At the New Jersey voting booths today, it looks like Republican governor and rising national figure Chris Christie is set to win in a landslide, according to the polls. And with his home turf secured, the focus is already turning on where Christie goes from here on the national stage.
“(A)ll the evidence suggests he's a genuine Republican superstar,” says Timothy Stanley on CNN in regards to Christie. But, “I use the word superstar in its fullest sense: His appeal is iconic rather than intellectual. And that makes him appealing to Republicans who want to win in 2016, although he's not necessarily a great fit for conservatives looking for an ideological champion.”
Even if Christie is the GOP’s best chance for winning in 2016, Stanley is overall unconvinced that he will be able to pull it off in the long run, especially when it comes to convincing his own party that he is in fact its superstar. “It's not just that he embraced Obama during the crucial last phase of the 2012 election. He has nondogmatic positions on same-sex marriage, immigration reform and gun control, and that puts him out of sync with the present spirit of the American right.”
As if to back up Stanley’s misgivings that Christie will carry the necessary weight to rally the GOP base, Wesley Pruden writes in the Washington Times that, “If (Christie) expects the Republican faithful to anoint him in 2016, including the Tea Party Republicans whom he will need for a presidential nomination, he’ll have to hope they will have forgotten how he gave the Jersey bounce to Mitt Romney in the final weeks of the 2012 campaign.”
Pruden believes that Christie's apparent moderate governing style will backfire on him in the long run if it comes down to a showdown between him and a tea party-backed candidate. “Gratitude is a wonderful thing to practice and a sight to behold in the wake of a great disaster like Hurricane Sandy, but the governor could have said his thanks on behalf of New Jersey in a day or two. Instead, he trotted behind President Obama for what seemed like weeks, a hound dog looking for another bone with a little meat on it. Mr. Romney was probably doomed, anyway, but to a lot of Republicans it looked and smelled like treachery.”
At the New Republic, Nate Cohn looks at how Christie can attempt to woo those to his right to his side, declaring that today is effectively the start of Christie’s presidential campaign. “With rivals faltering, Chris Christie momentarily stands alone. Tonight, he will win re-election by such a wide margin that even the party’s most conservative forces will be tempted to give him another look.” And while many seem unsure, Cohn is convinced that “despite his reputation for moderation, Christie checks the crucial boxes of the religious and business wings of the Republican Party. He’s pro-life and he’s against gay marriage. He has solid credentials opposing taxes and attacking unions, which will eventually complement a reformist, conservative domestic policy agenda.”
What do you think about Chris Christie and his chances on the national stage come 2016?