New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has been one of the darlings of the party, a person, who had he chosen to do so, could have taken on Mitt Romney for the 2012 nomination. Mr. Christie’s current job is running for re-election in
Jersey, and he is doing a
masterful, almost legendary job of doing so.
So why isn’t Mr. Christie an odds on favorite for the 2016 nomination? It’s because of his re-election strategy. He is trying and succeeding in being a competent professional Governor independent of ideology.
Mr. Christie has long been an advocate of gun-control policies, for example. But that issue has become far more relevant since the shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Mr. Christie has also taken moderate positions on immigration. Immigration was an issue in the 2012 campaign, but it seems to have grown in importance now, after the poor performance of the Republicans with Hispanic voters November, and the push by President Obama and by some Republicans in Congress for immigration legislation.
And Mr. Christie certainly put the issue of his state above his own political prospects in embracing President Obama and accepting his help in cleaning up the damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Mr. Christie’s strategy for 2016 is the position himself as a viable candidate for the general election, and to hope that Republicans are so desperate to win that they will take his conservative positions as gospel and pretend his non-conservative position don’t exist. The key to this is an overwhelming victory this fall, which is at this time a near certainty.
So how will everyone know that the Governor is running in 2016? Easy, look at him in 2014. If he adopts strident conservative positions, provoking confrontation with Democrats, unions, abortion rights and gay rights advocates and equally important, if he starts to lose weight (his weight should not be a factor, but it is) then look out 2016, here he comes.