Montclair’s apathy helped render the governor’s race unnecessarily (Letter to the editor)

Jack Cittarelli and Governor Phil Murphy (CITTARELLI AND MURPHY CAMPAIGNS)

So Montclair had his usual pathetic participation in off-year elections. About 60% of registered voters couldn’t bother to go to the polls on election day, find a free hour during the nine-day early voting period, or crawl to the drop box from the town hall.

Perhaps we are so progressive in the People’s Republic that we do not need to vote. Our apathy, however, managed to make its small contribution to an unnecessarily close election.

Yes, the governor’s race was too close. And that produced a lot of hand twisting from many who were hoping for a bigger margin of victory. These are mistaken expectations.

The Monmouth University Polling Institute, the gold standard for New Jersey polls, is the source of much of the angst. The prediction of the poll of Dems up 9 points on October 27 distorted much of the post-election commentary. If the last poll said something like “Murphy up 4 or 5 points, margin of error +/- 3” and then he gained 3 points (which it does), people would have said “wow, that was close” without all the OMGs. The poll set completely unrealistic – that is, wrong – expectations.

Murphy pitched his progressive agenda starting in 2017. He campaigned publicly with Bernie Sanders, who called him the most progressive governor in the country. He didn’t run in the middle, which is the usual Democratic response whenever opponents drag the “far left” label. And he won.

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With the President of the State Senate, Steve Sweeney, a more cooperative legislature will hopefully pass legislation stuck in committee (for example, the Freedom of Reproduction Act), giving more people a reason to vote, even in Montclair.

And maybe fewer people could vote for a party whose primary response to human needs is to shield us from masks.

Jim Price

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