Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey has had to put up with a lot of false accusations, some of them intentionally timed to cause a lot of doubt about his ethics right around election time. But it’s serious when the Department of Justice is the one hurling the accusations.

If you’re a little jaded about the independence of the DOJ, you might expect them to look the other way about ethical violations committed by a Democratic senator serving in a state with a Republican governor who can appoint his successor.

If the DOJ is not looking the other way then it is a fair bet that the charges are solid enough that the brass couldn’t plausibly blow off the prosecutors.

Another way of putting this is that Menendez is probably screwed because these charges wouldn’t be brought at all if there was much doubt about his guilt or the prospects for a conviction.

One thing the Democrats in New Jersey really need to internalize is that they should want nothing to do with Hudson County machine politicians. It’s a cesspool up there and has been for more than a hundred years now.

Progressives have no reason to lift a finger in support of Menendez, particularly because he’s so egregiously wrong about Cuba and Iran. Even before these charges, progressives should have been treating Menendez as a Liebermanesque persona non grata within the Democratic Party.

If he’s convicted of being a crook, that’ll just make our job easier. But even if he beats this rap, he needs to go. He’s horrible.

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