With Democrats in solid control of the state Legislature, Republicans seem eager to ensure that it remains that way.
It's not just that they have failed to present a program to fix what's broken in New Jersey. Democrats have no magic formula, either.
What's surprising is that Republicans have put at least three candidates on the ballot who are on record making nutty and bigoted statements, people who would lose the race if they were running against a farm animal.
And to make it worse, the party leadership is standing back passively, refusing to even denounce two of them. So what should voters think? Is the bar really this low for the Republican Party in New Jersey?Synovve Bakke is running for an Assembly seat in Middlesex County's 18th District.via Facbook
Start with Synovve Bakke in Middlesex County's 18th District, and her suggestion on Twitter that America would be better off if it deported Muslims. "When Norway decided to start deporting Muslims, crime went down. Sweden, Europe & America should take notice."
Here's another tweet from her, courtesy of to Matt Friedman at Politico NJ: "I wish people would stop calling Obama a traitor! That requires that he must be an American first which he never was."
Bakke explanation for this is a classic. She meant to say we should deport Muslim "terrorists." And she meant to say that Obama is not a "good" American. Those choice qualifiers were somehow left out.
"You can run out of characters in Twitter," she says.
The man in charge of the GOP campaign is Assemblyman Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union), a gentleman who would never speak like this. But he hasn't called for her to step down, or even picked up the phone to talk it over. Anything goes, apparently.
"I don't pick the candidates," Bramnick says. "These are candidates selected by committee."
Comforting. It's the party's grassroots that tolerates bigotry.
Next up is Bill Conley in Burlington County's 7th District, who posted this comment on NJ.com's about Sen. Cory Booker: "Booker your (sic) a lying decietful (sic) piece of filth you'll fit in just fine with that socialist pond sucking scumbag Obama and his mama Pelosi and uncle Harry Reid you lying two face cockroach."
Just what we need in the Legislature: A venomous man who can't spell.
The prizewinner is Anthony Capolla, whose case is more complicated. He's running in the 38th district in Bergen County, one of the few swing districts in the state.
Capolla, 41, is a stand-up comic who wrote a book in his late-20s packed with hair-raising insults. He calls gays "fags." He says lesbians are good only for pornography. He calls welfare mothers "whores." Asians and Jews take their knocks as well.
The book is a testament to equal opportunity bigotry.
But this one is complicated. Because he sounds horrified himself.
"I was really into Howard Stern," Capolla says. "I grew up. I'm not the same person. I went and apologized in private to select people, especially my lesbian neighbor. I DJ at gay weddings. I'm not a racist. I'm not a bigot. I know what's in my heart."
Capolla temporarily withdrew from the race under pressure. But party leaders then discovered it would cost $200,000 to replace all the ballots. So Capolla is now running his campaign as an apology tour.
"I apologize to my Jewish friends, to the African-American community, to lesbians and gays. I'm trying to think of who else. I offended people who play the flute!"
All three of these candidates are going to lose. And if Democrats hold control, Republicans can only blame themselves.