Throughout all the ups and downs (mostly downs) of Chris Christie's 2014, one thing has been constant: his prolific ability to get rich Republicans to write big checks for the Republican Governors Association, of which he is chair. Indeed, Christie's special relationship with the right-wing 1 percent is a key reason why it's never quite yet time to completely write him off as a 2016 presidential aspirant, even if by nearly every other measure he's a considerably less than perfect candidate. Thursday served as a useful case-in-point to illustrate this odd Christie dynamic, one so very indicative of American politics in the Second Gilded Age.
Here's the latest you need to know about the world of Chris Christie:
- A new poll from the Huffington Post and YouGov finds Christie's favorability rating is still sinking and is now well underwater. While a January poll found 38 percent had a favorable view of Christie, with 34 percent seeing him unfavorably, the latest edition sees those numbers move to 34 and 45, respectively. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the poll finds Christie's loss of favor to come almost entirely from Democrats and Independents. Republicans have no doubt noticed that the governor is mired in a scandal featuring political payback with civilian collateral damage as well as using federal Superstorm Sandy relief funds as a kind of political goodie bag, and they're still on board.
- You know who else is still on board? The GOP donor class. A CBS report notes that the RGA is raking in record levels of cash now that Christie is its chair and fundraiser-in-chief. After three months, the RGA has raised $23.5 million in 2014 and has $60 million on-hand. Dozens of GOP governors are up for reelection this year, so they need the cash — but more than anything else, these kind of numbers signal to GOP power brokers that Christie remains a darling of the Republican economic elite.
- Another bit of good news for Christie: As Will Bunch notes, the Star-Ledger just took a meat cleaver to its staff, laying off more than 150 people. Why is this good news for Christie? Along with the Bergen Record, and the Wall Street Journal, the Star-Ledger has been the best place for Christie and Bridgegate news there is. The less able New Jersey's most influential paper is to cover the exploits of the Garden State's governor, the less Christie need worry about yet another ugly headline raising questions about how political practices.