Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomenewsNewark's Allies of Baraka Dispute the Implications of the City's Voter Turnout...

Newark’s Allies of Baraka Dispute the Implications of the City’s Voter Turnout in 2022.

This Op-Ed responds to New Jersey Globe articles assessing Newark voting participation and comparing Maplewood, Millburn, and South Orange.

New Jersey is accelerating toward 2025. New Jersey insiders are known for favoring favorites and bullying rivals. This strategy is predictable and old. One example is the recent attempt to criticize Mayor Ras Baraka for low attendance in safe contests.

This fails miserably. Early criticism simply strengthens Baraka’s chances of running for governor.

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The state’s largest city, Newark, is a Democratic stronghold. Critics are now seeking to bring attention to smaller-than-usual numbers during the mayoral contest, but they missed the reality that this is a regular scenario for incumbents–especially the few who win convincingly for a third term.

They also note to low numbers for subsequent races but skim over the lack of competition. Newarkers likely didn’t experience the worry of a potential leadership shift like others in the state and country. These insiders are attacking earlier than usual, which shows they dread prospective rivals like Baraka.

Consistent voter participation is crucial in New Jersey, one of only two states with a major election every year. In 2021, despite being the incumbent, the state’s primary spokesperson during the epidemic, and the owner of a large war chest, Governor Murphy faced a tough election.

None of the predicted democratic candidates in 2025 have these assets. Murphy was reelected because of black and brown Newark voters.

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Democrats and progressives must unite behind topics our society cares about, such as women’s reproductive rights, the high cost of living, and jobs.

If we run on these settings, we can avert a red wave. Recent Supreme Court decisions have given states more influence over individual freedoms, making New Jersey’s Drumthwacket race crucial.

The Party must also make room for a new generation of young people who worry less about party loyalty and more about climate change, student debt, voting rights, social justice, etc.
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Bringing this audience in will take “all hands on deck” and a voice like Baraka’s and Newark’s voters.

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This brings us to the unnecessary fake attack on Newark’s voters. This “insider technique” to criticize the core set of voters EVERY statewide candidate wants would be funny if it weren’t so insulting.

Political operatives from around the state know it’s premature to rule out Ras Baraka and his supporters. No one should face friendly fire while the actual adversary chuckles to West State Street. Ras Baraka’s help is needed nonetheless.


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