“When a Democrat gets elected President, local communities tend to become more conservative.”
These words were spoken to me by a Police Officer in Saratoga Springs New York in 1993 when the Clinton presidency was in its infancy and he ( Clinton, not the cop ) was fighting over gays in the military. He said it to me in the context of getting into bars, and how as an underage person that might prove more difficult for me than I had hoped during my sophomore year ( I was living up there while attending college at Skidmore ). But It always stuck with me because as I watched over the next few years his prognostication turned out to be spot-on.
A year later Republican George Pataki swept into office, and bruiser Joe Bruno of neighboring Rensselaer County took over as Senate Majority Leader. Upstate voters had finally revolted against policies that they viewed as sucking money and resources into that liberal vortex of New York City. A new era had dawned in Albany and upstate Repubs were in control.
There might be a parallel to help explain the Christie victory here, and it might portend trouble for Democrats going forward. The NJ Senate and Assembly races are still about a year and three quarters away, but Democrats may find themselves playing defense. This time the Democrat is Obama, and some might see him as overreaching, just as the good people of the early 1990’s thought Clinton was doing.
That means now that John Wisniewski ( aka “The Wiz” ) has taken over as DSC Chair he will need to outline a strategic vision and strategy.
A coupla things to note here…after the 2010 census the legislative map will be redrawn so that is a bit of a wild card which is hard to predict. But, The Dems already have a bit of “structural deficit” themselves. As Blue Jersey and others have noted, the Democratic party is losing Jon Corzine’s money as the glue that holds the various interest groups together. Disappointments on the left over failure to push hard on gay marriage only makes that potential gap in fundraising and showing up at the polls a larger possibility.
Democrats need to be prepared to articulate why they are still the safer choice. Because with Obama in the White House, voters may think enough is already getting done to protect the most vulnerable and its time to elect some local folks who will look after them. That could spell an advantage for the opposition party.