Presidential Primaries

Downfall of Christie and the Future of the Republican Party

In October of 2013, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, was the most celebrated choice for the Republican nomination on the 2016 presidential ticket. He enjoyed an astonishing approval rating of 61% in this month, before the George Washington Bridge scandal involving Mayor Mark Sokolich, in Fort Lee broke every news outlet in the country about two months after October. Since the scandal was discovered, Governor Christie’s approval rating has continuously receded. In fact, according to Politico.com, 23% of Americans now see the New Jersey Governor in positive light, while only 29% view him negative light. The magnitude of Americans who view him in a negative light jumped up by 17 percentage points in just 2 short months. The likelihood of Governor Christie’s presidential nomination is seemingly grim considering the facts that are continuously surfacing since the GWB scandal broke.

In December, Governor Christie and his administration were accused of closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge in order to punish democratic Mayor, Mark Sokolich, for his opposition to Governor Christie in the gubernatorial race. Governor Christie has denied all of these allegations and has stated that he had no involvement in the closures. As the story has progressed more information has surfaced that is pointing the finger at Governor Christie for being privy about these lane closures. David Wildstein – a former New Jersey Port Authority official and former Governor Christie ally – recently spoke out that the lane closures were ordered by the Governor Christie administration and that the Governor was directly tied. The Governor is continuously being slammed by the media and the New Jersey public for these allegations as there is a continuous stream of evidence and witness’ willingly coming forward to speak out against the Governor and his administration.

A once heavily favored candidate for the Republican nomination on the presidential ticket, Governor Christie now seems very unlikely to even get past the primaries. This is an extreme disadvantage for the Republican party because Governor Christie has been known to be a heavy advocate for bipartisan cooperation on political issues plaguing the country. His exit from the stage as a possible Republican candidate has the possibility to be a serious detrimental threat to the republican ticket because there aren’t too many genuine contenders thus far, who don’t affiliate with the grassroots Tea Party GOP.  For most Americans who associate themselves with the Republican Party, but not with the far right extremist Tea Party side, Governor Christie seems like a beneficial choice for the presidential nomination. Back in the early days of Hurricane Sandy relief the New Jersey governor accepted relief aid from the White House and hosted President Barack Obama when he came to the state for a visit. After accepting the relief money conservative extremists criticized Governor Christie for welcoming support from the White House. The Republican Party could use a nominee and leader that doesn’t have a problem with moderatism, and isn’t going to criticize its members for bipartisan cooperation. The big question for republicans in this country, following this scandal, that they need to start addressing is whether or not they want a candidate that would abuse his power so recklessly for the sake of punishing a political rival.  Would these actions carry over into higher office? Who would suffer in that case? In recent years we have seen far too much of this, the government shutdown in early October of 2013 shows this principle in effect all too well. If we were to find ourselves electing a clear power-abusive president we would without a doubt see no progress whatsoever with the congressional gridlock that’s taking place on Capitol Hill right now. There would be a continuous cycle of the executive branch checking the legislative branch, and vice versa, without any significant legislation being passed.

Imagine for a second if Governor Christie did end up getting elected on the ballot, a democrat like Hillary Clinton would inevitably crush him in an election race. With someone who has been involved in the scandalous type behavior Governor Christie is being associated with, making the cut to be on the presidential ballot would be rare but if he did his opposition would walk all over him and it would end in a massive blowout. The probability of Governor Christie even coming remotely close to being put on this ballot now is slim, but there is the question of who else? Far right Tea Party Extremist, Ted Cruz or Rand Paul? The vast majority of Americans wouldn’t allow such a narrow minded executive to lead their country for fear of guiding our country in the wrong direction.  In short, as these stories develop, and we see more legitimate evidence that Governor Christie lied about his involvement in this scandal, his name will only be slandered further, ultimately leading to the downfall of his presidential aspirations. The question arises now, who will the Republican Party implement now for a presidential nomination?

 

Written by: Neil Harrington