Voters wanted a revolution. How'd they get stuck with corrupt Bob Menendez? | Will Bunch
Updated: June 7, 2018 — 2:04 PM EDT
You say you want a revolution? Then you definitely want to see more candidates like Michael Starr Hopkins, a 31-year-old public defender and occasional TV political pundit who — for a brief month or two in late 2017 — toyed with throwing a large wrench into the creaky, oil-leaking machine that is New Jersey’s Democratic Party.
Hopkins’ scheme would have made him not just the youngest U.S. senator since a (former) whippersnapper named Joe Biden back in 1973 but an ardent advocate for progressive causes such as ending the college-debt crisis, supporting a Medicare-for-all health-care system, and legalizing pot.
And here’s the beauty part: A Hopkins campaign — with just a slight nudge from the far-too-influential powers-that-be in the Garden State — would have given New Jersey’s rank-and-file Democrats hope of wiping the slate clean from the embarrassing tenure of their incumbent Sen. Robert Menendez, whose greatest achievement has been showing that taking freebies like jet travel and swank vacations from a millionaire donor seeking political favors is no longer a felony in America’s comatose 21st-century democracy.
Late last fall, Hopkins — who lives in Jersey City — raised about $50,000 from small donors for an insurgent challenge to Menendez. Then he went to major party backers and power players like then-Gov.-elect Phil Murphy and Menendez’s Senate colleague Cory Booker, a 2020 presidential hopeful, to sell them on the power of a fresh face. There would be no sale. Hopkins couldn’t get past the front door.
“They were all very clear that they were backing Menendez — and that was decided even before the Justice Department decided not to prosecute him” a second time after a November hung jury, Hopkins told me this week. He said that many bigger Democratic donors told him they feared “retribution” if they bucked the establishment and gave Hopkins any money. The would-be insurgent abandoned his Senate campaign before it ever got off the ground.
http://www.philly.com/philly/columnis ... rotest-vote-20180607.html