Tue. May 17th, 2022

On Nov. 5th, New Jersey’s incumbent Governor Chris Christie breezed to an easy win against Democratic candidate Barbara Buono. The win came as no surprise, but has had implications on our current political discourse. Christie won 57 percent of the women’s vote, 48 percent percent of the Hispanic vote, 20 percent of the African American vote, even winning over 31 percent of registered democrats. These statistics are a rare feat in a liberal state such as New Jersey and are a testament to Christie’s persona.
Though he is brash , especially to reporters and teachers, with an unsavory habit of yelling at constituents, he is a charismatic speaker that the people feel they can relate to. Additionally, he possesses the characteristics of a leader, which was evident after he demanded that (the federal government) FEMA provides enough aid to restore and rebuild the devastated state of New Jersey.
In lieu of Hurricane Sandy, Governor Christie really made his mark to many outside observers. In the midst of what seemed to be a close Presidential election between President Obama and Governor Romney, Christie put politics aside and greeted President Obama, welcoming him to a ravaged Jersey Shore. In the eyes of many it was that iconic moment that defined Christie’s perception as a bipartisan leader, despite criticizing President Obama weeks earlier.
As a result of Christie’s hospitality – Republicans essentially took offense, as they have deliberately not invited him to events that many other Republican leaders and figures were asked to attend. This cohort of further right-winged Republicans have been apoplectic with Christie’s need to criticize an abundance of their actions. Christie has not only been outspoken against people within his own party, but with almost everyone, which is arguably just part of his nature.
With the Tea Party movement expanding, pushing the Republican base further to the right, it begs the question: is there room left for moderate Republicans? Clearly, perception triumphed over policy in this particular election, as many of Christie’s policies are indeed very much conservative ones. He has fought tooth and nail against the NJEA and teacher’s unions, been outspoken against gay marriage, and pushed conservative fiscal policies, among other underlying issues. At the same time, he has championed moderation by supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and saying yes to gun control. With speculation that Governor Christie will run for President, it is hard to say if he is too moderate to be the Presidential nominee for the Republican ticket.
Chances are he won’t be able to win in Republican primary states such as Iowa and South Carolina, but he may have a better shot in a state such as New Hampshire. Christie will likely encounter Tea Party affiliates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others on his voyage to a nomination for the ticket. Would the base fare better against a Democratic candidate with a more moderate conservative such as Christie, or a further rightwing candidate such as Cruz or Paul? If Tuesday night’s election was indicative of anything, it was that the people have spoken, and have shown that Christie can extend to a further constituency than that of his Republican counterparts. With the landscape of voters gradually shifting to a younger demographic and minorities (both typically more liberal), the party must adapt to capture voters, and Christie might just be the guy to do it to put the Republican Party back in the Oval Office.
Evan Smith is a fourth-year student majoring in political science and minoring in communications. He can be reached at ES777403@wcupa.edu. 

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