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What happened to the middle in New Jersey politics?


It’s no secret that New Jersey and the nation are more politically polarized than ever. But it’s not only political; sometimes, the issue becomes highly personal. 

A few months ago, one of my closet friends—whom I grew up with in our Italian American neighborhood in Newark and who is now a big-time Trump supporter—said to me, “You know, Steve, we are heading toward a civil war, and everyone is going to have to pick a side. Whose side are you going to be on?” That was hard to hear. This is a guy I’ve known for several decades, and we are really close. However, I currently reside in Montclair, a notoriously left-leaning, progressive community that some refer to as “the people’s republic of Montclair,” a reference to socialism and, yes, communism. 

We hear a lot these days about the extreme left and hard right. I began to ask myself the following questions: What happened to middle? You know—common sense, moderate. You know, crazy stuff like preserving the democracy, integrity of an electoral process, peaceful power transition, support for law enforcement, and awareness of prejudices which often disproportionately impact minority citizens. 

This whole thing of picking sides-—far left, far right, civil…

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