The Corner

New Jersey Democrats: We Pledge To Punish Your Employer!

From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

New Jersey Democrats: We Pledge To Punish Your Employer!

One of the most fascinating things to watch in the coming four years will be New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s rapid, not-so-convincing transformation from a Wall-Street-friendly, quasi-moderate “new ideas” Democrat into the taller, better-looking Bernie Sanders.

I remember a reporter from a mainstream publication who had covered Booker for a long while, coming to an increasingly cynical perspective about him. This was a few years ago, so I’m paraphrasing, but the gist was, “you watch Booker go out to Silicon Valley and see him speak about finding new solutions as mayor and connecting with as many people as possible and school choice and technology, and you walk away really excited. You think, ‘wow, that guy could be the next big thing.’ And then you see him go to these other audiences… and it’s always the same thing. This reporter concluded that Booker was less The Next Big Thing and more a carefully-calibrated, contrived image covering the usual political ambitions and willingness to move on from difficult problems.

Anyway, it appears “I won’t be a squish like that Cory Booker guy” is turning into a theme in the New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski took his gubernatorial campaign to South Jersey today, criticizing fellow Democrat Cory Booker for joining Senate Republicans to vote down an amendment sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders that would have allowed Americans to purchase cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

“That vote against it was about protecting the pharmaceutical industry,” said Wisniewski, who served as chairman of Sanders’ presidential campaign in New Jersey campaign chairman, told a forum in Evesham sponsored by Our Revolution New Jersey, a grass roots group whose genesis was Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.

Wisniewski pledged to put pressure on New Jersey-based drug manufacturers “on day one,” if he is elected Governor.

Easy there, chief. Pharmaceutical companies aren’t quite the same powerhouse of the New Jersey economy that they used to be, but they’re still a big, big employer. It’s the country’s third biggest hub for drug-makers and the state’s biggest private sector employers include Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Novartis, and Bayer.

According to state figures, the pharmaceutical industry employs 47,850 people, which may not sound like a lot but the average salaries are comparably huge: $145,620 in 2015.

But if New Jersey Democrats want to campaign on a pledge to stop “protecting” and start “putting pressure” on the state’s biggest employers… go right ahead, guys.