Last week, Tablet’s editors provided some “voter education” ahead of yesterday’s midterm elections. The point wasn’t to stump for any party or politician but to draw attention to eight candidates running for office who had engaged in “open and blatant” anti-Semitism. As the editorial put it: “Anti-Semitism is a bright red line in our politics that no one in our public life can be permitted to cross and expect to receive the support of our community, whether we are proud Democrats or proud Republicans.” The eight politicians singled out, four each from the Democrat and Republican parties, had all, in different ways, openly crossed the red line.
The results are in and the good news is that voters rejected four of the public officials from our list. The bad news is that they voted to keep the other four in office. Neither of the Holocaust deniers in the race came anywhere close to winning but disconcertingly, both polled over 25 percent. Perhaps the most disappointing outcome is the narrow reelection of Iowa’s Steve King, Congress’ resident open white nationalist who has gone out of his way in recent years to prove to voters that he is a fellow traveler of anti-Semitic far-right parties.
John “everything we’ve been told about the Holocaust is a lie” Fitzgerald (Republican) lost 28 percent to 71 percent in California’s 11th Congressional District.
Leslie Cockburn (Democrat) who co-wrote a book about how evil Israelis manipulate America through their favorite tool, American Jews, described in the book as “women with blue hair and pseudo-athletic men,” lost 47 percent to 53 percent in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District.
Lena Epstein (Republican) who defended her decision to invite a non-Jewish “messianic” rabbi to publicly mourn the victims of Pittsburgh at a campaign event, lost 45 percent to 52 percent in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District.
Arthur “there’s more to me than being a denier of the Holocaust,” Jones (Republican) lost 27 percent to 74 percent in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.
LOSSES FOR THE PUBLIC (ELECTION WINNERS):
Rep. Danny K. “I regard [Louis Farrakhan] as an outstanding human being” Davis (Democrat) won 88 percent to 12 percent in Illinois’ 7th Congressional District.
Rep. Andre Carson (Democrat), who has “declined to characterize Farrakhan’s remarks as ‘hate speech’” and attends dinners with the Nation of Islam leader and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, won 62 percent to 38 percent in Indiana’s 7th Congressional District.
Rep. Steve “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies” King (Republican) won 50 percent to 47 percent in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.
Ilhan “Israel has hypnotized the world” Omar (Democrat), won 78 percent to 22 percent in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.
To sum it all up, this was not about politicians with whom we disagreed on policy or who we considered simply wrong or stupid or venal. The candidates singled out were not “controversial.” They were people running for public office who had trafficked—some of them very recently—in “open and blatant” anti-Semitism without ever recanting or attempting to make amends for their actions. Half of them are now serving in Congress, and of those, three are incumbents serving multiple terms. This election is over but there will be more in the future and more opportunities to enforce the red line against anti-Semitism in American public life.
There are no more excuses.
Tablet’s afternoon newsletter edited by Jacob Siegel and Park MacDougald.