Last December, Amy Kennedy, daughter-in-law of the late US Senator Ted Kennedy and wife of former Congressman from Rhode Island Patrick Kennedy published a statement that she was considering running for the Democratic nomination for the US House of Representatives seat from New Jersey’s Second Congressional District. All the Trenton conventional wisdom political savants ridiculed her and declared her campaign to be moribund from the outset.
After all, said the conventional wisdom kings and queens of the State House, how could Amy defeat Brigid Harrison, candidate endorsed by the supposedly omnipotent boss of the South Jersey Democrats, George Norcross III, together with his legislative enforcer, State Senate President Steve Sweeney, and six of the eight County Chairs residing within the district, all Norcross sycophants.
Political punditry is a hazardous profession. There are years where my predictions have been right on the money and others where I had been way off the mark.
I had no doubt regarding the ultimate success of Amy Kennedy, however. In December, I authored the column, “2020 – Sixty Years After Jack, An Historic Year for the Kennedys – In Massachusetts, and New Jersey! “(link follows):
In this column, I predicted that Amy would be elected to the US House of Representatives in 2020 and that in Massachusetts, Bobby Kennedy’s grandson, Congressman Joe Kennedy III would defeat incumbent US Senator Ed Markey in the Democratic Senatorial primary and go on to be elected to the US Senate in November. For good measure, I also prognosticated the future election of Joe Kennedy III as President of the United States.
Naturally, the State House Conventional Wisdom Club mocked me for this prediction and subjected me to ridicule.
I’m not intimidated by conventional wisdom and am nothing if not intrepid. So at the end of December, 2019, I authored a column, ”2020 will be the year of the African-American voter,” predicting not only that 1) Joe Biden would be nominated for President by the Democrats in 2020, propelled by the African-American vote, but also 2) he would be elected over President Donald Trump in a November landslide, with over 400 electoral votes. The link to the column follows.
Naturally, the State House Conventional Wisdom Club mocked me for this prediction as well.
And the State House Conventional Wisdom Club continued to deride New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy as a political neophyte who would ultimately be humiliated by the dynamic duo, the irresistible force of George Norcross III and Steve Sweeney.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump was intervening in the politics of the New Jersey Second Congressional District by persuading incumbent then-Democratic Representative Jeff Van Drew to switch parties and become a Republican. In January, 2020, Trump came to Wildwood and staged a rally on behalf of Van Drew. Since then, Van Drew has had one, and only one message: “I’m Donald Trump’s guy.”
The victory of Amy Kennedy yesterday was historic, marking an end to the political suzerainty that George Norcross III has enjoyed in South Jersey for three decades. He has now incurred continuing electoral defeats on both the New Jersey legislative and Congressional fronts over the past year and is extremely vulnerable to primary challenges from South Jersey progressives, led by Sue Altman.
And the Kennedy landslide over the pathetically declining forces of the Norcross Empire came during the same week that the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division dismissed a Norcross appeal seeking the reinstatement of his lawsuit against the governor. The suit claimed that the task force formed by Governor Murphy to investigate firms tied to Norcross was illegal. This task force specifically focused on incentives granted by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to the Norcross friendly firms.
More than anything else, after his Horatio Alger business success, Phil Murphy was inspired to pursue a political career by the example of his fellow Irish-American Massachusetts citizens, the Kennedys. It was hardly a surprise that the governor’s endorsement played a most significant role in Amy’s victory.
So now, in both the court of justice and the court of public opinion, Phil Murphy is beating the hell out of George Norcross III, reducing him to political rubble. And there is a perfect Alan Steinberg sports analogy to define the Murphy political destruction of Norcross.
In September 1952, Rocco Francis Marchegiano a/k/a Rocky Marciano from Brockton, Massachusetts, suburban Boston, went south to Philadelphia and won the World Heavyweight Championship by knocking out and dethroning Arnold Raymond Cream a/k/a Jersey Joe Walcott, a native of the city of Camden New Jersey and later the sheriff of Camden County.
In January, 2018, Phil Murphy, like Marciano a native of suburban Boston, became the governor of New Jersey and politically decisively dethroned George Norcross III, like Walcott, a native of Camden, New Jersey.
And in November, Jeff Van Drew is political toast, doomed to an overwhelming landslide defeat by Amy Kennedy by his self-imposed fervent identification with Donald Trump, the worst president in American history. It is both astonishing and outrageous that the State House Conventional Wisdom Club has anointed Van Drew as the early favorite.
Forget it. FORGET IT.
The State House Conventional Wisdom Club has rationalized its ludicrous early designation of Van Drew as the favorite over Kennedy by noting that the Second Congressional District has historically been better disposed towards Republican candidates than other areas of the Garden State.
Well, the State House Conventional Wisdom Club has now flunked New Jersey political history. The club members forget how in November, 1974, the incumbent Republican Congressman from that District Charles Sandman, a staunch defender of Richard Nixon was ousted by Democrat Bill Hughes.
Nixon had been previously forced to resign by the Watergate scandal in August, 1974, three months prior to the election of Bill Hughes, who went on to serve twenty years in the US House of Representatives, until the election of Republican Frank LoBiondo in 1994. And Richard Nixon qualified for sainthood as compared with Donald Trump.
As stated above, Jeff Van Drew has emphatically defined himself as “Donald Trump’s guy.” And Donald Trump has defined himself as America’s Number One Racist, attempting to win reelection by starting a race war with himself as the General in Charge of Bigotry.
Jeff Van Drew has proudly linked himself to Donald Trump, the champion of the Confederate flag, the emblem of African-American slavery in the antebellum South, just as the swastika was the emblem of antisemitic persecution in Nazi Germany.
Jeff Van Drew has defined himself as an acolyte of the exemplar of race hatred, Donald Trump, a lowlife who even mocks the noble effort to rename the NFL’s Washington Redskins and MLB’s Atlanta Braves.
Jeff Van Drew boasts of his connection to prevaricator-in-chief, anti-science Donald Trump, who stands guilty in the court of public opinion of criminal negligence in his brazen mismanagement of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Jeff Van Drew is now a passionate defender of Donald Trump, who has been exposed by his niece, Mary Trump as a dangerous sociopath.
In order to seriously believe that Donald Trump will be reelected, you have to be smoking one powerful brand of crack cocaine. And in order to believe that Jeff Van Drew will win reelection by overcoming his irrevocable link to Donald Trump, who qualifies for the KKK Man of the Year Award, you have to be the most self-delusionary fool in New Jersey.
So my predictions last winter of an Amy Kennedy Congressional election victory and a Joe Biden landslide presidential victory are both well on their way to fruition. And two Broadway songs can qualify as campaign anthems for South Jersey Democrats.
The first is “Once in Love with Amy,” sung by the late, great, Dino Paul Crocetti, a/k/a Dean Martin:
The second is “Camelot,” sung by the star of that musical, the late, great Richard Burton:
The year 2020 will be remembered nationally for the defeat of America’s worst and most dangerous president, Donald Trump, and the inception of a new Kennedy Camelot in Massachusetts – and in New Jersey.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.