Chris Christie’s reputation is taking a hit recently and has thrown a huge damper in his presidential bid for 2016. He is a very charismatic figure, and has created an image for himself which he wants to remain intact. The underside of his personality has started to peel away for the public to see as of late. There have been reports of his using what some see as bullying tactics to enforce his views with his constituents, and aiming legislation towards the less fortunate parts of the city.
Christie’s recent scandal is being referred to as “Bridge-gate.” Members of his staff are accused of closing down four lanes on one of New Jersey’s busiest roads, approaching the George Washington Bridge, causing a four-day back-up to exact revenge on opposing democrats. The accusation states the main reason being that the democrats in Fort Lee did not move forward with a project that Governor Christie wanted to pass. To anyone working close to Christie, or who has seen Christie in action, these hardball antics are not anything new.
New Jersey, as a whole, has not been served well. The unemployment rate is ranked tenth in the country. Christie has denied the poor and middle class population an increase in minimum wage. He reduced the earned-income tax credit; taking away a widely used asset to the low-income economy. While hurting the poor, and making things hard for families to make ends meet, he has made things quite a bit easier on the upper classes. He has done things like distribute two billion dollars of tax breaks to big corporations and also has denied three initiatives which would have increased income tax rates for New Jersey billionaires.
Although nothing has been proven, he has also been accused of using millions of dollars of federal relief funds to aid his own political promotion. In the process, he has cut down billions of dollars to support Planned Parenthood and has shut down numerous sites of the program. Equal rights for the gay community in New Jersey were also opposed by governor Christie, requiring a court ruling to legalize measures of basic human rights for gay citizens of the state.
Christie tried to avoid all the negative publicity damaging his reputation by taking a fundraising trip to Florida to support his counterpart there, Rick Scott. The fundraising trip only delayed, and thus prolonged, the negative impact to image Christie had so carefully crafted. One of the mayors from his state has now come forward with new accusations to assault his reputation. The mayor of Hoboken accused Christie of withholding Sandy relief funds from her town due to her not backing a real estate project the governor had supported. Many have even begun to question the lack of public appearances with Mr. Scott during the fundraiser, saying either Christie was avoiding questions or Scott just did not want to be seen with Christie.
While he has squandered good faith among the people in New Jersey and in the Democratic party, the brash Republican is starting to lose his own affiliates’ faith in him as well. Many have questioned his antics, and believe that he has damaged irreparably the chances of his becoming the next nominee in the presidential race for the Republicans. Some have expressed the belief that a minimum of ten million would stay home to protest the selection of Governor Christie. Though that number seems a bit speculative, without much basis, it does illustrate the point that public confidence in the Governor has eroded considerably. Even though his calm brash demeanor doesn’t show it, Chris Christie’s reputation has taken a huge hit and as it seems it may not recover in time for the next election.
by Justin Huffman