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Where are the purists when you need them?

At the moment it really looks like the Democrats may do well in November, but we have to bear in mind that we’re talking about the Democrats, who have an affinity for losing. To quote a character from the Firesign Theatre, “sometimes I think they do it on purpose”. No one has documented the misdeeds of the party better than the folks at Down with Tyranny, and today they make a good point.

The Senate is looking much more difficult to win than the House, and it is only common sense that we should do everything possible to preserve the seats we have, but…

New Jersey has a completely different nightmare brewing for the Democrats. It is not a swing state; it’s a pretty safely blue state with a PVI of D+7. Hillary beat Trumpanzee there, winning their 16 electoral votes 2,148,278 (55.45%) to 1,601,933 (41.45%). So in 2012 Menendez, always a shady character but before the most recent scandals that rocked the politics of New Jersey, beat Republican Joe Kyrillos 1,987,680 (58.9%) to 1,329,534 (39.4%). Should be a safe seat, right? And it would be– except for Menendez, who is adamantly refusing to resign.

Newark Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran asked his readers to “try to envision Sen. Robert Menendez trying to manage his daily calendar when he’s juggling his second trial on corruption charges with his campaign for re-election. Will he march in parades? Or will he attend the trial every day to save his neck?” He points out how dangerous– actually he said “ridiculous”– it is “in the Trump era, when a single Senate seat can tip the balance of power.”

New Jersey voters haven’t sent a Republican senator to Washington for half a century, and with Trump soiling the brand so badly, Democrats could win by picking a name out of the phone book.

Their only chance to lose this seat is to do exactly what they are doing– rallying around Menendez with a unanimity that virtually ensures he will win the primary race on June 5, provided he’s not sent to prison first.

Sure, the Supreme Court has legalized bribery, but it’s not at all clear that the ruling applies to Democrats. It’s fairly clear that the trial judge has his or her doubts on that score.

Where is the Kristen Gillibrand analog who will rise up in the Senate, or even in a caucus, and urge Menendez to retire for the good of both the party and the country? He may not be convicted, given the impediments to proving bribery, but there’s really no question that what he did was grossly improper. In fact, the case against him is far stronger than the case against Al Franken, who was railroaded out of a seat from a state no longer as safely blue as it was, and certainly not as blue as New Jersey. We have a zero tolerance policy toward sexual impropriety (nothing Franken did, or is alleged to have done, comes close to abuse, harassment, or misuse of his position) while we apparently have an infinite tolerance policy for bribery, so long as the bribes are thinly disguised as gifts between friends. The Democrats would risk nothing by getting Menendez to step aside, yet they’re doing nothing to make that happen. If the Democratic brain trust were consciously trying to figure out a way to lose, which we at least have to hope they are not, they could not improve on their current strategy.

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