It is a cancer upon our state, the most undemocratic means of ensuring the victory. Since the 1970s when District 17 was first defined, we have been gerrymandered to guarantee the result. What the public may not realize is that typically in this instance, the parties choose a “sacrifice candidate” to take the fall. That is to say, someone who is naive to the political process and unaware of their doomed fate.
It is not solely collusion between the parties that makes gerrymandering so successful, but your behavior as voters as well. For the party leaders know your behaviors as voters. No, they don’t know specifically who you voted for previously. But each of you can be defined as a likely voter (0-5) and which way you lean (Hard Republican/Weak Republican/Swing/Weak Democrat/Hard Democrat). The public’s ambivalence to read up on who they are voting for and vote straight down the line is quite effective. In short, your politicians understand your human behaviors on a large scale and benefit from it.
Now you’re thinking “Maybe your using it on me?” No, I wouldn’t do that. I want to see you succeed. And the reality is, I didn’t want to run but I’ve been forced to defend the children from Common Core*/PARCC. Secondarily and more to the point…I’m just the guy to pick up the curtain with the wizard behind it.
A most terrible thing happens when your party has never lost in 50 years: You become domesticated. Thus begins the terrible pathway to ignoring your base constituents, not showing up at events, and weak door knocking. How can one truly represent the people if not in their midst? “It’s gerrymandered, why work for it?” When you’ve won that many times, you abstain in voting when it is convenient and not have repercussions.
Lost in all of this is the reality that gerrymandering prevents some truly wonderful people from rising to the top of voters’ attention. For the conceding party just opts to not give money or refer donors to sacrifice candidates. Starving one of funds is quite effective, for you can’t have advertising or literature without some means of money.
I’m not sure how this election will turn out, but I do find it interesting that somehow this rowboat that is my campaign team is making the incumbent move. Sometimes money isn’t everything. And yes, the pen is mightier than the sword.
5 weeks. I hope you are all busy little bees and reading up on your candidates.
*Common Core is a defined set of education standards for teaching and testing English and Mathematics in grades K-12.
Robert A. Quinn is a candidate for New Jersey State Assembly in Legislative District 17 (Franklin Twp, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Piscataway, Milltown)