We The People: Who will bear the GOP standard?

Who will bear the standard for the Grand Old Party in 2016? Governor Chris Christie, a survivor of Bridgegate, was accused of ordering still unexplained closings of access roads to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J. A man known for an authoritative and sometimes pugnacious style has not satisfactorily explained how the state police received an order to disrupt traffic for no good reason in the town of his political rival.

Mr. Christie has strengths: he is energetic, fiscally restrained and has millions of dollars in his campaign war chest. However, it is doubtful the plain-talking governor of a small state located in the Northeast can convince enough voters in the South or the West to choose him over Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney.

Nonetheless, insiders say big GOP money is poised to go to Jeb Bush or Chris Christie as the two most serious competitors to the likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The problem for the Republican Party will be to prevent its ultra-conservative fringe elements from undermining a moderate candidate who could actually win the White House.

Barack Obama’s defeat of Mitt Romney is a reminder that most Americans are alienated by big money and corporate influence as well as big money policies when they get a chance to vote. Mr. Christie may have enough appeal to working class and middle class voters in blue states to convince them to pull the lever for him.

Hispanic and Asian voters who were put off by xenophobic rhetoric in 2012 ignored Romney. Mr. Christie received 51 percent of the Hispanic vote in his successful reelection campaign. If the Republican Party wants to win the White House in 2016, it needs someone like Mr. Christie who is not ideologically rigid. It needs a Republican who can be like a Democrat!

Mr. Christie’s pro-life position as well as his ideas about the economy, education, gun regulation, climate change, health care and immigration will determine if he can survive a Republican primary. It is unlikely that he can survive the conservative gauntlet to be considered for the job in November, 2016.

The Republican Party has a disconnect with working class and middle class voters who suffered through the Great Recession. The Republican National Committee issued a Growth and Opportunity report which recognized the GOP’s difficulty in getting support from the people who make up the majority of voters in the United States.

People who work want economic and social policies that help them. The GOP also has a demographic problem in national elections and needs a major shift in policy toward accepting new Americans.

It is hard to garner support with immigrants and recent immigrants when you are always trying to spend more money to build a wall around the country to keep people out. A proper policy of immigration with a path to citizenship and enforcement of existing laws would stop illegal immigration. The RNC report recognized that, without changes, the party’s appeal will continue to shrink to a small core of constituents.

Mr. Christie has serious blue-collar appeal; however, to date he has avoided hot topics like immigration. If the GOP is serious about winning the White House in 2016, it will have to select and support a candidate like Chris Christie and avoid forcing him into an ideological straitjacket.

If the candidate is picked by the Tea Party, the next Republican nominee — whoever is selected — will lose, because the tired and out-of-touch messages used by the party in the past will not appeal to voters.

The voters in our congressional district should notice a problem with incumbent Michael Grimm’s reelection campaign literature. The newest mailings photo-shop clown makeup onto challenger Domenic Recchia in a scurrilous appeal to the basest emotions of voters.

Do the Republicans believe that name-calling is a substitute for debate and discussion of issues? If Mr. Recchia is a “clown” because Mayor Bloomberg forced a property tax increase through the City Council during his tenure in City Hall, then what does that make Michael Grimm for threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony, for associating with a political campaign fundraiser convicted of campaign fraud or for being the subject of a 20-count indictment for fraud in federal court? Remember, empty barrels make the most noise.

The New York Post reported that U.S. attorney Preet Bharara just opened d an investigation of State Senator Marty Golden’s campaign finances. The Moreland Commission was gathering information about $541,599 that Golden’s campaign paid to the Bay Ridge Manor over the last 10 years. The Manor was owned by Mr. Golden but he sold it to his brother in 2002. U.S. Attorney Bharara promised to continue the anti-corruption investigations initiated by the commission after it was dissolved by Governor Cuomo.

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