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The Bell Tolls for Machine Politics in Garden State

garden state politics and indictments united states senate

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and his wife Nadine (L) Menendez depart a Manhattan court following an arraignment on charges in a federal bribery case against them: March 11, 2024 - New York City. Menendez and his wife are accused of taking bribes in exchange for using Menendez's position to help Egypt's government, and other acts.  (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Bernard Kerik By Thursday, 04 April 2024 05:36 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The establishment political machine is facing an existential threat in New Jersey.

This is a sign that the American people are in the process of retaking their power, versus the government's.

This year’s U.S. Senate race in the Garden State highlights just how dire the situation has become for party bosses who've controlled politics in New Jersey for as long as anyone can remember.

On the Democratic side, the governor’s wife, Tammy Murphy, was expected to glide to a coronation on the strength of her deep pockets and her husband’s ability to dole out favors.

Rather, she was forced to drop out of the race long before a single ballot was cast, after it became clear that her money and connections were not going to be enough to buy her the U.S. Senate currently occupied by "Gold Bar Bob" Menendez, who faces, along with his wife, several weighty criminal charges.

Not long after Mrs. Murphy’s withdrawal, a judge overturned New Jersey’s one-of-a-kind "county line" ballot design, which intentionally gives party bosses enormous power to impact the outcomes of primary elections.

Under this more than highly questionable system, party committees in each county select one candidate to appear front and center on the ballot, while relegating the others to what is often referred to as "Ballot Siberia."

We’re still waiting to find out whether the judge’s ruling will apply to both parties.

Right now, it only applies to Democrats.

You can bet Republican party bosses are fighting tooth and nail to maintain the primary source of their power.

Grassroots candidates are fighting equally hard to level the playing field.

And that’s where things really get interesting.

The race for the Republican nomination has been narrowed to two candidates.

One is Mendham Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner, a pro-Trump candidate with strong name recognition and an impressive resume in both business and public service.

The other is Curtis Bashaw, a millionaire hotelier and developer who has repeatedly opposed Donald Trump and has donated tens of thousands of dollars over the years to support Democratic candidates.

At one point, he was even an appointee of Democratic Governor James McGreevey, who resigned from office, in the midst of a scandal.

Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, and undoubtedly smarting from consistent criticism of his never-Trump history, Bashaw heaved a Hail Mary Wednesday morning with a half-hearted endorsement of his party’s presumptive nominee.

The timing almost certainly had nothing to do with the Republican debate taking place the same night, which Bashaw had initially agreed to attend before chickening out.

Bashaw was probably wise to withdraw from the debate, which had promised to shine an unwelcome spotlight on his history as an establishment elitist and would-be political insider.

He would have had to answer, first and foremost, for his long-established opposition to Trump. Before he was trying to attract conservative votes, Bashaw donated generously to Gary Johnson’s quixotic candidacy in 2016.

In 2020, he promoted an article describing then-President Trump as "a real threat to democracy."

Most recently, he contributed $3,300 to Chris Christie’s explicitly anti-Trump presidential campaign.

Let’s be real.

You can’t give thousands of dollars to Chris Christie and support Donald Trump.

Obviously, actions speak louder than words, and Bashaw’s actions show him to be a hardcore never-Trumper who is running for the Senate as a Chris Christie puppet.

This is especially relevant in an election cycle where recent polling shows Trump has a real chance to win deep-blue New Jersey — the whole GOP ticket will suffer if Trump is running on the same party line as a committed never Trumper.

Bashaw would have been on the defensive on other fronts, as well.

For example, he would have had to explain why he went into business with a state-run Chinese construction company that was subsequently blacklisted by President Trump in 2019 for its links to the Chinese military.

He claims he divested from the company, but not before he did business with the Chinese Communists for two years.

He also would have had to defend the tens of thousands of dollars in tax abatements he received for a lavish New York City apartment he owns.

Such abatements are only allowed for full-time residents of New York City, raising the question of whether Bashaw fudges on his taxes, or running for Senate questionably by seemingly (not properly/correctly) claiming to be a resident of New Jersey.

Bashaw has attempted to blame that "oversight" on a property manager, but that cop-out would never fly in a debate, during which he would have been pressed by his opponent as well as the debate moderators to offer better answers.

The fact is that Curtis Bashaw is a New York Democrat who is pretending to be a New Jersey Republican in order to defend the power structure of party bosses and establishment insiders like himself.

But his timing couldn’t be worse, because this year ordinary New Jersey citizens from across the political spectrum are flexing their political muscles and taking a stand against the machine politics that have driven my home state into the ground.

We the People are sick and tired of kickbacks and bribes lining the pockets of the wealthy and well-connected, at the expense of hard-working families, as we've just seen with the allegations Sen. Bob Menendez, and his wife, now face.

We’re tired of backroom deals and smoke-filled rooms.

If We the People can take power back from the political establishment in the Garden State, we can absolutely do so nationally.

Bernard B. Kerik was the 40th Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department and is a New York Times bestselling author. Read Bernard Kerik's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

This year ordinary New Jersey citizens across the political spectrum are flexing their political muscles and taking a stand against the machine politics that have driven my home state into the ground.
christie, gop, chinese
Thursday, 04 April 2024 05:36 AM
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