the Republicanization of Brooklyn
May 17, 2018 8:14 AM   Subscribe

While Cuomo reportedly is doing all he can to field a candidate to challenge [Simcha] Felder in the September primary election, the Orthodox legislator has little reason to feel much pressure. He is backed by a constituency that is growing both in size and self-confidence, say political observers [...] Attacks by the governor or anyone else on Felder will serve only to alienate those voters further from the Democratic Party, they say. The days when Jews, especially the Orthodox, automatically voted Democrat are over.
An Orthodox politician stands in the way of Andrew Cuomo’s national ambitions
posted by griphus (33 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
An Orthodox politician stands in the way of Andrew Cuomo’s national ambitions

Well, someone ought to.
posted by kenko at 8:21 AM on May 17 [20 favorites]


"The Republicanization of Brooklyn" is much catchier than "The Republicanization of an already-right-leaning part of Brooklyn" but, unofrutnately, a lot less accurate.

As is the part about Jews no longer automatically voting Democratic - a large continent of Conservative and Orthodox Jews have always supported Republicans, and this is not really changing much. At the same time, non-Orthodox Jews are still overwhelmingly likely to vote for Democrats, and increasingly disillusionment with the Israeli government means that "but he's good for Israel" is not exactly driving moderate Jewish voters into the arms of Republicans.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:24 AM on May 17 [22 favorites]


Reminds me of a line from the Sopranos:

Jewish character 1: “The conservative christians have been good friends to Israel.”
Jewish character 2: “Just you wait.”
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:31 AM on May 17 [26 favorites]


Huh? The Hasids have been voting Republican since Reagan. They vote in a bloc, and they're conservative. They also have ten children each, so there are many more of them now.

Interesting that Betsy DeVos visited some of the ultra-Orthodox schools, talking about how she wanted to get rid of the Blaine amendments, when in fact it's just more of them kissing up to the conservatives (NYT really needs to do a better job with this topic.)
posted by Melismata at 8:49 AM on May 17 [11 favorites]


NYT really needs to do a better job with this topic.

And all the other topics, too, while they’re at it.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:55 AM on May 17 [27 favorites]


Andrew Cuomo strikes me as a slimy little bastard of exactly the sort we don't need more of in the Democratic Party. By default I'm in favor of just about anything that helps stop him.

He's the asshole who empowered he IDC to block all progressive legislation basically out of the hope that doing so would make him look more attractive to conservative Democrats during his inevitable Presidential run.

I'd love to see him fail utterly in all his endeavors. His father was awesome, too bad the awesome seemed to stay with the older generation.
posted by sotonohito at 8:57 AM on May 17 [12 favorites]


Religious fundamentalists are socially conservative and insular, film at eleven.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:12 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


An Orthodox politician stands in the way of Andrew Cuomo’s national ambitions

And with some more support for Cynthia Nixon we can all stand in the way of his Statewide ambitions too!

(Not supporting Felder here, but seriously, Cuomo is the slimiest of stuffed shirts and exactly what the party needs to get the fuck rid of.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:13 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]


but, unforutnately, a lot less accurate.

Interesting use of “unfortunately” there.
posted by acb at 9:37 AM on May 17


Yeah, the framing here is odd. The problem with Felder is that he's essentially single-handedly standing in the way of most any progressive legislation in NY. This is a big problem for all NYers, whether or not they like Cuomo (I don't).
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:50 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


His father [Mario Cuomo] was awesome, too bad the awesome seemed to stay with the older generation.

So you're saying the apple didn't fall far from the tree but then took a bad bounce and rolled way down the hill.
posted by JackFlash at 10:02 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Huh? The Hasids have been voting Republican since Reagan. They vote in a bloc, and they're conservative.

Yeah. Trump won nearly every Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Interestingly enough, the Satmars in Williamsburg and the Skvers in Rockland County endorsed Clinton and even though Trump won Williamsburg, it wasn't an overwhelming victory. Satmars tend to be anti-Zionist. I know Orthodox Jews who proclaimed the Satmar endorsement of Clinton a sign she's anti-Israel. Not that they needed convincing.

Also, residents of Borough Park (Lubavitch Hasidim) often register as Democrats but vote Republican. They've voted overwhelmingly for Republicans in the last 4 elections.
posted by zarq at 10:43 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


The Times of Israel article notes:
One example: Felder recently held up passage of the $168 billion fiscal plan until the state agreed not to interfere in the curricula at Orthodox yeshivas. The education of the approximately 57,000 students at New York yeshivas has been under a spotlight for failing to hold to the same standard of basic secular instruction as other schools.
The Times covered this when it happened.
But Mr. Felder’s victory quickly began to seem less decisive.

