The headlines speak for themselves. Times are the worst it’s ever been in New York. Two of the groups suffering the worst are the Jews, especially the more observant who wear yarmulkes, and the Asians. Both minorities suffer from discrimination in merit-based educational institutions and employment opportunities. Hate crimes against Jews were up over 125% between 2022 – 2023 from the previous year. Hate crimes against Asians were up 342% between 2022 – 2023 from the previous year.
On September 12th, both communities had the opportunity to challenge the status quo of leadership in their neighborhood in a special election in Queens.
Democrat Sam Berger defeated Republican David Hirsch, both first-time candidates and both Orthodox Jews.
The 27th Assembly district, considered a moderate area, which includes the Flushing, Kew Gardens Hills, Whitestone and College Point neighborhoods, is heavily Orthodox Jewish and Asian-American. It has historically been a Democratic stronghold but has been trending rightward in recent years. Daniel Rosenthal, who resigned to work for a nonprofit organization, considered a moderate Democrat and Orthodox Jew, won his last election, in 2022, with 58% of the vote. But in the same election, the 27th Assembly district went 56% for Republican Lee Zeldin in his challenge to Democratic incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Zeldin, looking to run again or make himself a leader in the NYGOP, worked hard with Hirsch, even appearing at a meet-and-greet days before the election.
The New York GOP did something unusual for them. They donated state money and gathered volunteers to support Hirsch. Chairman Ed Cox and Manhattan GOP Chair, Andrea Catsimatidis went to Queens. Nassau Chair, Joe Cairo, sent elected officials, volunteers and money to this race too.
As I heard from my political contacts, the country was watching this race for many reasons. Had Hirsch won, a feeling of a turnaround in New York City, Albany and even in Washington was taking place. This was a chance to end a monopoly of one party rule from a failing state.
Had Hirsch won, political donations would have gone into New York races from more out of state donors in those congressional districts and targeted seats that could mean the control of the House of Representatives in November 2024.
Why GOP Keeps Losing
It’s simple, if New Yorkers, especially Republicans and Conservatives want to win, here is what needs to be done:
- Better candidates- First of all there should be a rule, if someone loses three races, then they should already be disqualified from running.
- New strategists- The only people benefiting from these races are a few political insiders that are paid for their services regardless of results. Hirsch had so many advisors with losing resumes as trusted mentors.
- A connection to the base. There is a huge disconnect among the reliable grassroots voters and those in power who take them for granted. For the first time, I’m hearing from these reliable volunteers that they are so disgusted that they probably won’t even vote in November. Also, many support President Trump and are putting all of their efforts towards his campaign and supporters.
- Staying honest and true. Why are politicians appearing where and why?
Coincidentally, as the special election was ongoing, a rally against CUNY was held in midtown Manhattan. The speakers included elected officials from a neighboring borough and about one hundred people attended. Not one educator (like myself who is suing the NYCDOE) or professor, not one parent was invited to speak.
One student spoke and was hard to hear, but it was obvious no Jewish group on campus organized representation to attend this event. Several phone calls after the event convinced those interested to pursue efforts elsewhere in the future. Mayor Eric Adams did something brilliant too. ( I barely say this). Whoever planned his High Holidays security meeting and photo opportunities with the leading Jewish leaders on the same day of both the election and CUNY rally made Adams look good, even as New York is falling apart.
It’s a New Year for the Jewish people, it’s a time for asking for a better future. I reach out to all of my NonJewish friends and offer you the chance for the same resolutions of a two party system with checks and balances and the rights of economic and security benefits for all legal citizens. Make New York Great Again!