by the Forward

Charles Schumer

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The Most Important Democrat on Capitol Hill

The electoral earthquake that derailed the political establishment on Election Day did not deliver to Sen. Chuck Schumer what he so desperately wanted — a Democratically controlled U.S. Senate. But Donald Trump’s triumph does leave Schumer in line to be the most important Democrat on Capitol Hill, perhaps in all of Washington. No doubt that’s a role the voluble 65-year-old Brooklyn native will relish.

Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Schumer is set to follow the retiring Sen. Harry Reid as minority leader in what may be the capstone of a long career in Congress, first in the House and now in his fourth term as the senior senator from New York. His longevity is due in part to the energetic way he has mastered major domestic and foreign policy issues while continuing to deliver for his constituents and their local concerns, prompting one of his Senate colleagues to describe him as “the Jewish LBJ.”

Schumer is skilled at walking a political tightrope, too, as illustrated by his decision last year to buck his president and party and cast a vote against the Iran nuclear deal. He certainly knows how to get publicity — teaming up with his just-as-famous second cousin, comedian Amy Schumer, to push for gun control legislation. Now he will need all the savvy and shmoozing he can muster to ensure that his Democratic policies survive in a Republican-dominated capital that may not appreciate his family’s sense of humor.

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