Friendly Fire: The Abortion Debate, the NJ-7th, and Trump’s Hillbilly

Can Americans still have a sensible and friendly political discussion beyond the partisan divide? The answer is yes, and we intend to prove it. Julie Roginskya democrat and Mike DuHaime, a Republican, are consultants who worked on opposing teams their entire careers but remained friends throughout. Here they discuss the week’s events with Editorial Page Editor Tom Moran.

Q. Pro-life activists won the victory of a lifetime with the Supreme Court’s interim decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, but abortion will remain legal in about half the country. Will they try to ban it in the other half, including New Jersey, if they win the midterm elections and the 2024 presidential race?

Mike: The pro-life community has worked methodically for 50 years, politically and legally, to reach this moment. To answer your question directly, work will continue in each state. But in states like NJ, NY, New England, the West Coast and elsewhere, he is highly unlikely to have the same political and legal success as Democrats have overwhelming control. In these states, elected officials and pro-life activists would be better off advocating for policies that reduce unwanted pregnancies, promote adoption, and economically support low-income families and babies after they are born. In New Jersey, reducing the need and number of abortions is a goal that should be agreed upon across the political spectrum.

Julia: As a Democrat, I tip my hat to the far right. As we walked around in our pussy hats, they were getting organized. The Federalist Society trained judges from state courts to the Supreme Court. GOPAC trained legislative candidates to take over state houses. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has drafted model legislation to make it easier for elected officials to pass these regressive laws. And now Congress is well positioned to pass federal abortion-banning legislation, which the next Republican president will sign into law. Walking is easy. It makes you feel good. Spending years organizing, identifying potential judges and candidates, electing them and moving them up the political ladder is much more difficult and does not have the same instantaneous effect. But it is much more important, and on this point, I fear that my party is two generations behind.

Q. I attended a Wednesday night rally in Maplewood where Reps. Mikie Sherrill and Tom Malinowski both used their time to fire up the base about the Court’s decision. Does the question give Democrats a head start in suburban races like theirs? How might this affect Malinowski’s likely rematch with Sen. Tom Kean Jr. in November?

Mike: The Democrats are in charge in Washington – White House, Senate and House. They have an opportunity to codify abortion rights into federal law this year, which they will not. So, this is just another opportunity for the Democratic base to be disappointed in their party’s inability to do anything, which could discourage their participation. There is no doubt that this decision changes the dynamics of midterms, but the question remains to what extent. One-question pro-choice voters are already voting Democratic. The question remains whether this causes some independent and moderate pro-choice voters, especially women, to become single-issue voters.

Julia: I started my career at Emily’s List because I wanted to elect more pro-choice women. But as someone who elects candidates for a living, I haven’t seen a single focus group — not one — where abortion is the animating factor for undecided voters. When you ask voters about Roe v. Wade, support for this one is coming off the rolls, but issues that sound good aren’t necessarily issues that get voters to the polls. If you’re a single-issue voter and abortion is your issue, you’re deeply politically engaged and you’re probably already voting for Rep. Malinowski or Rep. Sherrill. To win, Democrats need to focus on the issues that most voters lose sleep over every night: how to pay for basic goods, how to pay for college, how to get to work every day, how to pay for that medicine or this life-saving surgery. We Democrats need to start focusing on the issues that voters care about, not the issues that we want voters to care about.

Q. In the Ohio primary, we saw a decisive victory for JD Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, which was hanging around just a few weeks ago before Donald Trump endorsed it. Was it this endorsement? Was it the $15 million record of Peter Thiel, the arch-conservative venture capitalist? Or was it Tucker Carlson’s love and attention? What’s your takeaway?

Mike: I followed this race closely. JD Vance was left for dead earlier this year, but ran a smart and aggressive run focused on the Trump coalition. The key here was that they staged a run in Ohio that put him in a position to capitalize on Trump’s endorsement if he got it while surrounding Trump with lawyers, like Thiel and Tucker, making pressure for approval. Vance then had momentum and the right coalition came together, so Trump’s endorsement could put him over the top. There are candidates, like David Purdue in Georgia, who get Trump’s endorsement and don’t know what to do with it. Purdue will lose, even with Trump’s endorsement, much of that is decided on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but there’s no doubt that Trump helped put Vance on top.

