Cross-posted from Blue Jersey
Imagine this scenario. Freshman Democratic Congressman John Adler defeats footballer Jon Runyan in the November election. This is plausible because even though New Jersey’s Third District has been gerrymandered to make it a “safe” district for the GOP, Adler has significantly more money with which to campaign, and Runyan is weak on the important issues. Now, also imagine that nationally, the Republicans take control of the House.
If this scenario were to come to pass, the best thing John Adler could do is to switch parties and become a Republican. Certainly, his first term voting record mirrors what would have been the voting pattern of his predecessor, long-term moderate GOP Congressman Jim Saxton. Like Adler, Saxton would probably have voted against health care and would have supported the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Also, given the fact that New Jersey’s redistricting based on the 2010 census will be controlled by Chris Christie’s cronies, it is a safe bet that this district will once again be gerrymandered favorably for Republicans. Switching parties would be a safe bet for Adler to retain his seat for several more terms under this scenario.
This sequence of events would not only benefit John Adler, but it would benefit the District as a whole. With a GOP majority in Congress, a Republican Adler would be better positioned to promote programs and earmarks that would bring jobs, funding, and other benefits to Burlington and Ocean Counties. He would still be a minority within his own (new) party because even though he votes more like a Republican, he has not partaken of the Tea Party Kool Aid. The more moderate Republicans who are sent to Congress (as opposed to Tea Party Republicans), the better off we all will be. And if Mr. Adler does switch parties after the election, it leaves room for a progressive Democrat to run in 2012, giving voters of the Third District a real choice.
I hope Adler wins; after all, he’s (barely) the lesser of two evils. And I hope that the Democrats retain control of the House – otherwise this nation is in deep shit. But if the Democrats do lose, and Adler does win, we are all better off if he honestly admits that he’s a moderate Republican and switches to the GOP.