Michael Bloomberg Popular With Jews — But His Policies? Not So Much.

Middle-Class Angst Fuels Vote for Bill De Blasio

Vote for Change: If Michael Bloomberg is so popular with New York Jews, why did they vote for Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate who ran on a platform of opposition to his policies as mayor?
getty images
Vote for Change: If Michael Bloomberg is so popular with New York Jews, why did they vote for Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate who ran on a platform of opposition to his policies as mayor?

By Eric Yoffie

Published September 16, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Furthermore, stark income differentials are more visible in New York than they are in other places. A crowded and diverse city, filled with immigrants and minorities, New Yorkers literally live on top of each other; and they watch with despair as neighborhood after neighborhood in Manhattan and Brooklyn becomes gentrified, out of reach of those on the lower rungs of the middle class. And because the city is a financial center, the glittering dinners, benefits, and receptions of the super-rich fill the tabloids daily. This is great fun when all are sharing in the good times, but a source of bitterness when they are not.

Bloomberg should have gone off quietly into the night, expressing sympathy for the plight of struggling New Yorkers. But the Mayor was incapable of this. His now famous interview with New York magazine drew attention mostly because of his observations on Bill de Blasio’s interracial family, but his other comments were more important. He said—and I am not making this up—that the very best way to help New Yorkers would be to get more Russian oligarchs and billionaires from around the world to move to New York. He reminded the poor that things weren’t so bad because 80% of them have air-conditioning. He could think of no reason to be critical of the financial industry. And he managed not to utter a single word of support, encouragement, or understanding for the plight of those who live in his city.

After 12 years as a pretty good mayor, Bloomberg presented himself as an arrogant, out-of-touch billionaire, not only tone deaf to the problems of average New Yorkers but contemptuous of their concerns.

It is time for Bloomberg to go, and it is no surprise that Bill de Blasio won the primary (or so it appears as this is written) and got the largest share, by far, of Jewish votes. It was de Blasio who showed understanding of the insecurity and anger of so many New Yorkers. It was he who spoke of shared sacrifice, challenging the entrenched and calling our leaders to account. It was he who talked the language of ordinary working New Yorkers.

The supporters of Republican candidate Joseph J. Lhota are confident that New York Jewish voters, who backed Bloomberg and Guliani and have not supported a Democrat in 20 years, have moved permanently to the Republican camp. Perhaps, although Lhota seems to be singing mostly from the Romney songbook, and that did not work out too well for the Republicans in 2012.

My guess is that de Blasio will win the Jews on November 5th. Jews will likely support him out of self-interest—most Jews, remember, are not on Wall St.—and out of a sense that at a moment when America’s priorities are warped, the Jews care not only for their own but for the injured of other tribes and other races. De Blasio is no radical, but an establishment liberal who is committed to capitalism while knowing that fairness matters—something that, sadly, the good Mayor Bloomberg appears to have forgotten.

*This opinion piece first appeared on Haaretz. Read more at Haaretz.com

Rabbi Eric Yoffie is the former leader of the Union for Reform Jewry. He writes on his ericyoffie.com website.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Yeshiva University's lawyer wanted to know why the dozens of former schoolboys now suing over a sexual abuse cover-up didn't sue decades ago. Read the judge's striking response here.
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.