Politics of New Jersey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Jersey is one of the fifty U.S. states. The state is considered a Democratic stronghold, since it has consistently voted for Democrats in presidential elections since 1992.

History

American Revolution

In 1776, the first constitution of New Jersey was drafted. Written during the American Revolution, it created a basic framework for state government and allowed "all inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation money" [1] to vote (including blacks, spinsters, and widows); married women could not own property under common law. The constitution declared itself temporary and void if there was reconciliation with Great Britain. [2] [3] Both parties in elections mocked the other party for relying on "petticoat electors", and accused each other of allowing unqualified women to vote.

Nineteenth century

The second version of the constitution was adopted on June 29, 1844, and restricted suffrage to white males. Important components of the second state constitution included the separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The new constitution also provided a bill of rights, and granted voters (instead of the legislature) the right to elect the governor.

Twentieth century

After World War II, New Jersey was a Republican-leaning swing state in presidential elections; from the 1948 to the 1988, Republican candidates won nine out of 11 elections. John F. Kennedy won New Jersey in 1960 by 22,000 votes, and Lyndon B. Johnson won in 1964 as a part of his landslide victory. Although New Jersey had several highly-populated Democratic urban areas such as Camden, Newark, and Jersey City, the state was also becoming home to suburbs of New York City and Philadelphia. Voters in suburban New Jersey were overwhelmingly white, and more likely to vote Republican. From 1943 to 1979, New Jersey was represented in the US Senate by a Democrat and a Republican.

Since 1992, New Jersey has voted for Democrats in every presidential election. Bill Clinton won a plurality of New Jersey's popular vote that year, and a majority of New Jersey's popular vote in 1996. Among Republican New Jersey voters, those living in rural parts of the state tended to vote for conservative Republicans; suburban voters tended to prefer liberal, or moderate, Republicans. During the 1980s, a significant number of Asian-Americans immigrated to the northeastern and central parts of the state and tended to vote Democratic.

Twenty-first century

Since 2002, the New Jersey Legislature has been overwhelmingly Democratic; in October 2019, there were over 976,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. [4] Democrats tend to do well in areas near New York City, Philadelphia, and Trenton, and cities such as Jersey City, Newark, Camden, Elizabeth, Trenton, Paterson are overwhelmingly Democratic. These cities influence counties (such as Hudson, Essex, Camden, Passaic, Union and Middlesex) to vote Democratic. Predominantly suburban and rural counties, especially along the Jersey Shore and northwestern New Jersey, tend to vote Republican; this includes counties such as Ocean, Warren, Cape May and Hunterdon. Other counties, such as Atlantic, Monmouth, Cumberland, are considered "swing" counties; they tend to vote closely within the margins of each party, swaying in one direction or the other.

Statistics

The 2016 presidential election in New Jersey was won by Hillary Clinton in 12 counties. Trump won nine counties, with a vote percentage of 55.45 to 41.35 percent. Trump flipped two counties (Gloucester and Salem) which had voted Democratic in 2012. Every county voted identically in 2016 and the 2017 gubernatorial election with the exception of Gloucester, which flipped back to Democratic. In the 2018 Senate election, Atlantic and Gloucester Counties flipped Republican.

County votes for 2016 presidential, [5] 2017 gubernatorial, [6] and 2018 Senate [7]
County 2016 presidential 2017 gubernatorial 2018 Senate
Atlantic Clinton Murphy Hugin
Bergen Clinton Murphy Menendez
Burlington Clinton Murphy Menendez
Camden Clinton Murphy Menendez
Cape May Trump Guadagno Hugin
Cumberland Clinton Murphy Menendez
Essex Clinton Murphy Menendez
Gloucester Trump Murphy Hugin
Hudson Clinton Murphy Menendez
Hunterdon Trump Guadagno Hugin
Mercer Clinton Murphy Menendez
Middlesex Clinton Murphy Menendez
Monmouth Trump Guadagno Hugin
Morris Trump Guadagno Hugin
Ocean Trump Guadagno Hugin
Passaic Clinton Murphy Menendez
Salem Trump Guadagno Hugin
Somerset Clinton Murphy Menendez
Sussex Trump Guadagno Hugin
Union Clinton Murphy Menendez
Warren Trump Guadagno Hugin

Eight counties (Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, and Union) have a majority of Democratic registrants, and four (Cape May, Hunterdon, Sussex, and Warren) have a majority of Republican registrants; the rest have a majority of unaffiliated voters. Of those with an unaffiliated majority, seven counties have more Democrats than Republicans (Atlantic, Bergen, Cumberland, Monmouth, Passaic, Salem, and Somerset) and two counties (Morris and Ocean) have more Republicans than Democrats.

