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“True America And Those Alien Regions”: Republicans Sneer At ‘New York Values.’ That’s Their Problem

When we look back on the 2016 primary campaign, few images will be as bizarre and amusing as Ted Cruz visiting a matzo bakery in Brooklyn and singing a few rounds of “Dayenu” with a bunch of kids. But that’s hardly been the only bit of weirdness coming out of the campaign in the last couple of days. “This is like being so alive, being in New York,” said John Kasich after chowing down on some Italian food in the Bronx.

For a few days, Republicans will pretend to be smitten with the Big Apple; it’s like a foreign trip, where the candidates come to a strange and unfamiliar land to behold the natives and sample their exotic culture.

But as we watch, remember this: If someone other than Donald Trump wins the nomination, he will not be returning to New York after its primary a week from Tuesday, unless it’s to raise money. And that’s another indication of Republicans’ fundamental weakness when it comes time to try to assemble a national majority in order to win the White House.

You might object that this isn’t just a Republican problem; there are many places in this great and diverse country of ours where Democrats are not competitive. And that’s absolutely true. In a general election, the Democratic candidate isn’t going to be campaigning in Mississippi or Oklahoma.

But there’s a difference in the way politicians in the two parties approach those alien regions. Democrats always insist that they’d love to have the support of voters in the South or conservative parts of the Midwest and West. They don’t attack those places as fundamentally un-American. Theirs may be just as much a regional party as the GOP, but they won’t ever say so.

Republicans, on the other hand, regularly assert that the places where they’re strongest are the true America, where the most virtuous people live and the real heart of our country resides. When Ted Cruz attacked Donald Trump for having “New York values” back in January, it wasn’t anything we hadn’t heard before. Indeed, Republicans everywhere (and a few Democrats, but this is mostly a Republican thing) will say they have “[insert our state] values,” as a way of charging that their opponents are strangers who see the world in fundamentally different ways than we do.

The truth, though, is that Cruz was absolutely right when he said that “New York values” are not what Republican voters are looking for, no matter how much support Trump has. When pressed on this point Cruz will say that he was talking about liberal ideology, but it’s much more than that. It’s the fact that New York is urban, young, constantly changing, and perhaps most of all, dominated by immigrants and minorities (more than a third of New York’s population was born outside the U.S. and two-thirds are non-white).

Like many other big cities, New York reflects the diverse coalition Democrats count on to push them over 50 percent, much more so than the nearly all-white GOP. That’s what makes it a threatening place to the typical Republican voter who wants America to go back to being the country it was when they were kids.

And interestingly enough, it’s the New Yorker Donald Trump who seems to have the strongest hold on the Republicans who feel that kind of threat most acutely. In a recent poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, 64 percent of Trump supporters agreed with the statement, “it bothers me when I come in contact with immigrants who speak little or no English,” something that your average New Yorker experiences just about every day. A much smaller (though still substantial) 46 percent of Cruz supporters and 38 percent of John Kasich’s supporters agreed. Trump may hail from Queens and live in Manhattan, but it’s his ability to tap into the fears and resentments of people whom you couldn’t pay to come to New York that has put him in the lead.

One might argue that the long primary campaign discourages regionalism and divisiveness by forcing candidates to pander to all kinds of Americans from all over the country. It’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t actually work out that way in practice. Cruz is on the defensive a bit right now over the “New York values” comment (Kasich has a new ad  attacking him over it, featuring a vaguely New York-ish-sounding narrator talking about how Kasich is in touch with “our New York values”). But he knew exactly what he was doing when he said it.


By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, April 8, 2016

April 9, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, New York Values, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“The Utter Nastiness Of Ted Cruz”: What Sets Cruz Apart Is The Malice He Exudes

When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) last month mocked Donald Trump’s “New York values,” it wasn’t entirely clear what he was implying.

This week we got a clue: For Cruz, “New York” is another way of saying “Jewish.”

