Bernardsville News: “Disguised” Bigotry “Prevalent’ In Somerset GOP Campaigns

The Bernardsville News editorial board blasted the New Jersey and Somerset County Republicans for relying on bigotry and racism to attack Democrats.  The whole editorial is after the jump, but here are some choice pieces

A racially charged political mailing in Edison made headlines last week when an election flier sent to residents in that Middlesex County town attacked two Asian school board candidates. …

This racist incident should be an affront to all Americans. In our greatly divided nation, bigotry seems to be rearing its ugly head far more frequently in our elections.

Somerset County is no exception. …

The racism exhibited in the political mailings in Edison this election year is indisputable.

Bigotry was much better disguised in Somerset County during the 2017 campaign season, but just as prevalent. 

HERE IS THE WHOLE EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL: Traces of racism
Nov 3, 2017

A racially charged political mailing in Edison made headlines last week when an election flier sent to residents in that Middlesex County town attacked two Asian school board candidates.

The offensive literature called for the deportation of the candidates, noting that "Chinese and Indians are taking over'' the town. It included the message "Make Edison Great Again,'' an obvious reference to President Trump's campaign slogan.

Officials are investigating this despicable mailing. Its origins were unknown.

This racist incident should be an affront to all Americans. In our greatly divided nation, bigotry seems to be rearing its ugly head far more frequently in our elections.

Somerset County is no exception.

In the general election races for county freeholder and clerk, controversial fliers sent out by the New Jersey Republican State Committee have also raised eyebrows.

The mailings attack the Democratic candidates, including Shanel Robinson, an accomplished black woman, military veteran, mother, volunteer and public official from Franklin Township.

In a press release, Rep. Bonnie Watson, D-Somerset, slammed the GOP for "spewing racially divisive lies'' about the Democrats.

The literature describing Robinson as '' 'a threat to our special quality of life' in Somerset County demeans both her character and her incredible abilities,'' the Congresswoman said. "Once again, we see white candidates relying on innuendo and racially divisive language to attack a person of color.''

Several GOP mailings also blasted Democratic freeholder candidate Alex Avellan, a Bernards Township resident of Latino heritage, for not paying property taxes. The 30-year-old attorney lives with his parents in Basking Ridge - as do thousands of other young professionals in a state where rent and home values are among the highest in the nation.

The mailings also attack Democratic clerk candidate Steve Peter, who they claim "wants to turn New Jersey into a Sanctuary State for illegal immigrants - even those who have committed serious crimes.''

The Republican State Committee has distributed increasingly vicious fliers in recent years, usually using unflattering photos of the Democrats designed to humiliate. This year's batch has reached a new low, exploiting personal issues such as social status.

The 2017 Republican campaign tactic of tying Democratic candidates to gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy on sanctuary cities is particularly galling - and has even been used in municipal contests in the Somerset Hills.

In Bernards Township, the Republican candidates and some supporters portrayed the Democrats as supporters of sanctuary cities. The issue first arose in an automated telephone robo poll that the Republicans wouldn't take credit for or deny.

We find it disturbing for any candidate to play the sanctuary city card in Bernards - especially so soon after the township was publicly admonished for alleged discrimination in the mosque legal case.

Was this really necessary in a community like Bernards that has a relatively small Hispanic population?

The issue was also raised by the Bernardsville Republican chairman who, in a campaign letter, questioned whether the opposition would make the town a "sanctuary borough'' if elected.

This exploitative, fear mongering at the local level is reprehensible. Calling it "Trumpian politics,'' one Basking Ridge letter writer noted that "toxic Washington filth'' was now being used as a "deceitful, manipulative campaign tactic'' here.

The racism exhibited in the political mailings in Edison this election year is indisputable.

Bigotry was much better disguised in Somerset County during the 2017 campaign season, but just as prevalent.