Two counties (Essex and Hudson) have a majority of their registrants in one party (Democratic). The highest percentage of unaffiliated voters is in Cumberland County (43.9 percent). The highest percentage of Democrats is in Hudson (54.8 percent); the highest percentage of Republicans is in Sussex (41.4 percent), and the highest percentage registered in other parties is in Cumberland (1.9 percent). The lowest percentage of unaffiliated is in Hudson (34 percent), Democrats is in Sussex (20.7 percent), Republicans is in Hudson (9.7 percent), and other parties is tied in Essex and Hunterdon (0.8 percent each). The county with the closest Democratic-Republican percentages is Monmouth, with Democrats at 27.9 percent and Republicans at 27.8 percent. The county with the largest Democratic-Republican percentage spread is Hudson (45.1 percent). Bergen County has the largest number of registered voters (633,545), and Salem County has the smallest (46,752).

Voter registration by county on November 30, 2019 [4]
County [a] Unaffiliated Una % Democratic Dem % Republican Rep % Other O % Total
Atlantic 74,806 39% 64,986 33.9% 49,202 25.7% 2,613 1.4% 191,607
Bergen 260,310 41% 232,530 36.7% 135,455 21.4% 6,155 1% 634,450
Burlington 119,808 37% 121,194 37.4% 80,013 24.7% 3,406 1.1% 324,421
Camden 139,259 37.5% 172,391 46.4% 55,335 14.8% 4,824 1.3% 371,829
Cape May 25,602 35.4% 16,976 23.5% 29,069 40.2% 750 1% 72,397
Cumberland 39,816 43.9% 30,559 33.7% 18,585 20.5% 1,730 1.9% 90,690
Essex 202,430 37.7% 276,434 51.5% 53,457 10% 4,551 0.9% 536,872
Gloucester 81,639 37.8% 83,289 38.5% 48,675 22.5% 2,519 1.2% 216,122
Hudson 132,017 34.1% 211,180 54.6% 37,651 9.7% 5,941 1.5% 386,789
Hunterdon 35,889 35.8% 24,594 24.5% 38,887 38.8% 800 0.8% 100,170
Mercer 101,074 39.8% 110,526 43.5% 38,891 15.3% 3,493 1.4% 253,984
Middlesex 222,792 41.3% 226,698 24.1% 82,420 15.3% 7,033 1.3% 538,943
Monmouth 199,794 43.2% 129,275 27.9% 128,782 27.8% 5,415 1.2% 463,266
Morris 135,289 36.7% 100,607 27.3% 129,343 35.1% 3,462 0.9% 368,701
Ocean 179,192 43.1% 88,559 21.3% 143,233 34.4% 5,226 1.3% 416,210
Passaic 123,845 39.5% 122,367 39% 62,556 20% 4,795 1.5% 313,573
Salem 19,768 42% 14,572 31% 12,037 25.6% 653 1.4% 47,030
Somerset 97,450 40% 80,872 33.2% 62,787 25.8% 2,370 1% 243,479
Sussex 39,087 36.4% 22,251 20.7% 44,409 41.4% 1,552 1.5% 107,299
Union 126,988 36.2% 166,657 47.5% 53,086 15.1% 4,439 1.3% 351,180
Warren 29,229 36.4% 19,336 24.1% 30,647 38.2% 955 1.2% 80,237
Total 2,386,164 39.1% 2,315,853 37.9% 1,334,550 21.9% 72,682 1.2% 6,109,249
  1. ^ Counties are colored based on majority party registration.
Voter registration by congressional district on November 30, 2019 [8]
District [a] Unaffiliated Una % Democratic Dem % Republican Rep % Other O % Total
1 197,186 37.1% 239,100 45% 88,191 16.6% 6,864 1.3% 531,341
2 203,296 40% 158,297 31.1% 141,062 27.7% 6,917 1.4% 509,572
3 215,569 40% 164,644 30.5% 153,763 28.5% 6,336 1.2% 540,312
4 228,566 42.7% 139,796 26.1% 161,619 30.2% 5,903 1.1% 535,884
5 217,587 40.2% 162,387 30% 156,104 28.9% 5,212 1% 541,290
6 196,518 41.6% 190,480 40.3% 78,493 16.6% 6,701 1.4% 472,192
7 217,587 39% 166,279 29.8% 168,592 30.3% 4,886 0.9% 557,344
8 145,676 35.4% 221,914 53.9% 38,290 9.3% 6,010 1.5% 411,890
9 179,388 39.7% 198,975 44% 66,713 14.8% 6,582 1.5% 451,478
10 168,384 34.7% 282,634 58.3% 27,713 5.7% 6,164 1.2% 484,985
11 213,903 37.8% 172,628 30.5% 174,658 30.8% 4,762 0.8% 565,951
12 202,504 39.9% 218,899 43.2% 79,352 15.7% 6,345 1.2% 507,100
Total 2,386,164 39.1% 2,315,853 37.9% 1,334,550 21.9% 72,682 1.2% 6,109,249

