Chris Christie might just be the presidential candidate the GOP's been searching for as it gears up to find someone who can take down Democratic powerhouse -- and presumed 2016 presidential candidate -- Hillary Clinton.
A new NBC News poll shows Clinton would start out strong, but the newly re-elected New Jersey governor has the potential to grow support throughout the race. In other words, Clinton's base is secure but possibly stagnant.
L-Nov. 9, 2013 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, USA - Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a presentation of the Mexican American Leadership Initiative (MALI) at the University of Southern California on Saturday 9 of November 2013..ARMANDO ARORIZO (Image: © Armando Arorizo/Prensa Internacional/ZUMAPRESS.com), R-Oct. 29, 2013 - Sayreville, New Jersey, U.S. - Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE visited Sayreville, N.J. to meet with community members and first responders on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. (Credit Image: © Tracie Van Auken/ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Christie sailed into a victory last week against a female Democratic rival, New Jersey state Senator Barbara Buono in a blue state - one so sure to go for Christie that the national Democratic machine barely stepped foot into the race.
His winning numbers speak volumes:
- 57% of the women vote
- 63% of the male vote
- 51% of the Hispanic vote
- 30-65+ voters carried
- 93% Republicans
- 66% Indepdents or other
- Moderates and conservatives carried
Presidencies begin with electibility. No party furthers its ideas without first getting into office, and that's been impossible for the Republicans these last two go arounds with the likes of Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
But already, the critics hope to kill Christie-enthusiasm talk - he's too liberal for the extremists. Christie calls himself a conservative despite his critics who recoiled at his warm embrace of President Obama post-Hurricane Sandy just days before Romney lost.
The ill-timed photo op left a sour taste in some mouths but it's time for everyone to can the hate and move on.
Winning the long game starts with one inch, and that first inch begins by answering one question: Who can help us win?
In recent years, that conversation wrongly centered on a tiresome game of King of the Conservative Mountain. Not surprisingly, it coincided with the GOP falling out of favor (and relevance) with the American public.
So, let's address the goal: Christie can win and he's a Republican. Bonus: He considers himself a conservative. Great news. One day, maybe we'll be toting his carcass around to GOTV rallies and quoting him like the modern-day Reagan.
The GOP seems to forever worship the thread-bare Reagan legacy. But let's not forget he was rather like Christie. Tough but fair, driven and absolutely believed that you take your message to the voters.
Winning must be foremost in our minds and just that goal alone will not be easily accomplished when middle America does not get warm fuzzies thinking about the GOP.
It's a weird dichotomy. Most Republicans are average Americans, but we choose these seemingly out-of-touch candidates who don't even inspire us. We need a shake up and fresh blood to get the lead out.
It'll take a tough candidate, someone who will walk the talk even in hostile territory.
On Sunday, Christie shared a story with Fox News' Chris Wallace about his style of governance that should not be unusual, but is - enough that it warranted a story:
"I did while I was governor about a year and a half ago in the city of Irvington, N.J., in Essex County. I got 4.7 percent of the vote there in 2009. There were more people in the church [where] I did the town hall than voted for me in 2009. That's the way the Republican Party will make itself more relevant to a whole much broader group of folks. And the fact is, that's exactly what Ronald Reagan would have done — and did do — when he was campaigning for president."
Was it a stunt? Maybe. But he still did it and so did Reagan. And they were better for it - in every way. They grew as people, not just as candidates seeking votes.
The possibilities of a fresh face on the national stage offers the national electorate exciting possibilities.
Suddenly, 2016 doesn't look quite so business-as-usual.
- Erica Holloway is a contributing editor for BlogHer News & Politics and a political and public relations consultant. Learn more about her at www.galvanizedstrategies.com or follow her @erica_holloway.
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