If I were in Congress, I would have voted on Thursday against the Democrats’ so-called “Anti-Hate” resolution. That resolution insulted American Jews and all other decent Americans. It also marked the date that will live in infamy — March 7, 2019 — when the formal political realignment of Jews away from the Democrat Party begins its second wave.
The realignment will take some time. It took the Deep South more than a century, from 1860 into the 1970s, to stop bullet-voting Democrats. Ethnic Catholic blue-collar Americans, many of whom arrived here between the 1830s and 1860s from their European lands of birth, did not shift voting patterns to the Republicans until the 1980 Reagan election, subsequently reinforced in 2016 when Donald Trump better spoke to their world views and social values than did the intersectionalist message of the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton candidacy. West Virginia has seen a total transformation as well. And now the Jews, 90% of whom arrived here fifty years later, between 1881 and 1914, are moving into the second phase of their historic realignment away from the Democrat Party that once welcomed them at Ellis Island. The first phase has seen the complete realignment by Orthodox Jews, who now are overwhelmingly Republican.
Realignment takes time, and it takes trauma. Newcomers arrive from overseas and align with a political party. They become committed to the partyas they do to sports teams. Like so many in California, I still root for my native New York teams, the Mets and Yankees, more than three decades after relocating. I despise the Dodgers because they left my Brooklyn hometown for Southern California (uh, just like me…). Chicago expatriates I know here root for the Cubs. None of us cared that a Los Angeles team was in the Super Bowl because, for New Yorkers in Los Angeles, the Giants and Jets had a miserable year, and my Chicago friends were one kick away from seeing Da Bears go forward. And so it is with politics. For many, politics is not only about ideology but about family and generations. Your great-grandfather was a Democrat, and so was everyone on his block. When they arrived at Ellis Island, the Democrats were there, speaking the Old World language while the Republicans were playing tennis or putting on the greens at their restricted country clubs. So everyone on great-grandpa’s and great-grandma’s block was a Democrat. And so were grandpa and grandma.
And their kids — our parents — all followed, now fully American-born Democrats. Everyone in the neighborhood was a Democrat, whether it was the Italian enclave of Bensonhurst or the German neighborhood of Yorktown. Whether the Polish wards of Chicago or the Irish neighborhoods of Boston. If you were more traditional, you voted for moderate Democrats, and the Kirsten Gillibrands played that game. In many communities, even entire cities, the Democrats were the only game in town. In Jersey City, the way to organize for Reagan in 1980was by joining with Democrat Mayor Gerald McCann in Democrats for Reagan — because there were no Republicans. In Brooklyn, conservatives with Republican identity like Assemblyman Dov Hikind made a career as “Reagan Democrats,” then “Bush Democrats,” then Dole and McCain and Romney and Trump Democrats — because there was no GOP game inBrooklyn. If you wanted access to a Congressional representativeor the state assemblyman in such places, you had to be a Democrat. If you wanted to get your kid some experience as a political intern, whether locally or in D.C., it had to be through the local Democrat. If you wanted a politician to speak at your church or temple, you had to be connected with the Democrats. Someone would brag that he or she personally knew a councilman or a state senator or even higher — and that meant having to be a Democrat. It was the same for Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Polish Americans, German Americans, and Jewish Americans. By the way, this likewise is the reason that so many African Americans illogically are bound at the umbilical cord with the Democrats, even though they always do profoundly better under Republicans. In my community, I know one idiot rabbi who is so overwhelmed that he wrote a letter to Bill Clinton and that Clinton wrote him back, that he is a Clinton apostle for life. I know another rabbi of similar narcissistic pride who somehow got Hillary Clinton to attend his family’s Passover seder when she was campaigning for votes in his district. To this day, he is a Clinton Democrat for life — because Hillary had a piece of matzo at his Seder. Consider the foibles of human nature: Twelve years of his yeshiva schooling, five more years of post-secondary Advanced Torah study, four or five more years after that of rabbinic-seminary training, and the highlight of his life is that Hillary ate a piece of matzo at his table. By the way, she also feted Suha Arafat, wife of Yasser, and hugged Suha after Mrs. Arafat publicly charged that Israelis were poisoning the wells. As Ilhan Omar would say: It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.
That is how politics works, especially Democratic identity politics. In the 1960s and 1970s, the formula in New York City was the same every four years, when the big city-wide elections came. The top of the ticket in the quadrennial municipal elections, held the year after the Presidential elections, were for three offices: Mayor, President of the City Council, and City Comptroller. Always the same formula: someone Italian for mayor, Irish for City Council president, and a Jew for comptroller. Then, four years later, they would switch the top two: Irish for mayor, Italian for City Council president, and a Jew to handle the money. It’s always about the Benjamins, baby. (Note that Obama stereotypically would name Jews to be Secretary of Treasury and to head the Federal Reserve Board.) So a mayor might be named Robert Wagner and another, less successful candidate, was Mario Procaccino who got beaten by the alternate Italian, John Marchi. Paul O’Dwyer as City Council president. And Harrison J. Goldin or Abe Beame as comptroller. It was not until Beame, a Jew with roots in England, bucked the system by proving that Jews have no more idea than non-Jews do when it comes to balancing a government budget that a Jew got elected mayor in New York. Once that broke with Beame’s election, then an Ed Koch could do it, as could a Michael Bloomberg.
