By Larry Gordon
We came close to possibly having a Jewish vice president with Senator Joe Lieberman back in 2000. But now it looks like this is serious. The two leading candidates today for the Democratic nomination to run against Donald Trump in November are Jews, and, on top of that, fascinatingly, they are not even Democrats. At least not yet.
Mike Bloomberg was the Republican mayor of New York for 12 years. Bernie Sanders is the Independent senator representing Vermont in the Senate. Prior to 2001, before he became mayor, Bloomberg was a registered Democrat. Following the Giuliani administration in New York, Bloomberg ran and won as a Republican.
Michael Bloomberg is one of the wealthiest people in the United States, with an estimated personal value of over $50 billion. He is committed to only spending his own money on his campaign for president. So far at this early stage in the campaign, the former mayor has spent over $400 million on his campaign. Placed in economic context, Mr. Sanders has so far spent $40 million, and former vice president Joe Biden has spent $12 million.
Bloomberg is presenting himself as a Democratic moderate while Sanders is clear about his commitment to socialism with his promise to bankrupt this country several times over with senseless pie-in-the-sky policies.
Perhaps the only thing that Bloomberg and Sanders have in common with one another aside from their Judaism is the hostility they harbor for President Trump. Bloomberg’s plan, should he become president of the United States, is not clear yet. His main function and objective, as he has said repeatedly, is to defeat Donald Trump. At this point it does not look like he can do it with any innovative policies. The only way he can possibly beat Mr. Trump is by trying to steamroll over him by spending some of his billions on the campaign.
What the Bloomberg money is achieving right now more than anything else is to push the other formerly leading Democrats down in the polls. Right now, polls in some of the upcoming Super Tuesday primaries have Bloomberg tied with Sanders at 20% a piece. The Bloomberg bucks have pushed last week’s frontrunners, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, down to single digits in the polls.
What this really looks like so far is the media’s need for a fresh face aiming toward the nomination with each passing week.
For many of us who are high on the Trump presidency mostly because of his Israel policy, Bloomberg is promising much of the same. He told the Forward in an interview recently that U.S. aid for Israel will never be conditional if and when he is president. By the way, there is a Magen David Adom ambulance in Israel that Mike Bloomberg donated a few years ago in memory of his mother. And there is also a wing of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem that was endowed by and is named for the Bloomberg family. None of the other candidates or any previous presidents can boast the same.
Bernie Sanders is another story altogether. Sanders represents the perennial Jew who has a difficulty and discomfort with Jewish success or the success and growth of the state of Israel. Sanders, unfortunately, has surrounded himself with people who actively work to damage Jews and the Jewish state. Maybe that is why Trump calls him “Crazy Bernie.” I do not want to call him a self-hating Jew, but you know what they say — if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.
Sanders has made it clear that if he is elected he will make support of Israel conditional on their concessions to the Palestinians. If there ever was a quid pro quo tied to foreign aid, this is it. But Sanders gets a pass on that recent pronouncement.
Now with all the attention, however, it would seem that with his commitment to spend his way to the White House, it should be clear sailing for Mike Bloomberg. But instead there are big problems.
Apparently, his anti-crime policies while he was at the helm in New York are not playing themselves out so well on the national stage.
Take Bloomberg’s anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment policy and contrast it with some of the things he was recently caught saying. President Trump has made it a primary theme of his campaign to protect people’s right to bear arms. At the same time, a few weeks ago Bloomberg was apologizing for the error in judgment of his “Stop and Frisk” policies, which stopped people on the streets of the city to search them for guns and other contraband. Statistics indicated that the vast majority of those stopped and searched were black or Latino.
The Bloomberg policy, which was originally implemented by his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, was extremely effective in getting guns off the streets of the city and that drove down both the murder rate and overall crime in the city. Now Bloomberg is apologizing for the very policy that kept people alive and made the streets of New York safer. It seems that there is something wrong with this, don’t you think?
And then there is the matter of whether or not this country is ready for a Jewish president. Where does the Jewish community stand on all this?
In an election year like this, it is usually at the AIPAC Policy Conference where candidates get the opportunity to demonstrate their support of the U.S.–Israel policy. Folks like Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have already made it clear they will boycott AIPAC. Pete Buttigieg has said he will not attend and, oddly enough, when she was a candidate for president, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said she would not attend AIPAC. Supporters of the senator have since indicated that she will now attend. Considering that the junior New York senator has been telling supporters until recently that she wants to be recognized as the pro-Israel senator, that’s a strange way to show it.
To his credit, former VP Joe Biden has resisted pressure to skip AIPAC and plans to address the nearly 20,000 attendees in Washington, DC on March 1. It might be too late for the Biden campaign, but at least he is trying to do the right thing.
Bloomberg and Sanders represent two kinds of not-so-uncommon and interesting types of Jews.
A recent poll stated that 42% of American Jews today believe that President Trump is too close to and too good to Israel. Those Jews are close to if not exactly the Bernie Sanders type.
Then there is “Jewish with a good Jewish heart but knows little else about Jewish life, doesn’t really care, but genuinely means well.” That’s Mike Bloomberg, in my estimation.
Finally, on this subject, African Americans are still pining today for the return of Barack Obama in some fashion. Many in that community voted for him because, like them, he was a black man. The fact of the matter is that he did little for the African American community and even less than that when compared to the Trump accomplishments.
Women in the U.S. cheered on Hillary Clinton and desperately wanted her to be president back in 2016 despite her questionable past and decision-making process as a senator from New York and then secretary of state. Many would still vote for her this time around if she would only run.
Only the Jews fear having to live through a Jewish presidency, whether it is Bloomberg or Crazy Bernie Sanders. It used to be said that Bill Clinton was considered the first black president because of all he tried to do for and his closeness to the black community. If that is the case, then maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump can be considered the first Jewish president. That would mean that a Bloomberg or Sanders presidency would not be a breakthrough in any new direction.
The good news is that it seems that at this point neither of them will win anyway, so breathe easy.
Contact Larry Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Donald Trump has done more for Israel as well as the diaspora Jews than any other president has in the past.
I’m shocked at the indifference my fellow Jews have displayed their ungratefulness towards him.
Sure Trump has much baggage in his personnna, but all the others do as well.
I believe Trump will win and be re-elected because in my humble opinion he is the best choice for ALL Americans.