Former Army Captain Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) is irritated by those foxhole-scrunched members of his own New Jersey Republican Party, many of whom have stayed underground while Doherty prowls no man’s land with a George S. Patton riding crop, trying to flail them into supporting Donald Trump for president.
Doherty doesn’t have to effect a George C. Scott inflection when he makes the case. To the West Point-educated patent lawyer who has won multiple elections in the face of establishment Republicans writing him off as roadkill, Trump is the best candidate on the issues and better as a working class torch bearer than his Democratic counterpart.
Republicans need to get over some of the gaffes, Doherty argued, even as he acknowledged that the candidate has to do a better job of getting out of his own way and training his artillery on Hillary.
“Trump has recognized that the Republican Party is demographically challenged,” said the Warren-based Republican leader, the most obvious movement conservative brand in the state senate. “The Karl Rove strategy of a regional party based in the south won’t work anymore if we want to win national election. Trump recognizes that we walked away from blue collar Democrats and the working class, and the fact is his leadership on issues places him closer to Democrats than Hillary Clinton.”
Doherty ticked off four key areas where he sees critical contrast with Clinton for his presidential candidate:
Standing up to Wall Street;
Opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership;
Championing a non- interventionist foreign policy;
Securing the country’s southern border.
Then there’s Trump’s campaign style, a moody ego, reality TV star amalgam that left people in his own party gaping in bewilderment last weekend when he trained his sights on a Gold Star mother.
“Yes, he needs to be more disciplined,” Doherty said.
But he didn’t blame Trump alone, citing a massive piling on by Democrats, globalists, the billionaire class and Republicans as enough weight to make anyone go off script.
“He needs to focus on Hillary Clinton and on her corruption,” said the state senator. “He needs to remind voters that Donald Trump is much, much closer to the American people than Hillary Clinton. The media and the power structure don’t want this to change. Look, he’s got a track record of being highly disciplined. He’s a graduate of the New York Military Academy and the Wharton School of Business. He’s engineered some of the most complex developments in the world. He has a track record of success in what is considered to be one of the most competitive markets in the world. I do believe he needs to remain focused on Hillary Clinton and the status quo. He’s a change agent. He’s used to battling someone on the other side of table. He doesn’t have to do that every single time.”
Doherty panned the NJ GOP for the most part as a group of wallowing RINOs. Governor Chris Christie – tethered to a 26% approval rating in his home state – backs Trump, but not too many others support the billionaire real estate tycoon.
“A lot of New Jersey Republicans haven’t had a lot of great success,” said the Republican senator. “We seem to be a party in retreat in New Jersey. Many Republicans hiding below the foxhole line are the advocates of ‘let’s be more like Democrats. There’s this Stockholm syndrome of ‘I don’t know how to win here.’ Where I am in western New Jersey we have clear distinctions between us and Democrats, while out there they’ve lost seats in the legislature and are now scared and surrounded by Democrats. They’re sort of brainwashed at this point.”
They’re threatened by Trump, said Doherty.
“Donald Trump is a real change agent,” he explained, “and the more established people are, the more they’re resistant to him. I’ll do anything I can to help the Trump campaign. I know they’re getting together a New Jersey team. We should have events in all 21 counties. There’s a lot of support out there for Donald Trump. I had Trump signs stolen three times from my lawn. To me that means that folks are threatened by Trump. The media is doing a good job of putting out negative story after story trying to develop a herd mentality of negativity, so it’s more important now than ever to get disciplined and to remind people that Donald Trump is a lot closer to the American people than Hillary.”