While the bill broadened the criteria for evaluating the so-called “substantial equivalency” of the schools’ curriculum to the public school version, it also for the first time granted the state education commissioner explicit authority to evaluate that equivalency — a power previously reserved for individual school districts. Critics have suggested that school officials in New York City have ignored the subpar education at yeshivas because of the Jewish community’s political clout.

“I don’t know if we met Senator Felder’s demands,” said the Assembly speaker, Carl E. Heastie. “I think we read the bill a different way.”

He added: “It empowers S.E.D.,” or the state education department.

Differing interpretations aside, the battle has thrust the somewhat arcane world of yeshivas — which teach about 57,000 students in New York City, and which the city has promised for years to investigate — into the spotlight.

posted by zarq at 10:49 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Huh? The Hasids have been voting Republican since Reagan. They vote in a bloc, and they're conservative. They also have ten children each, so there are many more of them now.

I think this discussion will be better without casual anti-semitism. I believe it's true that Hasidic households are larger than average in New York, but it's certainly not the case that they have ten children each.
posted by layceepee at 11:05 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Can we maybe try not refer to Jews talking about other Jews as anti-semitism?

Hasidic birth rates are very high. Borough Park had the highest in all of NYC as of 2013, which led the Post to nickname it "the city’s baby capital.”
posted by zarq at 11:22 AM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Ehhh, it's not 10 but it's not not-10 from lack of trying. This NYT article from 2008 estimates the number of children per family in Kiryas Joel (an outlier from NYC both statistically and geographically, but also an aspirational model for a lot of Hasidic life) as 8.33. And this NYT article from 1997 mentions Hasidic "community leaders" in NYC declaring that Hasidic homes have about 8 children on average. Household sizes are smaller due in part to children marrying early but "Hasidic familes have 10 kids each" isn't so gross or mean-spirited of an exaggeration to be antisemitism imo.
posted by griphus at 11:31 AM on May 17 [15 favorites]


KJ is the spiders georg of communities.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:33 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]




anyway wrt voting trends i don't really understand the frame of mind that has led a lot of frum jews & frum communities to support conservative politicians with authoritarian agendas, and the handwave of "support for israel" doesn't make it any clearer to me.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:41 AM on May 17


Really makes me wish I took a photo of the neighborhood politican's flyer I found in Bensonhurst (a Hasidic enclave, in part) which had a Guinness World Record (TM) number of dogwhistles implying the Liberal Guy being elected would encourage black and gay people to move to the neighborhood. I'm 90% sure it either mentioned Harlem and Greenwich Village by name or had a map of them on there or something.
posted by griphus at 11:50 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


ugh monotheism was a mistake

fucking akhenaten
posted by poffin boffin at 11:57 AM on May 17 [21 favorites]


KJ is the spiders georg of communities.

Counterpoint: I did have some pretty good pizza in KJ back in the 80's
posted by mikelieman at 12:00 PM on May 17


anyway wrt voting trends i don't really understand the frame of mind that has led a lot of frum jews & frum communities to support conservative politicians with authoritarian agendas, and the handwave of "support for israel" doesn't make it any clearer to me.

It's pretty simple actually. The Hasids say to the politician: we'll vote for you, in a bloc, and in turn you'll continue to let us doing blatantly illegal things, such as massive welfare fraud, and no secular studies in our schools (including basic English and math required for jobs), and gendered bus segregation, and putting signs on public sidewalks that say "men only."
posted by Melismata at 12:08 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]




Can we maybe try not refer to Jews talking about other Jews as anti-semitism?

Not to speak for anyone else in the thread (or me even exactly because I don't personally live there) but I think a lot of more liberal Jews - especially those like my relatives who have roots in places like Borough Park - do not love the trend of the ultra-Orthodox dominating those neighborhoods/what it means to be Jewish in Brooklyn.
posted by atoxyl at 12:49 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


i don't really understand the frame of mind that has led a lot of frum jews & frum communities to support conservative politicians with authoritarian agendas

In addition to what's noted above, they have (correctly) concluded that fundamentalism makes for a far stronger bond than the actual subject of worship weakens it, and that authoritarianism is their best hope for maintaining fundamentalism. What they really care about is keeping down the women (especially) and the other ethnicities while continuing to access state resources in support of their religious purposes. Sure, a Trump theocracy would eventually turn on the fundamentalist Jews, but they'd have a lot of women and Others to stomp down first.
posted by praemunire at 1:09 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


The problem with Felder is that he's essentially single-handedly standing in the way of most any progressive legislation in NY.

No, not having more seats is in the way of that progressive legislation. He’s only one vote. If there were three more Dems, he’d be nearly irrelevant.
posted by corb at 2:40 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


True, but it's yet another way that Democrats getting more votes than Republicans isn't good enough for them to "deserve" a legislative majority.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:45 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


and putting signs on public sidewalks that say "men only."

