“It is critical we elect progressives like Phil at all levels of government,” asserted Levi Sanders, the son of 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The appearance of Sanders yesterday at a pair of campaign events, helped Phil Murphy accomplish two things as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of New Jersey.
First, it put a little space between him and Goldman Sachs. With Bernie Sanders, the independent-socialist senator from Vermont, still a hero to the populist wing of the Democratic Party despite his eventual fall to Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary, the embrace from his son makes it clear that Murphy isn’t a reincarnation of previous Goldman-Sachs-to-Governor tripper Jon Corzine. Levi Sanders said of the decision New Jersey faces: “It’s Wall St vs Main Street. It’s exciting.” By awarding Phil Murphy, who made his fortune at Goldman Sachs, a place on Main Street, Sanders is clearly signaling that Murphy can be trusted by the forces that created such energy around his father’s campaign.
Second, the endorsement puts a lot of space between him and rival John Wisniewski, who chaired the Sanders campaign in New Jersey and had obviously hoped to inherit the progressive base as a 2017 candidate.
Sanders campaigned for Murphy in North Brunswick and West Windsor, and endorsed Murphy’s public bank plan, saying his father has declined to take sides in the New Jersey contest, even though Murphy backed Hillary Clinton. He also took a shot at the president, saying, “I know we can stand up to Trump, because we’ve done it before. The courts will stand up, and we will stand up.”
Murphy deftly made the most of the appearances, tweeting all day under the hastag
#philandlevi and actually drawing respectable crowds on a Saturday afternoon.