At an event in New Hampshire, Cruz, the Republican Iowa caucuses winner, was asked about campaign money he and his wife borrowed from Goldman Sachs. Cruz, asserting that Trump had “upward of $480 million of loans from giant Wall Street banks,” said: “For him to make this attack, to use a New York term, it’s the height of chutzpah.” Cruz, pausing for laughter after the phrase “New York term,” exaggerated the guttural “ch” to more laughter and applause.

But “chutzpah,” of course, is not a “New York” term. It’s a Yiddish — a Jewish — one. And using “New York” as a euphemism for “Jewish” has long been an anti-Semitic dog whistle.

I followed both Cruz and Trump this week at multiple campaign events across New Hampshire. It was, in a sense, a pleasure to see them use their prodigious skills of character assassination against each other. It was demagogue against demagogue: lie vs. lie. Both men riled their supporters with fantasies and straw men.

But there were discernible differences. Trump owned anger. Cruz, by contrast, had a lock on nastiness. Trump is belligerent and hyperbolic, with an authoritarian style. But while Trump fires up the masses with his nonstop epithets, Cruz has Joe McCarthy’s knack for false insinuation and underhandedness. What sets Cruz apart is the malice he exudes.

Cruz jokes that “the whole point of the campaign” is that “the Washington elites despise” him. But Cruz’s problem is that going back to his college days at Princeton, those who know him best seem to despise him most. Not a single Senate colleague has endorsed his candidacy, and Iowa’s Republican governor urged Cruz’s defeat, then called his campaign “unethical.”

Ben Carson, who rarely has a bad word to say about anybody in the GOP race, accused Cruz of “deceit and dirty tricks and lies” this week after the Texan’s campaign spread the false rumor during the Iowa caucuses that Carson was quitting the race. Two former rivals who also appeal to religious conservatives, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum (who endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida), have questioned Cruz’s truthfulness, too.

Sarah Palin, whose support for Cruz in 2012 helped get him elected to the Senate, this week denounced him after a Cruz surrogate accused her of accepting payment from Trump to back him. She, too, accused Cruz’s campaign of “lies,” a “dirty trick” and “typical Washington tactics.”

Cruz, in Nashua, slashed back at his onetime benefactor: “It seems if you spend too much time with Donald Trump, strange things happen to people.” Somebody in the crowd shouted “Fire Palin!” and the audience cheered.

The Iowa secretary of state, a Republican, issued a statement before the caucuses accusing Cruz’s campaign of “false representation” because of a mailing to voters charging them with a “voting violation” and assigning them and their neighbors phony grades.

After Cruz’s caucus-night skullduggery — a campaign email to supporters and a tweet by a Cruz national co-chairman suggesting Carson was quitting the race — his response continued the deception. Though he apologized to Carson, he said that “our political team forwarded a news story from CNN” and “all the rest of it is just silly noise.” But CNN said nothing about Carson dropping out.

After Trump, in his overblown way, accused Cruz of stealing the election, Cruz replied, righteously, that “I have no intention of insulting him or throwing mud.”

No? He accused Trump of “a Trumpertantrum.” He said Trump as president “would have nuked Denmark.” He said Trump “doesn’t have any core beliefs.” He mischaracterized several of Trump’s positions, saying “he wants to expand Obamacare,” that “for his entire life, 60 years, he has been advocating for full-on socialized medicine” and that Trump favors “amnesty” for illegal immigrants and “wants to deport people that are here illegally but then let them back in immediately and become citizens.” He speculated that Trump may have “billions” in loans and said the concept of repaying loans is “novel and unfamiliar to Donald.”

The misrepresentation isn’t limited to Trump. In a single speech in Nashua last week, he mischaracterized things said by, among others, Jimmy Carter, Chris Wallace, guests on Sean Hannity’s show, Atlanta’s mayor, Rubio and, of course, President Obama.

I asked the Cruz campaign Thursday evening to substantiate several of these claims. After this column was published online Friday afternoon, the campaign provided citations that didn’t back up what Cruz had alleged. Unsurprising: Cruz’s purpose is not to inform but to insinuate.


