Regardless of the outcome of this year’s presidential campaign, Trumpists and Trumpism shall live on within the GOP. The party leadership shall remain in Trumpist hands, and speculation is already rampant as to who will be the GOP presidential nominee in 2024.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie still yearns for the Oval Office. Wouldn’t it be great to invite his buddy, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to spend weekends with their families at Camp David?
Chris, however, will never come close to the GOP presidential nomination. He is mistrusted by the GOP parafascist populist Right, because he failed to appoint reactionary voter suppression supporters to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
This is a point of merit for Bovine Chris personally, but a disqualifier for the GOP national ticket. So we will never have a President Chris Christie, and the dreams of his lead acolyte, Bill Sancho Panza Palatucci for lead presidential wise man shall remain unfulfilled.
Vice President Mike Pence has set a national record for a vice president fawning over his president. I do envy Trump for that: nobody in my entire life has ever given me the looks of adoration Pence gives Donald Trump every day.
But Mike Pence has one overriding problem. He and his wife, Karen, are viewed as kooks, even within the Evangelical friendly GOP.
Karen teaches at a born-again Washington-area school that sends students to a Creation Museum which teaches that Planet Earth is just 6,000 years old and that humans coexisted with dinosaurs. Good old Mike opposes the teaching of evolution in biology classes.
So Mike will fall short, and the leading GOP presidential candidate for 2024 is Arkansas US Senator Tom Cotton.
At 43, Cotton, an undergraduate and law school alumnus of Harvard and a decorated Army combat veteran has already attained lifetime gold membership in the Oswald Mosley parafascist authoritarian faction of the National Republican Party. This was confirmed by his recent op-ed, “Send In the Troops,”. which the New York Times published on line but not in their print edition.
This Cotton column advocated sending our military into our cities in response to individuals protesting the brutal racist murder of George Floyd. The column was typical of the views of Cotton, which reflect a philosophy of unbridled xenophobia, authoritarianism, parafascism, and racism.
Cotton, however, is much more dangerous than Trump. The Arkansas Senator politically can be a dangerous lion and fox, while Trump is experiencing his downfall largely because he is an ass.
And in New Jersey, we have a Republican State Assemblyman who has been both an acolyte and clone of Tom Cotton: His law school classmate, Jay Webber, for whom Cotton has campaigned in the past for both the State Assembly and the US House of Representatives.
And last Monday, June 8, Jay Webber boosted his stature as a 2024 Cotton ambassador.
Webber called for a criminal citation to be issued against Governor Phil Murphy for participating on Sunday, June 7 in two marches protesting the racist murder of George Floyd, said marches allegedly violating Murphy’s own Executive Orders regarding social distancing.
To be sure, Murphy’s two orders were seriously flawed in that they did not provide an exemption for political protests. He remedied the defect on Tuesday, June 9, by issuing an order exempting political protests from the state’s rules on outdoor gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak. Murphy would be well advised to issue a blanket pardon for all those who violated his orders by participating in political protests.
Had Webber called for Murphy to issue this exemption on the day after the marches, he would have been on solid political ground. By attempting to criminalize Murphy’s participation in a noble protest march, however, Jay Webber engaged in contemptible appeals to racism existing in New Jersey.
And by his foolhardy action, Jay Webber played into Phil Murphy’s greatest strength: The Governor’s unassailable character for morality and courage in a time of public crisis, both health and racial.
Phil Murphy has at times acted awkwardly in his management of the Coronavirus crisis. Yet by placing the needs of health above wealth. and resisting powerful special interest pressures to prematurely reopen the economy, Murphy has proven his political courage beyond any reasonable doubt.
And by his participation in the two George Floyd protest marches and by his appointment of an African-American woman, Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the Supreme Court, Governor Murphy has proven himself to be a leader most committed to ending the systemic racism that has afflicted New Jersey African-Americans in the criminal justice, economic, and the environmental realms since the days of Reconstruction.
By contrast, since the murder of George Floyd, the reaction to the tragedy from New Jersey Republicans can best be described as the silence of the GOP lambs.
And the Webber attempt to define Murphy’s participation in the George Floyd marches as a crime will only further destroy the politically toxic brand the Republican party has in the African-American community.
There is a remarkable political irony to all this.
The morality and courage of Murphy, plus the further deterioration of the Republican brand in the African-American community caused by Webber will doubtless have the effect of increasing and solidifying African-American support for Murphy throughout the state. Any decrease in Murphy’s job approval ratings in the white community caused by the economic lock-down will be more than offset by Murphy’s increased African-American support.
And there is only one New Jersey Republican that appears to have in the near future the potential to slow down the deterioration of the GOP brand among New Jersey African-Americans. That person is Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield from New Jersey’s Eighth Legislative District.
The day after the murder of George Floyd, Stanfield authored a column, “Our Black Community Has Withstood Trauma for Too Long.” https://www.insidernj.com/black-community-withstood-trauma-long/ In this article, Jean recounted her lifetime of commitment to racial reconciliation, both as a public official and as an attorney. That discussion of her experience, however, was not the most impressive aspect of the column.
The experience of having a biracial family has enabled Jean to develop a sense of empathy to both black and white New Jersians. This has resulted in Jean Stanfield becoming the conscience of the New Jersey Republican Party in the same fashion as Senator Mitt Romney of Utah has at the national level. Jean’s biracial empathy and professional competency makes her a genuine asset in these troubled times, both governmentally and politically to New Jersey Republicans.
Memo to all 2021 Republican candidates for governor: Jean Stanfield is by far the most effective lieutenant governor running mate you could designate. Just do it!
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.