America votes in midterm elections amid spike in antisemitism nationwide

Many races were marked by a virulent strain of antisemitism – a scourge that transformed the final days of the 2016 race after a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last week shook the nation.

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November 7, 2018 05:22
2 minute read.
Polling Station

U.S. flags line a path during mid-term elections at a polling station in the Mount Lebanon district in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 6, 2018. (photo credit: FEDERICA VALABREGA)

 
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WASHINGTON – Against the shadow of an antisemitic spike across the country, the Trump administration faced its greatest test yet on Tuesday as Americans went to the polls in a referendum on the controversial president.

They voted in record numbers for an election outside of a presidential year in battles for state legislatures, 36 contests for state governors, 35 Senate races and for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

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Many races were marked by a virulent strain of antisemitism – a scourge that transformed the final days of the 2016 race after a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last week shook the nation.

Republicans in the states of Alaska, Washington, Connecticut, North Carolina and California have run ads showing Jewish Democrats handling cash. In Pennsylvania, a candidate married to a Jewish man is depicted similarly.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Washington state Republican Party sent voters fliers depicting congressional candidate Kim Schrier with a wad of cash in her hand.

In Alaska, Republican Women of Juneau ran an ad targeting State Sen. Jesse Kiehl showing a man sticking a wad of cash into his inner jacket pocket.

In North Carolina, the state Republican Party ran an online ad denouncing what it called the radical agenda of Democrats. It featured Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, the minority leader, clutching a wad of cash. Neither Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 presidential nominee, nor Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are shown with cash.

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Several white nationalists, avowed neo-Nazis and “alt-Right” figures ran for election or reelection this cycle, among them candidate Jim Condit, Jr. of Ohio, who campaigned against an “anti-American” conspiracy of “billionaire Communist Jews,” and Congressman Steve King of Iowa, who this summer met with Austria’s far-right party and told Germans to stop apologizing for the Holocaust.

Democratic leaders planning to challenge Trump in 2020, already teasing campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire in recent months, had said they would wait until after the November 6 midterms to begin seriously mulling runs for the White House. Washington is thus braced for the next presidential election to officially begin as early as Wednesday morning.

Several Jewish public figures are considering a run, including entrepreneur and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz; and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, among others.

Trump’s job approval numbers, entering Tuesday, were averaged at an all-time low for a president entering their first midterm election cycle – already an historically unforgiving event for the incumbent party in power.

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