Charles Pierce is sputtering over the 31 percent of self-described liberals who voted for Chris Christie on Tuesday.
There is no reason on god’s earth why a self-identified liberal would vote for Chris Christie. He’s a tool of the ascendant oligarchy, awful on women’s rights, terrible on infrastructure, very high on union-busting, and a short-tempered, thin-skinned bully into the bargain. If you’re a New Jersey Democratic legislator who needs a little somethin’-somethin’, I can see why you would support him. But 31 percent of liberals? Please. Because of that number, and because he also got 32 percent of the overall Democratic vote, the Christie ’16 narrative is now set in stone. He’s the Obamist candidate who can bring folks together. He can end the “divisiveness” in our politics, which will be a way for us to anesthetize ourselves to the reality that one of our two major political parties determined that the nation would not be governed by a black man. We will all move on to glory together because of Chris Christie’s healing hand.
I can’t spy I’m terribly surprised, because Christie somehow has done a bang-up job keeping his social wingnuttiness under the radar. I’ve met people I know to be liberals, living here in the Greater New York City area, who have decided Christie is an OK guy. They genuinely have no idea how right-wing he really is. They often assume he is an Obama supporter.
Had the New Jersey Democratic Party establishment actually run against Christie rather than throw their candidate under the bus, there is no doubt in my mind that election would have been a lot tighter. Christie would still have been the likely winner, but not 60 to 38 percent, or whatever it was. And were it not for Hurricane Sandy, it would have been a real race.
Here’s the point: I think Christie would find a national campaign a lot less forgiving, especially since the national Dem party is not going to be so accommodating. He’ll still be given a lot of passes by news media, but one hopes there would be some opportunities to force him to take public stands on abortion and marriage rights and other social issues.
Christie’s other vulnerabilities are that a big chunk of the GOP base hates him as a RINO. And I’m also not sure how well his New Jersey tough boy shtick will wear West of Pennsylvania.
So, while Chris Christie certainly looks like the most viable candidate the Republicans might rally behind in 2016, he’s not invulnerable. And he’s going to have a fight on his hands for the nomination.
Update: See also Chris Christie: All Coat, No Tail by Dave Weigel. The results of the NJ governor’s race do not tell the whole story.