Issues

The most contentious recent issue in New Jersey has been the conflict between the state government and public-sector unions. The unions, allied with the Democratic Party, believed that their workers were entitled to pensions and healthcare which had been promised to them in the past. Moderate Democrats and Republicans believed that the state could no longer afford to pay for benefits it had promised public workers in the past. [9] [10]

Property taxes are also an issue, since the state has the nation's highest property tax. [11] New Jersey is a densely-populated, high-income, high-cost-of-living state, with more money needed for infrastructure and transportation, and it does not allow counties and municipalities to impose local income or sales taxes. Property taxes fund local government, schools and county expenses, making lowering it difficult. [12]

Legalized gambling is also an issue. In 2011, Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney promised to limit gambling to Atlantic City for "at least five years" to protect the struggling tourist destination from intrastate competition. Developers are pressuring the legislature to allow gambling in other parts of the state, such as the Meadowlands. New Jersey challenged the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2014, which had grandfathered Nevada's federal statutory monopoly on legal sports betting. The Supreme Court overturned the appellate-court decision, removing the final barrier to New Jersey sports betting on May 14, 2018. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion supporting New Jersey's assertion that the PASPA infringed on the state's Tenth Amendment rights in Murphy vs. Collegiate Athletic Association. [13] The state quickly moved to capitalize on the ruling and allow sports betting at state-sanctioned sportsbooks at the Meadowlands Racetrack. [14]

In 2010, New Jersey legalized medical cannabis. The law, legalizing the drug for medical use, was passed by a Democratic government just before Christie (who was skeptical about legalized medical marijuana) took office. Christie subsequently vetoed, or requested alterations to, laws expanding the state's program. (New Jersey has two dispensaries.) The issue gained attention during the 2013 gubernatorial election, when the father of a young girl with epilepsy confronted Christie at a diner. In March 2019, a vote on recreational legalization was canceled at the last minute. The state senate did not have the 21 votes needed to pass, since all of its Republicans and nine of its Democrats opposed the bill. A 2020 referendum was announced, and a second legislative attempt was possible during a lame-duck session. [15] [16]

On October 21, 2019, weeks after California passed a similar bill, state Senators Joseph Lagana (D-Bergen) and Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson) introduced the New Jersey Fair Play Act. The bill would allow college athletes to be paid for the use of their names, images and likeness, and to hire an agent or lawyer. It intends to protect student athletes, since one injury can cost them their scholarship without a way to pay for school or vocational guidance. [17]

On February 4, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed a $15- minimum-wage bill into law. The law will increase the minimum wage by $1 every January 1st until it reaches $15 in 2024. When it was enacted, the state's minimum wage was $8.85. The first increase was on July 1, 2019 (to $10), and it will become $11 on January 1, 2020. The bill raises tipped-worker wages from $2.13 to $5.13 per hour; if a worker does not earn the minimum wage through tips, the employer must make up the difference. Farm-workers will only be raised to $12.50 an hour in 2024, then possibly raise it to $15 by 2027. [18]

