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August 28, 2016

Jersey Shore Power Rankings: Donald Trump costs one town the top spot (and it's not A.C.)

In the penultimate list of seaside communities, politics mesh with Pokemon Go lures to impact standings

Opinion Jersey Shore
Brigantine beach Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Early morning soccer on the beach in Brigantine, New Jersey.

When PhillyVoice created its Jersey Shore Town Power Rankings (JSTPR) algorithms before the Summer of 2016 commenced, we knew not how things would turn out, just that people would like to read about those seaside communities while trapped in the doldrums of non-seaside community activities.

The data crunchers ultimately created a summer of ups and downs for 16 resort areas. That will come to an end with next week's Labor Day Weekend results. 

We know not who will be where in comparison to the initial Definitive Rankings, as the list is the result of complex, mechanized computations. But we do know this: The shore is for relaxation and bonding, not politics, and in this penultimate list, politics cost one community dearly.

Read on to find out which spot that was, knowing full well that it can — and very well may — recover in time to improve its summer-end ranking.

Seven days ago, the list was as follows:

16. North Wildwood (even)

15. Atlantic City (-9)

14. Longport (+1)

13. Cape May Point (-2)

12. Cape May (+2)

11. Wildwood Crest (+1)

10. Stone Harbor (even)

9. Long Beach Island (+4)

8. Margate (+1)

7. Ocean City (-6)

6. Wildwood (+1)

5. Avalon (even)

4. Sea Isle City (-1)

3. Ventnor (+1)

2. Brigantine (even)

1. Strathmere (+7)

Let see how it stands today:

16. Long Beach Island (-7) Enterococci bacteria is a fancy term that science people use for poop water. There was poop water off LBI last week. Yuck.

15. North Wildwood (+1) It took generous troopslifeguarding tradition and poop water elsewhere (for a change) to lift North Wildwood out of the gutter. Good for them.

14. Cape May (-2) If you need to debate just how dangerous your beaches are, you have a problem. Cape May has a problem.

13. Atlantic City (+2) Two steps forward with a thriving marina district, one step back with challenges along the Boardwalk. Cool lighthouses are always a plus, as per JSTPR etiquette.

12. Cape May Point (+1)

11. Stone Harbor (-1) Y’all can’t hit cops down the shore and expect a ratings bump, y’all.

10. Longport (+4) Good stuff, being on the lookout for drunk drivers.

Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

But would hipsters like Lucy the Elephant in New Jersey's Margate?

9. Margate (-1) “This once disheveled seaside town is bouncing back and luring creatives with its promises of coastline, fresh air, culture, art, history — and cheaper rents.” That’s the subhed of a story about hipsters moving to Margate. Sure, it’s not the Jersey Margate. But, guilt by association means the ‘Merican Margate had to pay. Side observations from a Saturday ride: The homes are too close together, but Lucy the Elephant is pretty cool.

8. Brigantine (-6) We took a day (and-a-half) trip that ended in Brigantine this weekend. It was lovely. The people, amenities and Rum Runners at Laguna Grill & Rum Bar were good for the adults. The boogie-boarding waves and game-playing space were great for the kids. All told, the experience dang near rocketed Brigantine to the top of the rankings with just one week to go. 

But then, I saw it, and them. 

Brian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Some folks decided to fly a Donald Trump flag on the beach this weekend. Some folks decided to cost Brigantine top billing in the Jersey Shore Town Power Rankings.

It, being the Donald Trump flag waving in the wind about 50 yards down the beach. And them, being the jacked, shaved-head dudes sitting under it. This is America, and we’re all allowed to support whomever we want politically. But when they moved their encampment up to within a few feet of Laguna’s beach entrance, smack dab in the middle of a Pokemon Go pokestop with an active lure, lines were crossed. People go to the beach to relax, not to be reminded of Aryan Nation prison brawls. Thankfully, the rest of the experience prevented the North Wildwoodification of this wonderful resort.

7. Avalon (-2) Trying to claim Wildwood Crest’s Olympic shine because triathlete Joe Maloy’s dad plays tennis there is beneath even Ryan Lochte.

6. Wildwood (even)

5. Wildwood Crest (+6) Professional surfer and local Maddie Peterson returns to the JSTPR fold by helping Team USA win gold at the International Surfing Association’s Aloha Cup earlier this month. This news was glossed over by all those Americans winning gold in Rio, but to many along the shoreline, it’s equally impressive.

4. Ventnor (-1) "Ventnor is a little less Ventnor without Bill."

3. Strathmere (-2) This sliver of Ludlum Island rose to the top on the coattails of seclusion. Now, it gets referenced in an Italian website’s story about native Anthony Raffa signing a contract to play hoops with Acea Virtus Roma of the Italian Serie A2 League. Respeck, Raffa. Good luck.

2. Sea Isle City (+2) Henrietta “Etta” Creighton is a 92-year-old grandmother from Sea Isle City. Etta loves America and thinks you should, too. (This entry would've been considerably different if Etta publicly engaged in some Colin Kaepernick bashing, but as best I can tell, she hasn't.)

1. Ocean City (+6) Scrapple pie. It’s scrapple. But it’s in a pastry. America is already great, so don't believe anybody who claims the contrary.