Although you would hardly know it, today, like every first Tuesday in November, is Election Day in the US. Some call it Super Tuesday, but that is a slight exaggeration. There are three kinds of Election Days. Once every four even-numbered years a US President is elected, as well as the House of Representatives and one third of the US Senate. These are called on-year elections. In even-numbered years when there isn’t a presidential election another third of the Senate and again the whole House are elected. These are called mid-term elections. And then there are the elections in the odd years between the on-year and the mid-term elections, called off-year elections. In these elections very few, if any, federal offices are at stake. In a few states the Assembly is elected and in a few others the Governor, but these elections are primarily for local offices, the Mayor, the City Council, the Board of Education, the Sheriff and the Dogcatcher. Often these are the hardest elections to vote in. Voting for the State Assembly, as happens in New Jersey today, usually goes by political party, but in Hoboken, where I live, pretty much every candidate for City Council as well as the Board of Education is a Democrat.
So you have to do some homework to figure out who to vote for. For City Council candidates, the best standard is whether they support the Mayor or not. The Mayor makes policy, so if you like that policy you support someone from his or her slate of candidates, and if you don’t you shop around among the other aspiring City Council members. I happen to like Mayor Dawn Zimmer, because she stood up to Governor Chris Christie, who was trying to blackmail Hoboken by demanding zoning changes for a construction project on behalf of a firm represented by his partner in crime, David Samson, in return for Sandy relief money that the town was entitled to anyway. Since that episode Samson has had to step down as Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey because of his role in the closing of the George Washington Bridge, and subsequently it turned out that United Airlines had started a bi-weekly flight from Atlantic City to Columbia Metropolitan Airport close to his vacation home in South Carolina, which cost the CEO of United his job. Christie still has his job, but he barely shows up in the state anymore and only his wife believes that he’s still a viable candidate for the White House.
In the meantime in the national theatre the Republican cabal continues. Donald Trump has fallen behind Ben Carson in the polls so he’s taking swipes at all candidates but Carson, who appears to be invulnerable for any assaults Trump could possibly launch. Carson’s main weakness is that he’s crazy as a bed bug, but Trump cannot attack him for believing that the world was created in six days and is 4,000 years old, because that’s what a significant part of the GOP electorate also believes.
Therefore Trump is lashing out at other candidates. When asked if he will do a Jeb Bush impersonation during his upcoming appearance as the host of Saturday Night Live he answered that he doesn’t like to do sleeping people on stage, doing further damage to Bush’ image that Jeb! probably cannot fix, and Marco Rubio’s past mortgage and credit card problems are a godsend for Trump’s vitriolic sarcasm.
Back to Hoboken. For the Assembly and the County Executive I pulled the lever for the Democratic candidates, and for City Council I voted for Tiffany Fisher, who supports the Mayor. I didn’t vote for the Board of Education, because I don’t know anything about the candidates. In 2016 it will be easier.