LGBT rights

In April 2004, New Jersey enacted a domestic-partnership law which is available to same- and opposite-sex couples aged 62 and over. In 2006, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ordered the state to provide the rights and benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples. The following year, New Jersey became the third state in the U.S. (after Connecticut and Vermont) to offer civil unions to same-sex couples. In 2013, the state supreme court ruled that New Jersey must allow same-sex couples to marry. A 2010 last-minute attempt to legalize same-sex marriage under outgoing Democratic governor failed because of objections by Senate President Steve Sweeney (also a Democrat). From 2010 to 2013, Governor Christie vetoed attempts by the state legislature to legalize same-sex marriage. Since the 2013 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling, three government-recognized relationships have been in effect in the state: domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriage. Rhode Island and New Jersey are the two states which permit adult incestuous relationships. [19] [20]

Gun control

New Jersey has some of the country's strictest gun control laws, which include bans on assault firearms, hollow-nose bullets, and magazines which can hold more than 15 rounds. A permit is required to purchase any firearm, including shotguns, rifles, and handguns. No gun offense in New Jersey is graded less than a felony. BB guns, air guns, black-powder guns, and slingshots are statutory weapons. New Jersey does not recognize out-of-state gun licenses, and enforces its own gun laws. [21]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Districts are colored by current political representation, not by the highest percentage of voters in each party.

References

  1. ^ "New Jersey Constitution of 1776". state.nj.us. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  2. ^ Klinghoffer and Elkis. "The Petticoat Electors: Women’s Suffrage in New Jersey, 1776–1807." Journal of the Early Republic, 12, no. 2 (1992): 159–193.
  3. ^ Connors, R. J. (1775). New Jersey's Revolutionary Experience [Pamphlet]. Trenton, NJ: New Jersey Historical Commission.
  4. ^ a b "NJ Department of State" (PDF). NJ DOS Division of Elections.
  5. ^ "NJ Department of State" (PDF). NJ DOS - Division of Elections.
  6. ^ "NJ Department of State" (PDF). NJ DOS - Division of Elections.
  7. ^ "New Jersey Election Results 2018: Live Midterm Map by County & Analysis". www.politico.com. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  8. ^ "NJ Department of State - Division of Elections" (PDF). NJ DOS - Division of Elections.
  9. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard. "N.J. Legislature Moves to Cut Benefits for Public Workers". nytimes.com. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Looks like time's up for New Jersey's pension fund". nypost.com. 14 January 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Which homeowners around the U.S. pay the highest property taxes?". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  12. ^ Livio, Susan K. (2017-02-18). "7 reasons why N.J.'s property taxes are highest in U.S. again". nj. Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  13. ^ "Docket for 16-476". Archived from the original on July 8, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  14. ^ Bagli, Charles; Piccoli, Sean. "For the First Time, Gamblers Bet on Sports at Meadowlands Racetrack". The New York Times. A. G. Sulzberger. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  15. ^ "NJ Marijuana Legalization Is Alive Again: Here's When It May Come". Newark, NJ Patch. 2019-08-09. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  16. ^ "New Jersey Cancels Vote On Marijuana Legalization". Point Pleasant, NJ Patch. 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  17. ^ Sitrin, Carly. "New Jersey bill would allow college athletes to earn endorsement money". Politico PRO. Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  18. ^ L, Katherine; ERGAN. "Murphy signs bill to boost New Jersey's minimum wage to $15". Politico PRO. Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  19. ^ McDonnell, Brett. "Is Incest Next?." Cardozo Women's Law Journal 10.2 (2004).
  20. ^ Merkel, Dan (2009). Privilege Or Punish: Criminal Justice and the Challenge of Family Ties. Oxford University Press. p. 196.
  21. ^ "N.J.A.C. Title 13 Chapter 54 - Firearms and Weapons" (PDF). New Jersey State Police. State of NJ Dep. of Law & Public Safety. Retrieved 7 February 2019.