Dems Ignoring Their Menendez Problem
Senate Democrats are in danger of losing another seat — even before the 2018 midterm.
As Sen. Bob Menendez’s bribery and fraud trial gets under way, the New Jersey Democrat’s colleagues are quietly distancing themselves from the issue and seemingly pretending that he doesn’t even exist. Much of the mainstream media has also been rather quiet on the story, with some news outlets declining to even mention the fact that Menendez is a Democrat.
Menendez and his wealthy friend, Dr. Salomon Melgen, have been charged with 18 counts of bribery and fraud. Both have maintained their innocence, but Melgen was already convicted of Medicaid fraud earlier this year. Needless to say its not looking good for either defendant, and Democrats know this. It certainly is not helpful for the Democrat Party brand, though it is at least consistent.
If the story was about a Democrat House representative, then the situation might not be as damaging to Democrats, but Menendez is a senator from New Jersey. And should he be found guilty and removed from office it would fall to New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, to choose someone to fill the vacancy. And Christie is well within his rights to choose a fellow Republican, further strengthening the GOP’s slim Senate majority.
The reality is that the Democrats have a problem, and ignoring it won’t make it go away.