By AMEER MALIK, political columnist
When elections loom around the corner, people tend to stick to the party that lines up closest with their own political ideologies; self-proclaimed liberals or die-hard conservatives choose either the Democratic or the Republican candidate, respectively. However, all individuals — voters and candidates alike — are unique in their own beliefs and viewpoints, the sum of which cannot be represented by a single label. What voters should do instead is examine each candidate running for office closely and carefully. They should consider the candidate’s platform, actions, and positions to see if they truly agree with or appreciate those factors before simply rejecting the candidate due to his or her party affiliation.
With that in mind, one should examine Governor Chris Christie, the incumbent of the 2013 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election, with a fresh perspective. Upon observing what he has done as Governor for the state, voters might notice several appreciable aspects of his term. As governor, Christie was able to maintain a balanced state budget (a budget in which revenue and spending were equal) for three years without raising taxes. This is admirable considering that the federal government hasn’t been able to manage a balanced budget since 2001. Governor Christie was also able to limit property taxes at two percent and pass a bipartisan law in July 2012 that would put drug addicts who have committed nonviolent crimes in a drug court program to help them recover through treatment. Additionally, since February 2010, a month after Governor Christie took office, over 100,000 new jobs have been created in New Jersey in the private sector. All of these measures taken by the governor have and will continue to, without a doubt, help the people of this state.
Governor Christie is also unique in his political views, which he expressed while campaigning back in 2009 for that year’s Gubernatorial Election. Despite the fact that he is personally pro-life, Governor Christie does not plan on completely banning abortion in New Jersey. Governor Christie also said he wishes to strictly enforce the current gun laws in New Jersey, not loosen them.
The governor also responded well to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy by working closely with President Barack Obama. Not sticking to the uniformity of his party, Governor Christie publicly praised the president for his assistance. Christie also stood by this commendation when the press wondered if such remarks would undermine the governor’s previous endorsement for Mitt Romney just months earlier. It is exemplary for any politician to relinquish partisanship and work with someone from another political party to provide support for those in need, which is exactly what Christie did by requesting federal disaster aid. He even criticized the Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner for delaying the House from voting on federal aid for New Jersey after the storm.
I probably would not vote for Christie if I were of voting age. However, I can say that after carefully analyzing him and his ideology, I do agree with pieces of it (although, inevitably, there are simply too many issues on which I disagree with him). Nonetheless, Governor Christie has made a number of improvements for our state and should not be disregarded by those who would normally support a Democratic candidate just because he is a branded Republican. Christie does not fit into the mold of the prototypical Republican; in fact, he disagrees with his party on several issues. and has been seen working with Democrats multiple times. By writing him off as no better than the stereotypical Republican candidate portrayed by the media, we do a disservice to the democratic process.
No matter who wins this election — whether it be Christie or Buono — let all voters agree to be smart and become informed about the candidates and their views before passing judgement. Let us not blindly follow whatever political party with which we have identified ourselves in the past. Governor Christie hasn’t conformed to the Republican mold, and we shouldn’t be afraid to transcend the boundaries of our own parties either.