Fuck that noise.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:34 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


He’s only one vote

Yeah, and he's pivotal. He literally has been the deciding vote on bills, or the lone obstacle to passing legislation through blackmail.

Felder betrayed the people who voted for him. He ran for office as a Democrat and just days after he took office announced that he would caucus with the Republicans. He voted for stop and frisk and was the pivotal vit against the DREAM act. He was the only Senator to vote against raising the minimum wage. He's anti-choice and against secular education. He's since been re-elected on both Democrat and Republican tickets.

He shouldn't have run as a Democrat if he was only going to take Republican positions on every single issue.
posted by zarq at 6:02 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


That should be "pivotal vote" not "vit."
posted by zarq at 5:07 AM on May 18


When recently given the opportunity to vote for Felder, who had no opposition in that particular race, I believe I wrote in for Mickey Mouse.
posted by the_blizz at 5:16 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Further background on the political situation in New York State:

The Independent Democratic Conference was a group of NY State senators who had been elected as Democrats. In 2011 they decided to band together and give control of the Senate to Republicans. On paper, Democrats currently have a one vote majority and should control our state legislature. Between Simcha Felder caucusing with the Republicans and the IDC, Democrats are effectively the minority party.

At least some percentage of each IDC member's constituents have been pissed off about this for the past few years. But New York State's political machinery and gerrymandering deliberately makes it very difficult for new candidates to successfully challenge seat holders, so the feeling has been amongst many voters that there isn't much we can do about it.

Last year, reports that 3 IDC members had been paid thousands of dollars in a stipend broke. The stipend is only given to senate committee leaders. Which none of them are. The bribe had been approved by Republicans and made possible by falsified payroll records. That's still being looked into.

Trump's election changed things. People and groups who had not bothered paying attention to politics are now doing so. (Muslim voters in NYC in particular are pushing their communities very hard to register to vote.) Voters in those districts began calling attention in greater numbers to the fact that we're being represented by liars and traitors. And suddenly, Democrats who were members of the IDC found themselves being challenged in their primaries by Progressives.

This is from 2017.

It's a Very Bad Idea to piss off New Yorkers in large numbers.

Anyhoo.

This is a list of 2018's IDC members. See if you can spot the recurring motif.

* Jeffrey D. Klein / District 28 (Bronx). Created the IDC in 2011. Accused of sexual misconduct in January of this year. This is considered a battleground race. Primary challenger: Cuomo ally Alessandra Biaggi. The Working Families Party has endorsed her.

* David J. Valesky / District 53 (Syracuse). Mr. Valesky joined the IDC in 2011. His challenger is Rachel May, a Syracuse University administrator. The Working Families Party has endorsed her.

* Diane Savino / Senate District 23 (Brooklyn and Staten Island). Ms. Savino joined the IDC in 2011. This is considered a battleground race. Primary challenger: Jasmin Robinson. The Working Families Party has endorsed her.

* Tony Avella / Senate District 11. (Queens). Mr. Avella joined the IDC in 2014. This is considered a battleground race. He's being challenged by John Duane in the primary. The Working Families Party has endorsed Duane.

* Jose Peralta / Senate District 13 (Queens). Mr. Peralta joined the IDC in 2017. This is considered a battleground race. He's facing two primary challengers: Jessica Ramos, a former staffer for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Tahseen Chowdhury, a 17-year old high school student named in Crain's New York 20-under-20. The Working Families Party has endorsed Ramos.

* Jesse Hamilton / Senate District 20 (Brooklyn). Mr. Hamilton joined the IDC in 2016. This is considered a battleground race. Challenger in the Primary: Zellnor Myrie. The Working Families Party has endorsed Myrie.

* Marisol Alcantara / District 31 (Manhattan, West Side). This is considered a battleground race. Former New York City Councilman Robert Jackson is running against her in the primary. The Working Families Party has endorsed him.

* David Carlucci / District 38 (Ossining, New City, Nanuet). Mr. Carlucci joined the IDC in 2011. He's the only IDC member without a primary challenger.

The IDC disbanded in March and announced it would now caucus with the Democrats.

Go figure.

Now on top of this, add Simcha Felder, who was originally elected as a Democrat and has been voting with Republicans since Day 1. Mr. Felder wrote a note to Mr. Klein in May 2017, imploring the IDC to rejoin the mainline Democrats in the Senate and vote with them. The best part?
“Who are you to decide what the legislative priorities are for loyal Democrats across New York State?” Mr. Felder wrote, urging Mr. Klein to “unify with your Democrat colleagues and not just highlight a handful of issues that attempt to distinguish you from the Republican conference.”
The irony. The hypocrisy. The deliberate lack of self-awareness. Astonishing.
posted by zarq at 9:05 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


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