Yesterdayâ€™s election in New Jersey proved to be a field day for incumbents. In the State Senate, all but three of the incumbents running for office were re-elected, while in the State Assembly, only one incumbent was booted. The obvious â€œtakeawayâ€ (I so hate that term) is that everything is just fine with the state of the State of New Jersey, thank you very much.
The more subtle â€œtakeawayâ€ is that the current state of affairs is fine with the majority of the 25 to 30% of the registered voters who actually bothered to show up at the polls to vote. And, in my view, most of them have some sort of a financial or political stake in maintaining the status quo.
For the 70 to 75% of you registered voters in Jersey who believe that being informed means never missing your favorite â€œRealityâ€ show and who couldnâ€™t drag your ass away from Oprah or your soap operas long enough to vote, I have the following bit of flash traffic for you:
By not staying informed and by not voting, you have waived your bitching rights. The next time a truckload of Trenton political rats is carted away in cuffs, or the next time your taxes are raised to the point of making you puke, kindly spare me your whiny bullshit. Donâ€™t waste my goddamned time. You had your chance to change things, and you blew it.
A teeny-weeny ray of hope did appear in the election. Those who found the time to come to the polls voted down the referendum that would have played a shell game with the sales tax to enable further tinkering with the other shell game known as the â€œproperty tax rebate.â€ They also nixed the stateâ€™s borrowing of $450 million to fund stem cell research, a project so favored by the Governor that, at the eleventh hour, he tossed in $150 thousand of his own money for advertisements. Apparently, even many democrats are awakening to the reality of the stateâ€™s dire financial straits and did not fall for the ads that tried to turn a bond issue into a referendum on compassion or a lack thereof for people afflicted with tragic medical conditions.
I should also note that in several districts there were no incumbents running for office, due either to retirements or resignations of incumbents (often relating to ongoing criminal investigations or prosecutions), and, as such, there will be some new faces in the legislature. While, at first blush, it might appear as if that could signal the possibility of reform, I donâ€™t believe it will happen. Once the newbies hit Trenton, the well-entrenched, recently re-elected good olâ€™ boys will show them how things work in Jersey government, and the newly elected (in most cases, after having been finically backed by the controlling party) will go along to get along. It will be more of the same olâ€™ crap.
Look for yet more Garden Staters to simply pack up and get outta Dodge.