Winners & Losers: Bend the Knee, Wash Your Hands

 

(Wash your hands! Even after the Coronavirus ends!)

WINNERS:

Governor Murphy: Finally, Donald Norcross endorses Murphy for Governor. Well, that took long enough. But, before you cash it in, better check the fine print on that one.*

*Limit one per Norcross brother. Subject to high approval ratings, the Presidential primary, the outcome of the NJ state budget fight, the economy, a coronavirus outbreak, another Chen task force report, a deal on tax incentives, and/or new investigative journalism. Void where prohibited by law (enforcement). PS: Does this mean Gov Murphy is allowed back in Camden now?

Women Advocates: Women met at Newark Penn Station ahead of the Chamber Train for a defiant and powerful demonstration against misogyny, performing Un Violador En Tu Camino”. From the release: “The Chamber of Commerce’s train ride to Washington DC is only one symbolic gathering of what is wrong with NJ political culture. It is one example of many events at which men of power and privilege gather to exchange favors and gloat in their access to the levers of power.”

Fran Ehert: A deserved winner two weeks in a row. It’s hard to be an advocate. Even harder to tell the world your story of South Jersey party boss intimidation. And then, to follow it up with a powerful op/ed, reclaiming the narrative. Thank you, Fran, bonus points for being the first person to use the word “mansplaining” in an op/ed on NJ.com!

The EDA: We spent the better part of 2019 beating up on this rogue agency. But some signs things are changing: NJ has no tax incentive program, and things are just fine. Kudos to CEO Tim Sullivan for making a point to say it’s a priority to get it right this time. But we really want to know: does Jersey need a tax incentive program at all? The agency is also considering a “diversity fund” to boost minority-owned businesses. This could be promising, but as always, details matter. In the meantime, let’s be clear: we’d much rather see our tax dollars going to programs that lift up the hard work of those who have been historically marginalized, than towards more corporate welfare for politically-connected CEOs and their lawyers.

LOSERS:

“Unity” Rallies: Julie Roginsky said the quiet part out loud on Saturday. Spoiler, the Democratic establishment is terrified of the growing grassroots movement that’s onto them, and not going away. So they flew in one of the most powerful people in our federal government to defend a safe D seat during a high-stakes election year. This rally- with all its bells and whistles and national favors- was the best proof point yet that progressives are winning. (Also don’t get us started on the definition of “unity!” Kate Delany and Adam Sheridan have a few thoughts about that!)

Sweeney4Gov.com: After Saturday’s endorsement, this once-sought after domain is back on the market!

The Line: Progressive and good government activists are on high alert after more Democratic party leadership hint they are going to “decouple” the Presidential race from the rest of the down-ballot ticket. There are multiple petitions circulating, some rallies planned, and many outraged candidates and their supporters. Progressives are sick of ballot tricks. As Emmy Tiderington from Hudson County pointed out in her op/ed: “There can be no “line for me, but not for thee.” We should not allow the machine to have its lines and columns when they help their candidates, only to get rid of them when they do not. Menendez is right that the line has undue influence — not just on this election, but on all elections.”

South Jersey Smack-down: It’s incredible to see not one but TWO high-profile politicians speak out against the South Jersey machine this week. First, Cumberland County Freeholder Jack Surrency, who has been removed from The Line: “I’m my own man, always gonna be my own man, and that’s exactly why the voters of this county placed their trust in me. I will not take orders from an unelected party boss who is lining his pockets with taxpayer dollars via county contracts. Not gonna happen.” Wow. And then, Amy Kennedy’s campaign unleashed a severe smack-down of the Norcross machine: “Just outside our district in Camden, party bosses like George Norcross use money and old school patronage to control local parties, unions, and elected officials to ensure they do their bidding and grease the wheels to elect candidates who will support their financial and political agenda.”

2020 might show signs of olive branches for now, but we just don’t see this how this year will end amicably. We think it’s more “calm before storm” than “kumbaya.” Brace yourself.