Winners & Losers: No One’s First Rodeo

Trumpism came to Jersey this week, and we realized it’d been there all along

But, so too have the advocates. And we’re only getting stronger, more fierce, and it’s becoming very clear we have to fight to save our Democracy.

We’re all in.

WINNERS

Tax Incentive Task Force: $11 Million in clawbacks! But from which companies? We are truly disappointed we don’t know which companies to applaud, and who could use a protest. (Though we have a feeling $11 million will be hard to keep a secret for very long.)

Seasoned Protesters: Three years into the Trump era, and it’s no one’s first rodeo. Thirty grassroots organizations, led by Cape May County Indivisible, protested outside of the Wildwood Convention Center during the Trump rally. Activists braved below zero temperatures, cold winds, obnoxious Trump supporters heckling from the boardwalk, a long walk down a trash-strewn “MAGA Boulevard,” and even an attempt to pop the Baby Trump blow-up balloon. Nevertheless, we persisted. Most inspiring: the incredible candidates running in CD2 for Jeff Van Drew’s seat. Will County Chairs have an open process? Or will they pull a Jersey version of “no witnesses?” 

Grassroots Activists from Two Cities: Working Families sent a letter to two governors, which we now know has been referred to the new comptroller, Kevin Walsh. Welcome to the job, Mr. Walsh, put down your coat, grab a coffee, and here’s a massive agency with a long history of corruption to investigate! (DRPA highlights include: an amazing story of “accidentally erased emails after a federal subpoena in 2014, two inspector generals who quit due to stonewalling by the board, and a judge that has called DRPA’s bidding process “Kafkaesque) Good luck Mr. Walsh!

Protests as a Form of Patriotism: Sixty years ago today, four Black college students launched the Greensboro Lunch Counter sit-in protests, which sparked a wave of civil disobedience across the country. Protesters faced attacks, threats of violence, racist taunts. It took six long months for Woolworth’s to desegregate its lunch counter, and the fight for justice continues. It’s a good day to remember that NJ’s schools are among the most segregated in the country.

LOSERS:

NJ Homeowners: A top-ranking we can do without Jersey leads the nation in foreclosures. A grim reminder that we remain a great state for the wealthy, but a tough place for everyone else. So why then does our legislature remain so deeply concerned about the plights of millionaires in mansions, but not folks facing foreclosure? This is the crisis we should be concerned with, not imaginary “millionaire flight.”

Camden City: At a time when City services (and assets) are being pushed to County control, there remain zero Camden City residents on the Freeholder Board. Instead of having a full, transparent screening process (as promised) and elevating new progressives with new perspectives (yeah right!), Camden County Democratic Committee circled the wagons once again and promoted a longtime DRPA employee who also sits on the Board of Taxation. Same old, dusty playbook. Camden County Freeholders: No competitive races in the primary, no competitive races in the general, and a budget of tens of millions of dollars. As Steven Hart (via Kate Delany) reminds us, “These twenty-one miniature kingdoms are a matchless avenue for dispensing patronage.”

Failures of Democracy Great and Small: From the US Senate’s cowardly refusal to hear witnesses to the Camden County Democratic Committee “consigliere” duo of Bill Tambussi and Lou Cappelli running the Camden County freeholder selection process in less than 5 minutes flat (despite having a selection committee?! We’re confused…), failures of Democracy are alive and well. And yes, these things are connected- and not just in theory. Fun fact: Norcross lawyer Bill Tambussi used to be Trump’s lawyer! We suppose one must have a certain level of comfort with lies and fraud to be an architect in both of these organizations.

Chris Christie covering Trump impeachment on ABC: As Lizzie Foley asked on Twitter, “Did someone tell you that corrupt politicians are the best experts on political corruption?” Ugh, just no.

Shavar Jefferies: The President of Democrats for Education Reform and former Mayor of Newark can’t remember if he spoke to George Norcross about running for Governor. Are we the only ones hoping for a primary? Bring it on!

Best Piece about NJ’s Political Hypocrisy: Great job Jay Lassiter, for hilariously reminding us this morning that there are double standards in NJ politics.