New Jersey goes red?!

Anastasia Spytsya

New Jersey is my home state. I have been a legal resident of the state for the past five years, and not too long ago I finally registered to vote there. It was exciting, yet at the same time I thought to myself, “Well, New Jersey is as blue as the sky. My vote for the Republican party will not change much.” Oh God, had you seen me last Tuesday night in person, you would have thought I lost my mind.

I hope most of you have heard that Virginia and New Jersey elected their new governors last Tuesday night. Both states switched from Democratic leaders to Republicans. You are probably thinking to yourself, “How does that affect me?” These elections were very significant to all people across America.

While the situation in Virginia was predictable (Virginia has historically voted for a person of the opposite party of the president), the outcome in New Jersey was kind of like a bolt from the blue. The bluest of the blue went red? You’ve gotta be kidding me.

This state is one of the most solidly Democrat-controlled states, where President Barack Obama won just a year ago with 57 percent of the vote. Republican governor-elect Chris Christy won with a lead of 100,000 votes in the counties that voted for Obama last year. I mean, that is a 12 percent swing toward the Republicans in just one year, in this ultra-liberal state!

I ask myself, “What caused it?” There are a few reasons.

The GOP-sponsored poll asked people in New Jersey and Virginia why they voted Republican. According to the Wall Street Journal, 68 percent of people in the Garden State and 74 percent of the Old Dominion state said “they wanted to send a message to the Obama administration because they are unhappy with the direction they are taking the country.”

President Obama was the No. 1 reason Republicans took over Blue Jersey. This was a huge defeat for President Obama. Yes, it was. If he did not care for having Democratic governors, as the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated, he would not have campaigned for Jon Corzine, current governor of New Jersey. I mean, President Obama has the Afghanistan war and the health care reform going on, yet he still found time to travel to New Jersey to save Gov. Corzine’s job.

It should be clear to any rational observer that Obama was a big player in this campaign. In fact, there were billboards all over the New Jersey landscape featuring President Obama and Gov. Corzine. The president’s name and image were more prominent. The tagline called for New Jersey voters to “keep it going.” President Obama wasn’t the only reason Democrats lost in Jersey, but he sure did everything he could to make this state’s election a referendum on himself – and Gov. Corzine still lost badly.

New Jersey and Virginia voters sent a direct message to President Obama on behalf of all Americans – regulate the economy and give us jobs because we aren’t willing to wait any longer. According to CNN polls (note that I am using statistics of one of the liberal news providers), only 53 percent of Americans approve President Obama’s policies. I mean, President George W. Bush had an 87 percent approval rating one year after his election.

I agree with every other American that our health care is messed up. And I agree with President Obama that we need to fix it. But people who do not have medical insurance are those who do not have jobs. How are you going to pay for “public option” if you don’t have a job? President Obama needs to wake up.

If you want to be ignorant enough, just like Robert Gibbs, you can close your eyes and pretend these elections did not mean anything. It’s your right to believe so.

If Obama wishes to win another election, he better get his agenda in order and start focusing on people, not the Republican Party and not corporate interests. Even though Republicans in Congress are in the minority, at least they still have the guts to oppose what Democrats want to change.

Anastasia Spytsya is a senior Russian translation major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].