Sheinkopf Speaks: NY Times plays favorites with Nadler

Congressmember Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney
U.s. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, left, and Jerry Nadler, right.
Hank Sheinkopf

Political business practitioners frequently use the words brilliant or genius to describe some action by  a consultant.

How smart. How clever. Pure genius. Brilliant. What a move. 

Truth. Sometimes it‘s just plain luck. And every once in a while, it’s just plain brilliant.

On the front page of the newspaper of record, the media outlet considered to be voice of reform and progressive Democratic politics —yes, the one that sells more papers in Boston that in Bronx but led the national coverage of the Trump White House winning Pulitzers galore—appeared the story that might end the race.

The headline “Jewish Political Clout at Risk In a Changing New York”– with the photo below of US Rep. Jerrold Nadler, now re-apportioned into same district as US Rep. Carolyn Maloney–made page one right corner.

The tactic is a smart one and the placement perfect. For the people Nadler needs to win, the turn-out alarm is abuzz. That newspaper– the bible of the reform Democrats of old who have done their best to control all who vote and every benefit attached to running government—is saying to reformers yet living,  and not in Florida, you must turn out or disaster will quickly ensue. 

The Reform Democrat religion, Secular Judaism, will disappear without Jerrold Nadler, is the implication. People quoted in the Times’ story in some cases are reform Democrat icons and politically powerless for decades. And Secular Judaism? It is endangered by simple demographics. The more intensely identified and identifiable Jewish population has grown where Orthodox Jews build communities. Disappearing non-orthodox synagogues in Manhattan tell the tale. The secular Jewish religion is at risk should Nadler fail is the clear message. The story also successfully moves him left enough to make Nadler unassailable by the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel gang who sadly have of late more to say about how New Yorkers vote. And for them too, the New York Times coverage will matter.

Do what’s so brilliant about all this? 

Nadler’s  home state assembly district likely has a 2-1 voter turn-out edge over any of the assembly districts included in Carolyn Maloney’s base. And for many who might come out to vote for Nadler in the August 23rd Democratic congressional primary election for Nadler–even if there were blizzard conditions–the Times is the guide.

The photo. The story. The headline. Nadler the clarion of the secular religion called west side reform democrat. Without him the movement and the man might become extinct. The editorial endorsement by the paper of record is likely to follow.

But Jewish political clout at risk if he loses? Hardly. For a decade his district included swaths of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn. When given the opportunity they voted against Nadler. Should Nadler go, the west side will lose its political boss and the reformers will lie when they say they had to vote for their man Jerry and against a woman, Carolyn Maloney, who served us all well.

They will vote to save that which has worked so very well. For them. It’s got nothing to do with anything truly Jewish. But a lot to do with clout.