Fat chance: Can Chris Christie restore the sanity of the Republican party?

Mr Christie has shown what is possible for a temperate Republican promising pragmatism

Share

Attempts to draw national conclusions from the outcome of a smattering of local elections can be a dangerous game. But the gubernatorial races in the US on Tuesday night are surely the exception that proves the rule.

In New Jersey, incumbent Republican Chris Christie romped to a second term despite his state’s long-standing Democratic leanings. The secret of his success? Support from two-thirds of independents and more than three in 10 Democrats, a feat that involved winning over not just the Latino vote but also significant numbers of women and African-Americans.

Mr Christie’s acceptance speech, with its barbed references to the Washington dysfunction that so recently shut down the government and took the US to the brink of a default on its debts, could hardly have been clearer. “We stand here tonight showing that it is possible to put doing your job first. To put working together first. To fight for what you believe in yet still stand by our principles and get something done for the people who elected you.”

Strong stuff. Stronger still given that in nearby (Republican) Virginia, voters were baulking at the prospect of Tea Party firebrand Ken Cuccinelli, preferring a far from prepossessing Democrat, Terry McAuliffe. Few doubt that a more restrained Republican would have won.

The implications are inescapable. If there was ever a question as to whether Tea Party purism would strike a chord with mainstream America, it has now been answered. Instead, Mr Christie has shown what is possible for a temperate Republican promising pragmatism.

Thus far, the New Jersey governor has been coyly non-committal about the 2016 presidential elections. After this week’s win, he certainly looks like a shoo-in for the Republican candidacy. He is not, of course. In part because so much might happen in the meantime; but also because primaries favour the extremes.

If the Republicans are to stand a chance in 2016, they need Mr Christie’s brand of moderation. Whether his colleagues are willing to give him the opportunity is another matter entirely.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A sculpture illustrating the WW1 Christmas Truce football match in Liverpool  

It's been 100 years since the Christmas Truce, but football is still changing the world

Jim Murphy and Dan Jarvis
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there