By: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, February 5, 2016

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Ben Carson, Donald Trump, New York Values, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“A Shorthand For Progressivity”: New York Values Are At The Heart Of The American Political Divide

New York City is playing an unexpectedly outsized role in the presidential race, with both of the two major parties being sharply divided by candidates who embody very different sides of the city. It’s perhaps not surprising in an age of economic inequality that New York, itself a city where the enormous gap between the 1 percent and the working class is greater than that found in Brazil, would produce two such starkly contrasting figures as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Trump, the boastful, putative billionaire with his gaudy skyscrapers, is the perfect representative of the Manhattan uber-rich, just as Sanders is the voice of the New York of the trade-union movement and the once-thriving Jewish socialist culture that Irving Howe captured in his 1976 book, World of Our Fathers.

The two men both have husky outer-borough accents, leading them to pronounce words like huge (“yuge”) alike even as they shout starkly different messages. Yet as the results from the Iowa caucuses make clear, the two parties have responded quite differently to the rival versions of New York being offered. Trump’s undeniable saturation in New York values is turning out to be a liability among Republicans, even as midwestern Democrats have shown a surprising affinity for Sanders’s version of New York socialism.

Speaking to ABC News last night, Ted Cruz credited his win in Iowa to how he successfully stuck the label of “New York values” on Donald Trump. “As I travel the country here in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, everyone knows what New York values are,” Cruz said.

When Cruz first attacked “New York values,” many pundits thought he’d made a mistake, especially after Trump delivered a moving invocation to the city’s heroic response to 9/11 in the Republican debate in mid-January. But there is every reason to think that the attack was key to Cruz’s success. Forty-two percent of Iowa Republicans told entrance pollsters at the caucuses that the most important quality in a candidate was that he or she “shares my values.” Of that large block, 38 percent supported Ted Cruz, and 5 percent were for Trump. Simply put, Iowa Republicans accepted the idea that Trump was a cultural alien. Meanwhile, Trump’s own attempts to portray Cruz as an alien—by calling attention to his Canadian birth and loans from Goldman Sachs—fell flat.

Trump is not the first New York Republican to find that voters in his party just can’t stomach his origins in a city that many conservatives see as a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. In 2008, Rudy Giuliani looked on paper like a great candidate, widely admired in the GOP as a hero of 9/11. Yet Giuliani’s campaign floundered in the fields of Iowa, where his cultural liberalism, including a record of supporting reproductive freedom and LGBT rights, hurt him. In Iowa in 2008, came in 6th with 3 percent of the vote. (Admittedly, Giuliani avoided campaigning there because he knew he would do so poorly, but his campaign never picked up steam afterward). Given the track record of Trump and Giuliani, it seems unlikely that a strong New York personality, even one tied to foreign-policy hawkishness or hostility towards immigrants, can win over heartland conservatives.

The opposite is true of the Democrats. Sanders finished a very close second in Iowa, within a hair’s breadth of winning—an impressive achievement won against long odds given Clinton’s advantages in funding, name recognition, and endorsements. It’s notable that Clinton did not attack Sanders for his New York values, or even for his professed socialism. Her line of attack was that his policies, like universal healthcare, were politically infeasible—not that they were undesirable.

Instead, in her speech expressing “relief” over the Iowa results (which weren’t yet final), Clinton adopted a conciliatory stance and tried to appropriate Sanders’s politics by claiming to be “a progressive who gets things done for people.” Clinton sounded positively Sanders-esque in declaring that, as president, she would “protect our rights, women’s rights, gay rights, voting rights, immigrant rights, workers’ rights.”

Among the Republicans, association with New York is a political millstone around the neck that can sink a candidate. But if the New York values that Republicans dread are cosmopolitanism and egalitarianism, then among the Democrats, there’s no controversy around them, only disagreement as to how best to achieve them. In American politics, New York values has now become a shorthand for progressivity. That’s something both parties agree on, even as New York values lie at the fault lines of American politics.


By: Jeet Heer, The New Republic, February 2, 2016

February 4, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, New York Values | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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