Will Rogers once said that he didn’t belong to an organized party, he was a Democrat. But old irrelevant fogeys who still fondly quote that lovable passage obviously don’t live in New Jersey or have familiarity with those well-oiled party machinations in Middlesex County.
That’s where the Democratic Party made sure to keep state Senator Peter Barnes (D-18) on ice, his judges’ robes folded and boxed until after the filing deadline for what would be a special June Primary to fill his seat.
Sources say Barnes will get a hearing in the senate on April 21st, safely long past the April 1st filing deadline.
Had Barnes gotten the nod prior to the first of the month, Democrats – who are juggling a three-way backroom war for the assembly seat that Pat Diegnan presumably will vacate to make a stab at the senate seat – would have had to face the prospect of a primary.
A primary in any environment is dangerous enough, but in this Bernie Sanders-infused anti-establishment atmosphere with real people jockeying to get engaged in the political process – it’s downright terrifying.
By smothering the chance for a June Primary and offloading until November a general election showdown with Republicans, who are gerrymandered out of serious contention in the 18th, Hillary Clinton-affiliated Dems have all but assured that Diegnan and his replacement can snooze to victory, then run for reelection as incumbents when 2017 offers the prospect of a real primary war.
That’s when at least three and possibly as many as five or more Democratic candidates will contend for the governorship, setting up the possibility of civil war, a useful term otherwise known as a free and peaceful election based on transparency and real choice; in other words everything we won’t see in 2016 – and see less and less in this democracy otherwise known as a barely recognizable reasonable facsimile.
Will Rogers certainly would find himself too disorganized to find a home in today’s iteration of his party.