NJ Politics Digest: What Will State GOP Do in Blue Wave’s Aftermath?

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 7: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks with reporters in the Rayburn Room at the Capitol in Washington.

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 7: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks with reporters in the Rayburn Room at the Capitol in Washington. J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s divisive approach to politics helped fuel a blue wave in New Jersey that swept away most Republican members of the House of Representatives.

But as the party works to rebuild and recover from Tuesday’s electoral bloodbath, Trump’s divisiveness is also likely to play a role.

A report in Politico looks at how the election results are likely to intensify the fault lines between the state party’s moderate wing and its more conservative members.

The report notes that the state’s GOP was long known for its more moderate stance — much-admired former GOP Gov. Tom Kean once authored a book titled “The Politics of Inclusion.”

But that stance is at odds with the direction the national party has been moving under the president as he moves the party even further to the right.

Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick told Politico that state Republicans need to forcefully stand up to Trump’s polarizing approach. That’s not a view shared by New Jersey Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt, who has said Bramnick doesn’t speak for the state party. And Warren County state Sen. Sen. Michael Doherty told Politico that the party needs to unify behind Trump or run the risk of defeat. Bramnick’s approach has been tried, and failed to motivate voters, Doherty said.

Micah Rasmussen, director at the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University told Politico that while both men make good arguments, Bramnick’s position is the one likely to appeal to a wider swatch of voters in this historically blue state. Even then Rasmussen noted, “It’s not going to be easy.”

Quote of the Day: “I will only vote for a speaker who will stand up for New Jersey. I’m not going to give away my vote on TV before I know what they’re going to do for us. I am not going to give up my leverage,” — Newly-elected 7th District Rep. Tom Malinowski, on which Democrat he plans to support for the position of Speaker of the House.

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NJ Politics Digest: What Will State GOP Do in Blue Wave’s Aftermath?