Special Election Defeat Is Obama’s Loss
Democrat goes down in Weiner’s heavily Jewish former district
Tevi Troy, writing in our pages in June, predicted this. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch “almost perfectly captures the views of a certain type of older—often but not always Jewish—Democrat who is nonetheless skeptical of his party on national security issues,” Troy wrote. “While Koch usually backs his party’s candidate, he also seems to have an uncanny ability to back a Republican—tacitly or explicitly—when the Democrats are going to lose.” Troy was referring to Koch’s opposition to President Obama, whom Koch accused of selling Israel out with his “1967 borders” speech. Age has not dimmed Hizzoner’s savvy: he quickly latched onto the special congressional election in New York’s ninth district—a solidly Democratic area in Brooklyn and Queens vacated by Anthony Weiner—and told the Jews who make up roughly one-third of the district’s voters to vote against the Democrat, a strongly pro-Israel Orthodox Jew named David Weprin, specifically to send Obama a message.
Message received. Loud and clear. The Republican candidate, Bob Turner, defeated Weprin, by something like 54 to 46 percent, becoming the first Republican to hold the district since the early 1920s. This non-Jew did so on the strength of Orthodox Jews’ opposition to Obama’s—not Weprin’s—Israel polices (and, to a lesser extent, opposition to Weprin’s support for gay marriage). “Revenge of the Jews,” proclaimed Matt Drudge’s Website.
Here is some quick reading for the morning:
• Nate Silver, polls and elections analyst extraordinaire, gave some good advice for interpreting special elections last night. Translation: no, this isn’t idiosyncratic; yes, this really was about Obama; yes, it is bad news for Obama; no, it is not that bad news for Obama. Indeed, this morning, Silver argued, “For Democrats, It’s 2010 All Over Again.” [NYT FiveThirtyEight]
• The New York ninth is spectacularly unrepresentative of America demographically (for one thing, there are a lot of Orthodox Jews), and this special election was spectacularly unrepresentative of normal elections. [Ben Smith]
• The Turner campaign accused the Weprin campaign of calling Jewish households and billing themselves as “Jews for Jesus for Turner,” which would indeed be a bit of brilliant (and hugely unethical) reverse psychology. [Washington Times]
• The Turner campaign got ready to file legal papers over allegedly fraudulent returns. Turner’s attorney claimed “at least five” dead people had voted. Maybe they were just Mets fans? Ba-zing! [ABC News/Voz Iz Neias?]
• Ed Koch called on Obama to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States. Obama immediately agreed and asked if Koch would happen to desire all the finest wines and cigars in the land. [Newsmax]
• Weprin got at least one vote: Anthony Weiner’s. [NY Post]
Really, the most important news yesterday concerning next year’s presidential elections is Pennsylvania Republicans’ rumblings to change their state’s winner-take-all electoral-vote system, which could singlehandedly ruin Obama’s chances. But we will leave a daily magazine of political life and culture to discuss that. For us: JEWS. OBAMA HAS A PROBLEM WITH THEM.
Related: Koch Test [Tablet Magazine]
Plus Weprin loses, probe calls blockade illegal, and more in the news