note: title wording was changed from "the jews" to "Jewish vote"
It looks like Obama's political leadership team is going to try to spin the loss of Anthony Weiner's NY District 9 seat on Tuesday as a local anomaly primarily due to a large Jewish population.
Amazing, the different takes on the Democrats' loss of a District they'd held for almost a century (since the 1920s,) where the Democrats have a three to one registration advantage.
Some publications say it's because the Republican winner, 70 year old Bob Turner made the election about Obama.
Some publications, like the Washington Post, add a bit more nuance and suggest that the reason was because of a local issue-- Obama's support of Israel returning to 1967 borders-- which is opposed by Orthodox Jews-- who compose a larger portion of this district than almost any other.
Also, Weprin, when he was a representative in the New York State house, voted for gay marriage, another contentious issue. The Jewish week reported , that Weprin's vote for Gay Marriage "led some Flatbush Orthodox rabbis, in an unusually strident letter last week, to issue a prohibition not only against voting for Weprin but against donating time or money to his campaign."
Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn (flickr image By Locace)
The Washington Post reports that DCCC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz shrugged off the loss, attributing it to a unique local situation. The article reports,
She said that Orthodox Jews, whose approval rating of Obama stands at just 13 percent, were far outnumbered in other districts with large numbers of Jewish voters and that this result will not be replicated elsewhere. "There isn't any comparison between districts like mine and New York Nine," she said.
At Dailykos, sidnora reports how Wiener's district was a very conservative Democratic district, that Weprin was a really bad candidate and Turner was a very effective candidate, in terms of ability to communicate and raise enthusiasm. He gets ultra local, remarking,
Weprin was given the nomination by the Queens County Democratic party Chairman, Joe Crowley , because Crowley wanted to make sure that when the 9th gets disappeared in the upcoming redistricting, the "orphaned" incumbent wouldn't be strong enough to challenge any of the more established incumbents in the adjoining districts. That's no way to win a race you really want to win, and it should also provoke a discussion about how nominees for special elections are chosen in NYC. So, if you want to blame anyone for this loss, blame Joe Crowley. He outsmarted himself.
At his New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver's article, For Democrats, It's 2010 All Over Again , adds another perspective.
He discusses the issue of the PVI, which he explains, " One crude way to forecast the results you might expect to see out of a House race is through its Partisan Voting Index , or P.V.I., a measure of how the district voted relative to others in the past two presidential elections."
That shows that for the most part, Republicans have been picking up elections with percentages above and beyond what the Partisan Voting Index would have predicted.
Here's my take.
This should be a wake-up call to Obama supporters. President Barack Obama has now been shown to have reverse coat-tails, that his candidacy will make things worse for candidates. Look at Weiner's district. Even with a three to one advantage in registrations, the Democrat lost. Obama will be what Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report described as "an Albatross around Weprin's neck" around all Democratic candidates necks. They will win IN SPITE OF Obama, not with his help.
The reality is that Al Gore took 67% of the votes in 2000. Obama took 55% in 2008. The finally tally has Turner winning 56% to 44%. Worst, Weiner received 66,000 votes in 2008. Only 60,000 people voted in this election. Doing the math, that means about 40,000 Democratic voters didn't show up. Remember. The Democrats hold a three to one registration over the Republicans. It's hard not to read this is election as a harbinger of no-show Democrats to come. Obama did a great job in 2008 of getting out the vote. The reverse will surely be the case if Obama is the presidential candidate in 2012. The recent Gallup poll showed support among whites has plummeted by about 40%. It's down at least 30% among Hispanics and even among his strongest base, Blacks, he's down 15%. It's not that all of them will vote against him. They're just not going to show up. That will be a disaster for downstream candidates. This is the reality, but Obama and the leaderless Democrats are going to spin this another way.