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SPARTA – Americans can be a cynical lot, but that tends to be more apparent during times of turbulent politics. Rep. Mikie Sherrill on Tuesday told a group of Democrats at a fundraising brunch that she’s seeing a troubling level of cynicism when it comes to the possible impeachment of Donald Trump.
Some say other presidents have done the same as Trump, she said.
“That’s not true,” Sherrill said, adding that Trump’s apparent request of a foreign government to investigate Joe Biden, a political rival, crossed a “bright line.”
She made the comments before about 50 people who had gathered in a private home to back Democratic Assembly candidates Dan Smith and Deana Lykins in the 24th District. The Republican incumbents are Hal Wirths and F. Parker Space.
History is important here – actually recent history.
The near impeachment of Richard Nixon, who of course resigned before that happened, occurred before Sherrill’s time, but it offers some guidance. Those alive back then, including this writer, vividly recall that Nixon’s defenders asserted that his actions mirrored those of some previous presidents. That was a pretty flimsy excuse to be sure. It’s unpersuasive to defend the wrongdoing of one individual by pointing to the alleged wrongdoing of another – even if such wrongdoing did occur.
Still, it’s not surprising to see the same thing occurring today.
Sherrill had opposed impeachment, but changed her mind to support an inquiry after news about Ukraine broke.
She described the ongoing battle as a “fight (on) how we go forward as a country.”
Polls indicate growing public support for impeachment, although that can certainly change. Sherrill. mindful there are more registered Republicans in her 11th District than Democrats, nonetheless said she sees the same thing in her home turf, judging from mail and other interaction with constituents.
The official reason for Sherrill’s trip to the northern reaches of her district was to help Smith and Lykins. Sherrill said she knows about running in a tough district. Maybe. But not like this one. Republicans in the district outnumber Democrats by 30,000.
Lykins and Smith said they’re going door-to-door and stressing local issues, or more specifically, the need for Sussex County to get more attention from Trenton.
That can cut both ways politically. It can be seen as criticism of Legislative Republicans who represent the district, but also of Democrats who run the state.
Smith stressed the need to expand public transportation in the district, bemoaning the absence of train and bus service in most locales.
If nothing else, Smith had a good line, saying Republicans are free to represent the “1 percent” as long as Democrats represent the 99 percent. He has to wish people will vote that way.
Democrats can take heart from the congresswoman standing in front of them and also from the region’s other member of Congress – Josh Gottheimer. As “red” as Sussex is, Democrats represent the entire county in the House.
Bill Hart of Frankford Township said Democratic progress in Sussex is not “revolutionary,” but “evolutionary.”
It’s not a bad observation. Then again, evolution can take hundreds, if not thousands, of years before real change takes place.