Jersey Boy


Months after the Republican Party’s electoral flameout, analysts are still sifting for embers amid the ashes. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, despite his act of heresy in praising Barack Obama for his response to Hurricane Sandy, has joined the predictable frontrunners for 2016. At first blush, it’s hard to see what Christie brings to the table for the GOP.

Consider, in comparison, some of the other big names. Marco Rubio is a conservative demographer’s dream, a living, breathing solution to the party’s Latino, youth, and coolness problems. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, has the dynastic clout to go with his formidable bipartisan swing-state credentials. He has establishment connections to burn, and he has staked out legitimately moderate positions on immigration, education, and other key issues. Perhaps most important, both men are based in electoral-vote-heavy Florida, which looks to be a must-win for GOP presidential contenders. 

On paper, Christie can’t compete with these guys. His geographic credentials are negligible—the GOP isn’t going to win in the Northeast with or without the New Jersey governor on the ticket. His supposedly “moderate” views consist more of ill-timed heterodox remarks than of substantive policy-making. And as a personality, it is hard to see how he matches up. He possesses neither Rubio’s panache nor Bush’s political savoir-faire. Yet recent polls show that Christie is...

To read the rest of this article please login or become a subscriber.

About the Author

Conor Williams is a doctoral candidate in Georgetown University’s Government Department and a freelance journalist. Read his work at