New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has added his name to the large list of candidates seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 2016. Four years ago, Christie’s entrance into the presidential race might have been encouraging for fans of his straight-shooting, moderate style of leadership. He’s still trying to capitalize on that outspoken personality — using the slogan “Tell It Like It Is” — but his message isn’t translating as well as it once did. If Christie had timed his candidacy better, he might have captivated the nation’s attention. Now, he just seems like another voice in the crowd.
Christie likely missed his chance at the national spotlight by choosing to forgo a run at the White House in 2012. According to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll conducted around that time, Christie was one of the most popular Republicans in the country. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, during which Christie showed exemplary leadership, he received a 77 percent overall approval rating. He also received approval of 67 percent of Democrats and managed to secure re-election in New Jersey, a historically blue state. Christie’s ability to appeal to voters across party lines indicated he could have had a decent shot at the presidency — or at least Romney’s nomination — if he had decided to run in 2012. According to the USA Today, Christie even placed second in the GOP polls in 2011.
A major reason support for Christie has fallen is due to the scandal regarding the closure of the George Washington Bridge’s connection with Fort Lee, New Jersey. The scandal made national news after emails revealed that one of Christie’s top aides plotted to close traffic lanes on the bridge as a retaliation against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor. The closure caused massive traffic jams and delays for thousands of commuters, and the evidence suggests that it was all a result of Christie’s political retaliation. Christie has continued to deny any involvement in the scandal, but its exposure severely impacted his trustworthiness. You can’t “Tell It Like It Is” while orchestrating secretive political schemes.
According to a CNN poll conducted in May, just 4 percent of Republican voters now support Christie. That number has dipped from 13 percent in a similar poll taken late last year. The bridge scandal can’t be entirely responsible for the decrease in support for Christie, but it definitely contributed to it. It seems as if voters have simply had enough of the New Jersey governor, or they’ve moved on to other Republican candidates who are actively fighting for issues that they’re now passionate about. Christie may surprise pollsters and make a legitimate run for the 2016 nomination, but it appears as if he would have been better off campaigning for the White House four years ago.
Image Source: Flickr