Should Constitutional/Liberty Conservatives Support Our Newly Republican Congressman Jeff Van Drew?

Seth Grossman on left as Republican, Jeff Van Drew on right as Democrat, as candidates for Congress at October, 2018 debate at Stockton University.

By Seth Grossman

Reprinted from January 3, 2020 Press of Atlantic City.  Click here for original article.

It’s complicated.  There are many good reasons for us to oppose Van Drew.

Most of them were given last November by leading Democrats from Nancy Pelosi in Washington, to state Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Tom Moran, the left-leaning editor of the Newark Star Ledger.  These Democrats then fully supported Van Drew in spite of his public opposition to President Trump’s impeachment.

They all pointed out that “Van Drew cast a bunch of good liberal votes in his first year” and voted against Trump 92% of the time. Van Drew opposed Trump by voting to support Obama’s unconstitutional Paris Climate Accords, gun control, the swampy Export-Import Bank, the $15 minimum wage, net neutrality and citizenship for millions of illegal aliens.

Since switching parties, Van Drew also embraced the Republican establishment leaders who publicly complained about Trump, and who sabotaged my campaign by repeating Democrat lies about me when I ran against Van Drew in 2018.

Van Drew as a Republican is now weaker than he was when I came fairly close to defeating him as a Democrat last year (with his victory margin 6% or 20,000 votes). Democrats are about to nominate an even weaker candidate from the radical left. Why shouldn’t real conservative Republicans seize the opportunity to defeat both of them with a real conservative?

It’s complicated. There are also good reasons to support Van Drew.

Since he switched to become a Republican, “progressive” Democrats have not been able to contain their hatred towards Van Drew.
Like a mafia boss dealing with a “made man” who betrayed his “family,” Democrats are out to destroy Van Drew.  They are also out to destroy anyone who supports him in any way.   Besides being personal, it is also a matter of “business” — they need to teach other “moderate” Democrats not to even think of doing the same thing.

Of course, Van Drew did not betray the Democrats. They betrayed him.

At that Stockton debate and throughout the 2018 campaign, Van Drew said he wanted to be a bipartisan problem solver in Congress– not a tool of the radical or “woke” left.

At first, Democrats were OK with that. They defended Van Drew when he shook Trump’s hand at the State of the Union speech, and later when Van Drew publicly opposed impeachment. They said they were happy that Van Drew flipped a Republican district to help give House Democrats their new majority, the speaker’s gavel and control of all committees. They also said they were happy that Van Drew voted to support the other 92% of their agenda.

However, something changed a few months ago. Suddenly, Democrats could not tolerate even one dissenting vote on impeachment. Any House Democrat who didn’t go along, including Van Drew, would be punished personally, politically, and financially.

Unlike Republicans, Democrats are ruthless and efficient in punishing members of their party who don’t do what they are told.  If Van Drew did not vote for impeachment, he would have to run an expensive primary election campaign against another Democrat this June,  as well as running against a Republican in November. Anyone who donated to or supported him or his campaign would be viciously attacked personally, politically, and financially.  Federal funds for Van Drew’s favorate projects, the FAA Tech Center, the Cape May Coast Guard Station and beach erosion projects would certainly be threatened.

What changed since last November? As an outsider, I can only guess. I believe that at first, Democrats with a 235 to 200 majority in the House didn’t think they needed Van Drew’s vote. I think they were confident they would get far more than the bare 218 majority vote needed to impeach Trump.
My guess is that the Democrat case for impeachment was weaker than expected and failed to win bipartisan public support. I believe more than a dozen other Democrat House members were ready to vote against impeachment if they thought Van Drew could do it without being punished. That would have been extremely embarrassing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all “progressive” Democrats.

That is why this is complicated.

If constitutional/liberty conservatives work to defeat Van Drew, we would be helping the progressive Democrats we despise destroy their enemies and take total control of their party.  We would also make it much harder for other unhappy Democratic officials to take the chance of becoming Republicans.

Would we be better off if Van Drew survived as a Republican? Would that encourage other Democrats to also switch parties? Would a Republican Van Drew be willing to vote to enforce immigration laws, make America energy independent, protect Second Amendment rights, and let Americans again buy the affordable private health insurance policies that they want (and not Obamacare policies that subsidize abortions, sex-change operations and illegal aliens)?

It’s complicated. We need some conversation to sort things out.
Seth Grossman is the Executive Director of Libertyandprosperity.com.   He was the Republican candidate for the House of Representatives for NJ’s 2d District against then Democrat Jeff Van Drew in 2018.

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