The Democrats in New Jersey - an arrogant bunch if there ever was one - are waking up this morning, and perhaps still not believing last night was not just a bad dream, are likely going to their comforting mainstream media sources who will tell them, like an overprotective mommy, that it is all OK, they are still the best, and everyone still loves them, and if they don't - well, they're not very nice people, are they?
But there was a bit of a sea change in New Jersey last night, and it can be found clearly in two counties: Monmouth and Middlesex. These are central New Jersey counties, very multicultural, very middle-class, and with a higher percentage of Jews than most New Jersey counties.
And what happened here? Well, Mommouth went for John McCain in 2008, but just barely:
Republican - McCain 160,433 51%
Democrat - Obama 148,737 48%
And how did the electorate shift in last night's governor's race? Can you say...dramatically?
Republican - Christie/Guadagno 128,328 62.19%
Democrat - Corzine/Weinberg 64,315 31.17%
Now let's check out Middlesex, whose shifts might have been even more dramatic:
First, the 2008 results:
Democrat - Barack Obama 193,812 61%
Republican - John McCain 123,695 38.8%
One year later:
Democrat - Jon Corzine 75,200 44.21%
Republican - Chris Christie 81,947 48.17%
I don't necessarily expect the state Democrats to react to this, for the reason stated on top - Corzine's arrogance (he did not even have a concession speech prepared last night) has infected them, perhaps permanently.
But on the national level, Obama and the Dems had better wake up and smell New Jersey. I live on the Middlesex/Monmouth border, so I know better than any DC-based analyst what the story is. This is "professional" middle-class America - people who work in the city doing long hours and unbelievable commutes to provide for their families. These are small business owners and yes, even blue-collar workers - because when you need a toilet snaked, you still gotta call a plumber, and he's gonna charge you a smooth $100- to clean that mess up.
These people - my people - are scared. Scared of losing control of their health-care plans, scared of losing their homes to out-of-control tax increases, scared of losing their businesses to crushing federal mandates. And they came out last night and voted; voted overwhelmingly against the party they feel is putting their very way of life - a life they have spent decades to build - at risk.
National Democrats are well advised to take note of Middlessex and Monmouth Counties in Central Jersey. Because they - and their middle-class soulmates across America - will determine who control the Congress -and the national agenda - in 2010.