Jack Cittarelli and Gov. Phil Murphy (CITTARELLI AND MURPHY CAMPAIGNS)

So, Montclair had its usual pathetic turnout in the off-year election. A whopping approximate 60% of registered voters could not be bothered to get to the polls on Election Day, or find a free hour during the nine-day early voting period, or drag themselves all the way to the drop box at Town Hall.

Maybe we’re so progressive in the People’s Republic that we don’t need to vote. Our apathy did, however, manage to make its small contribution to an unnecessarily close election.

Yes, the governor’s race was too close. And it produced a lot of hand-wringing on the part of many who were hoping for a wider margin of victory. This is about mistaken expectations.

The Monmouth University Polling Institute, the New Jersey polling gold standard, is the source of much of the anguish. The poll’s prediction of Dems up by 9 points on Oct. 27 distorted much of the post-election commentary. If the last poll had said something like “Murphy up by 4 or 5 points, error margin +/- 3” and then he had won by 3 points (which is the case), people would have said “wow, that was close” without all the OMGs. The poll set completely unrealistic, i.e. wrong, expectations.

Murphy ran on his progressive agenda from 2017. He campaigned publicly with Bernie Sanders, who called him the most progressive governor in the country. He did not run to the middle, which is the usual Democratic response whenever opponents drag out the “far left” label. And he won.

With state Senate President Steve Sweeney out, a more cooperative legislature will hopefully pass legislation that has been stuck in committee (for instance, the Reproductive Freedom Act), giving more people a reason to vote, even in Montclair.

And perhaps fewer people might vote for a party whose primary response to human need is to protect us from masks.

Jim Price
Montclair


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