Julia: Vance is a near-celebrity who’s earned the endorsement of a president who’s still popular with the grassroots, tens of millions of dollars in free publicity from the nation’s top cable news host, and millions of more in indirect financing of a billionaire tech titan. . Add to that the fact that his main opponent was a perennial candidate and it’s no surprise that he succeeded. The same combination of factors may work in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, since you have another famous candidate who may be backed by the same crew, but it won’t work in places like Georgia where otherwise popular Republicans like the governor Kemp are on the ballot.

Q Representative Chris Smitha Republican, introduced a bill reinstate military personnel who were fired for refusing to take the Covid vaccine. He appeared this week with former Point Pleasant Marine Bill Borowsky, who said he declined for security reasons. “There are no long-term studies,” he said. “For me, it was not an order, it was a political program.” Thoughts?

Mike: I’m pro-vaxx, but I’m also pro-being fair to those who put their lives on the line for us. Now that the threat has subsided, we should reinstate any military, law enforcement, or first responder who refused. I’m a Nets fan and I support Kyrie Irving from New Jersey. If he can be reinstated to play basketball in Brooklyn, the cops and firefighters should also get their jobs back.

Julia: As long as the military has a vaccination mandate, military personnel should comply. There were no long term studies when George Washington had his troops vaccinated against smallpox and it worked without Chris Smith having to get involved.

Q. The Federal Reserve slammed on the brakes with a half-point interest rate hike, the biggest hike in a generation, and a promise of more to come. How will this strategy affect the medium term? And the state budget?

Mike: The Fed waited too long and the latest round of stimulus under Biden was unnecessary, doubly exacerbating our problem. In the early 1990s, when we saw an economic downturn at the end of Bush 41 and the approaching Clinton years, then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan acted quickly and aggressively, stopping the economic downturn in its tracks, helping usher in great economic progress. years. This year’s moves were either too slow or too late, so they will now have to be extended, which will limit its effect, possibly prolonging inflation and lowering home values. None of this is good for Biden and the Democrats politically.

Julia: The Fed raised rates dramatically during the early years of Reagan’s presidency and caused two recessions in the process. Now Paul Volcker, then Federal Reserve Chairman, is considered the greatest Fed Chairman in history and Reagan was subsequently re-elected in a landslide. It may cost Democrats dearly in November, but it may be a freebie for Biden’s re-election.

Q. Finally, an intriguing insight on climate from Ralph Izzo, CEO of PSEG. He says the United States should ramp up its production and export of natural gas as a cheaper substitute for coal, warning that we will lose climate flight if the nearly 500 new coal-fired plants being developed around the world are actually built. . Izzo’s strategy would mean more fracking, more pipelines and more fossil fuel investment. But is there another way?

Mike: Ralph Izzo is one of the brightest minds in the state, and on that point he’s absolutely right. There is simply nothing that can be done, and nothing even remotely, that would reduce global emissions faster than US natural gas exports to reduce the use of coal around the world. But environmental zealots in the United States are fighting any infrastructure needed to do so, harming the environment. Increasing natural gas production will also help us move more quickly at home to renewables while keeping energy prices reasonable.

Julia: We can look at this both from a climate point of view and from a geopolitical point of view. Exporting more natural gas will wean Europe and other countries off Russian oil and gas faster. At the same time, we should increase the production and availability of renewable energy at a much faster rate. But fundamentally, it’s not something New Jersey can decide to do on its own. Energy markets do not respect state borders or even national borders.

A note to readers: Both Mike and Julie are deeply involved in politics and business advocacy in New Jersey. So they both have ties to many of the actors we discuss in this column. Given this, we will normally not disclose each specific connection, hoping that readers understand that they are not impartial observers. DuHaime, the founder of Mad Global Strategy, was former Governor Chris Christie’s chief policy adviser and worked for Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and President George W. Bush. Roginsky, director of Optimus Communications, served as senior campaign adviser to Cory Booker, Frank Lautenberg and Phil Murphy, and worked with Rep. Phil Norcross, brother of George Norcross. We will only disclose specific links when readers might otherwise be misled.

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