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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christie Responsibly Holds RGA Money Away From "Lost Cause" Race


New York Republicans are (supposedly) up in arms over Republican Governors' Association head (and New Jersey Governor) Chris Christie all but declaring the gubernatorial campaign of New York Republican Rob Astorino a "lost cause." 

Careful: Read the quotes in press accounts carefully. Christie did not say Astorino's campaign was a lost cause. One can infer that was his intent. Christie is a shrewd man, much shrewder than most. But even the village idiot knows that a candidate trailing by 30 points in the polls in a deep blue state that historically has gone Democratic in presidential elections by at least double digits and sometimes as much as 20 points is unlikely to win. 

But the reality is this -- New York is a lost cause...for the 2016 presidential election. That is the election that matters. This is all about 2016!

New York State will go for the Democratic candidate (and it might even be carpetbagger-turned-favorite-daughter Hillary Clinton) in 2016 by at least ten points, and possibly as much as 30 if it's Hillary versus any "red state" conservative (i.e., not a Northeastern moderate like Christie, or Mitt Romney). 

Why on earth would Christie waste one dime of other people's money on a state where he has nothing to gain? 

Why? Because that's what he's "supposed to do"?

That is the naive perspective. 

Frankly, that's the amateur perspective.

Candidates need to earn that support.  

The smart underdog asks for RGA support, not to help his own campaign, but as part of a larger, long-term strategy for making the party competitive in a deep blue state. 

In other words, the smart underdog appeals to the rational selfishness of the decisionmaker.

The smart underdog asks for support by saying, in essence, "It's not about me. It's about you. This is how I can help you." And that, by the way, might make perfect sense.

Chris Christie is doing the smart thing (for himself) by spending that capital in states where he can build himself up in the fight for the 2016 nomination which will be in full gear after the midterms. Give Christie full marks for having the foresight years ago to angle for the RGA chairmanship. History favors those with the most foresight.

Eric Dixon is a New York and New Jersey based lawyer and political strategist with no connection to any of the candidates or public officials mentioned here. 

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