John Avlon for The Telegraph: Why 'Bridge-Gate' will make or break Chris Christie

January 18th, 2014

The Telegraph
by John Avlon
January 18, 2014

The sideshow in American politics over the past two weeks has been dubbed Bridge-Gate, reflecting our impulse to dub every scandal a successor to Watergate.

In this case, the culprit is not a president but a potential presidential candidate, the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. Hugely popular, Mr Christie was re-elected with massive margins in November – winning both women and Hispanic voters outright – and he’s been leading national polls for the 2016 GOP nomination.

But in a semi Nixonesque turn of events, overzealous and somewhat thuggish staffers spoiled a landslide re-election with a paranoid power play.

Here’s what we know so far. In August, Mr Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, emailed Port Authority official David Wildstein with the digital equivalent of a smoking gun: “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

At issue, apparently, was the failure of the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee to endorse Governor Christie for re-election.

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