Gee whiz! complete wipe out for Rothman in the 9th. I so wish Rothman had decided to run against Garrett instead of Pascrell. No matter the outcome, that would have been a heck of a race, and one certainly worth fighting. Running against Pascrell instead didn’t sit well with too many people – even me. Although Steve has been a family friend for many years, I couldn’t support him this time around.
On another note, I totally don’t understand what is up with the Bergen County Democratic organization. BCDO seems to feel that county Democrats are humble lapdogs that will roll over, sit up or beg when our party leadership whistles. But, this is the second important election where The People have shown that they possess an independent, collective will and desire and when that doesn’t exactly coincide with the agenda and candidates the county machine is pushing, voters can and will either stay home or vote against the party’s choice. Speaking of which, it’s worth mentioning that “the push” itself seems nowhere near hard enough. Only a few days ago did Rothman signs start to be visible in the area. And only a couple of brief weeks ago did the party get Rothman to begin making appearances in Passaic County. Pascrell’s team, by contrast, made sure their candidate was visible at all times; they had zillions of volunteers out canvassing constantly, tirelessly and skillfully; and the Congressman himself was both physically and frequently accessible to the people whose votes he courted. This demonstrated Pascrell’s appreciation for the people he represents and a clear willingness to be accountable to his constituents on a truly personal level. The only other federal politicians I’ve seen be so attentive and engaged with their constituents are President Obama and Senator Menendez, and it’s probably a big part of the reason voters chose Pascrell over Rothman by a 3 to 1 ratio.
Diversity is an issue too. I personally don’t see that the practice of disenfranchising ethnic minority members from candidacy is working so well for the party as a strategy. Even though running an all White slate is one of the moves that contributed to the Dems getting almost wiped out of Bergen County politics in the 2010 elections, in yesterday’s primary BCDO ran freeholder candidates from two very different towns socially – working class North Arlington and wealthy Franklin Lakes – but they are both White. A few months ago when I questioned the new county chairman about this choice, he replied that since Tracy Zor is a woman the slate can technically be considered diverse. But, not everyone agrees with this definition. Considering that ethnic minorities comprise a full 1/3 of the county according to 2010 Census data, and that low voter turnout can be regarded as a lack of enthusiasm for supporting the party, is it too much to ask that going forward BCDO seriously consider taking a different tack – and run some truly diverse slates of candidates?