name to run.
But sometimes, things go wrong, such as in Bayonne in 1992, when Lenny Kiczek and Neil DeSenna challenged then Mayor Richard Ratkowski and forced a runoff election that Kiczek won. The problem was Kiczek reportedly was supposed to cut Ratkowski’s vote to allow DeSenna to win.
This could be the case in the presidential election this year. Trump may have started out to disrupt the GOP, but somehow his continuing outrageous rhetoric has caught fire in the public, making him a serious contender.
Fulop taps Freehold resident for compliance officer
If Jersey City had to go to Freehold to hire a new compliance officer, why couldn’t Mayor Steven Fulop hire Bruce Springsteen?
The compliance officer is responsible for making sure that minorities get their fair share of city contracts and jobs. But with Jersey City considered one of the most diverse cities in the United States, why couldn’t Fulop find someone actually living in Jersey City to do the job?
Worse, with regard to public perception, the new compliance officer, Kevin Kane, also happens to be a politician – currently serving as a councilman in Freehold. On top of that, Kane also owns a contracting company of his own.
As councilman in Ward E, Fulop pushed to hire locally, and to require directors to actually live in the city where they work. But since becoming mayor, Fulop appears to have strayed from this, and has at other times brought out-of-town people to fill city posts – and in each case, they are politically involved in the towns they came from.
Critics, of course, believe this is part of Fulop’s campaign to become governor in 2017. These jobs are cover for building a brain trust of politically savvy people from areas where Fulop hopes to get support.
But if that’s the case, wouldn’t he still be better off with Springsteen?
No trash transfer station in Bayonne
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis has flatly refuted the rumor that he intends to allow a trash transfer station to open in Bayonne. The rumor came out of a recent move to allow cargo containers to be transported out of Global Terminals via rail.
“I’m supporting the transportation of cargo containers by rail because it reduces truck traffic in Bayonne,” he said. “I oppose any kind of trash transfer here.”
Jersey City Mayor Fulop tried to get a trash transfer operation in the Greenville Yards in 2014, but backed off the plan after strong opposition from the community.
Is Wefer running for freeholder?
Dana Wefer, who unsuccessfully ran for the Hoboken 4th Ward council seat in a three-way race last November, denied recently that she will be a candidate for freeholder against incumbent Anthony Romano.
Traditionally, the mayor of each town gets to select the freeholder that represents his or her town. Three years ago, the Hudson County Democratic Organization backed Phil Cohen, a candidate recommended by Mayor Dawn Zimmer. But Cohen ran a campaign that condemned county leadership for Hoboken’s high county taxes, embarrassing many of those who supported him. As a result, Romano was able to retain his seat with strong union support.
This year, the HCDO apparently isn’t taking any chances. The Democratic elite showed up in mass for a recent Romano fundraiser, sending a message that they will stand behind Romano regardless of whom Zimmer backs.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.