A Trump Fix: After Election Losses, New Jersey Republicans Debate How to Handle President

November 8, 2018 AT 10:00 AM

By Matt Friedman

Looking over the aftermath of Tuesday night’s bloodbath for the New Jersey GOP, Assembly Republican leader Jon Bramnick thinks he has a fix.

The party, he said, needs to clearly and forcefully repudiate the kind of rhetoric on which President Donald Trump closed the election.

“Trump’s rhetoric created an atmosphere that unified the opposition, meaning that he got people so mad that they reacted to his divisive language,“ Bramnick said. “Even a moderate like [Republican Senate nominee] Bob Hugin or a moderate like [U.S. Rep.] Leonard Lance couldn’t overcome the opposition that was reacting to this divisive environment created by the president in New Jersey.“

The problem for Bramnick is that his sentiment is far from universal among Garden State Republicans. The party’s state chairman and at least one pro-Trump state lawmaker strongly disagree with his assessment of the president.

Increasingly, GOP strength is being marginalized to rural areas in a deep blue state dominated by cities and suburbs. At the same time, Democrats have increased their party registration advantage over Republicans to more than 930,000 voters.

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