Jews became Democrats for the same reason that Irish Catholics did in Boston, that Italians did in New York and Boston, that Poles did in Chicago, that Germans did elsewhere in the Midwest. The Democrats played the identity card from time immemorial. But for Jews it was more. Extreme right-wing politics always worked out badly for Jews: pogroms under the Russian tsars, centuries of hate under German Kaisers, persecution under extreme theocracies like the Holy Roman Empire. Right-wingers as far back as Rome always persecuted Jews. And that extreme-right-wing tragedy would be confirmed again later in the mid-20th century under the Nazis and the Mussolini fascist allies. By contrast, some Jews had not yet all gained the political sophistication that would come as they soon would learn that Marxism and Communism were every bit as bad, and often worse. Stalin was every bit as bad to the Jews as Hitler — every bit. Karl Marx was every bit the Jew-hater as were Streicher, Goebbels, and Himmler. The only difference was that Stalin had a New York Times publicist, Walter Duranty, covering up his crimes against humanity — Stalin murdered millions of Ukrainians — and Stalin thankfully died on the eve of his planned campaign against the Jews.
So Jews, like other ethnic immigrants from Europe, started off Democrat and stuck with it as we stick with our sports teams. Just as Southerners kept voting Democrat into the 1950s and 1960s, long after the parties had realigned. Still, if you were in Alabama or Mississippi, that was where the political power and access was. That was where government funding lay. Your senator, your Congressional representative, even your local dog catcher was Democrat — and so were you.
Like a divorce after a long multi-decades marriage, it takes a traumatic moment, sometimes many, to break it up with finality. An adulterous affair. A physical beating. And sometimes even the adultery and the spousal battering will not end the marriage. But there are divorces. There are times when someone says, “Blessed is the G-d who redeems and saves. I am the hell out of here!” And that moment hit the Deep South when George McGovern ran against Richard Nixon. It hit blue collar European-ethnic Catholics when Ronald Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter, then Walter Mondale. And now it has hit the Jews of America.
Orthodox Jews always are the bellwether of the Jewish community because we adhere to Judaism. If Jews are society’s “canary in the coal mine,” we are the canary’s canary. We wear identifying garb, whether a fedora and long earlocks or simply, as I do, a knitted yarmulka. We eat only kosher food, only in kosher restaurants. We walk to shul on Sabbath, push our baby carriages within regions encompassed by special boundary designations (“eruv”) that we construct at great expense with city approval. While the long-lost and assimilated Jews like George Soros, whom we despise, and Bernie Sanders dance with the dictators and marvel over the wonders of socialist bread lines, we the Orthodox already are placing our orders for special “shmurah matzos” seven weeks before Passover. And it is this bellwether community that realigned two decades ago and more to the Republicans. More than 90 percent of Orthodox Jews voted for Mitt Romney against Obama. Donald Trump’s strongest voting bloc in 2016 was Orthodox Jews, and he will get even more support in 2020. The Pew survey has found that Orthodox Jews will comprise a majority of all New York Jews within two generations.
As the realignment unfolds, the trauma now hitting the next wave of American Jews has hit front-and-center with the fight within the Democrat Party over passing a simple resolution condemning Jew-hatred. For the old-time Jewish liberals who put their lives and souls into the Democrat Party, this was to be their validation, as the party of their great-grandparents, zaydes and bubbes, parents, and selves would stand up for them as they always had stood by their party. A vicious newcomer to Congress, spreading one Goebbels-like Nazi trope after another, finally was to be censured. And then the Democrat Jews got their awakening:
A resolution against “all hate” is not a resolution against anti-Semitism. Rather, when the challenge is a Nazi recitation about Jews and money, Jews and world dominance, Jews and dual loyalties… and when the response is that, well, “all hate is wrong,” then that diluted resolution is an insult to American Jews, an insult to all other decent Americans, and it is a piece of garbage that I would have voted against if I were in Congress.
That is how Jew-hatred and anti-Israel bias works in theUnited Nations. Hamas terrorists murder innocent Jewish civilians, and the UN responds by condemning “all” violence. Terrorists from Abbas’s Palestinian Authority murder an innocent Jewish woman in a forest and rape her because she is a Jew? Well, the UN condemns “all rape.” Islamic Jihad murders Jews at a bus stop? Well, “we hereby condemn all murders at bus stops.” Go and try that on the African American community when a Caucasian police officer wrongfully shoots an innocent Black citizen. As the street protesters chant “Black Lives Matter,” go and try mollifying them by passing a resolution that “ALL lives matter.” Of course all lives matter, but the moment when a racist murder takes place under the color of law, the demand of the hour is to condemn anti-Black racism, not all racism.
American non-Orthodox Jews now are living through a trauma. The Democrats into whom they invested everything have turned on them by walking away from them. Sorry, honey, but Jews are not part of Intersectionality. And it will get worse, much worse, in the years ahead. The new era of Democrats now are holding Israel to standards that are not even expected of Iran. They would boycott and sanction Israel but not boycott or sanction Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Putin’s Russia, China, or Venezuela. They still will take Jews’ money, and this last generation of die-hard Jewish Democrats like George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, and what is left of them in Hollywood and Broadway, from which they likewise are starting to get pushed out, will keep donating to the grave. But a new generation rises. They see. And they understand. And the realignment begins.
One day the Democrats walked away from the world that had attracted Ronald Reagan. And so he left. They abandoned European ethnic Catholics, and so they have left. They have all-but-criminalized the status of “White male,” and they have left. American Jews now are packing their bags, and the Orthodox Jews who left for the Republican camp long ago are restraining ourselves from saying “Toljaso! Toljaso!” Instead, like the Jews of the United Kingdom who now vote 70 percent conservative and the Jews of Israel, who have voted dominantly for conservative governments for the past forty years, these Jews are being welcomed into the Republican party. And as for those Soros-types who will not budge but instead will die with a Democrat donkey engraved on their tombstones, just as former New Yorkers cling to the Yankees and Mets, and as former Chicagoans cling to the Cubbies to their very last breath, they may go to the grave satisfied in knowing that they gave their lives to a political party that could not simply condemn anti-Semitism.