Jewish Journal

Raphael J. Sonenshein

  • Watts: The day the mirror cracked

    August 5, 2015 | 3:24 pm

    Late last month, a University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted for murder for the unprovoked killing of Samuel DuBose, an unarmed African-American motorist, the most recent in a spate of high-profile deadly encounters between police and African-Americans across the...

  • Benjamin Netanyahu: The new Republican hero

    March 26, 2015 | 10:53 am

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just won a startling re-election by linking his fate not to the United States as a whole, but to the U.S. Republican Party. Risking opprobrium for alienating President Barack Obama as well as Israel’s international support, he nevertheless...

  • Barbara Boxer and the democratization of California politics

    January 21, 2015 | 3:37 pm

    In 1992, California voters elected two Jewish women to the U.S. Senate, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Shortly after New Year’s Day 2015, Boxer, 74, announced that she would not run for re-election, and there is some speculation that the now-81-year-old Feinstein may do the...

  • Yaroslavsky, a ‘canny change agent’

    November 25, 2014 | 10:00 am

    When we think of Jews involved in Los Angeles politics, we often divide them into two camps: liberal Democrats and Jewish Republicans. Liberal Democrats, as we picture them, are integrated into the broader progressive movements of Los Angeles. They are linked with multiethnic...

  • What kind of Democrat will prevail?

    October 31, 2014 | 4:53 pm

    Much of the political world is transfixed by the national struggle between Democrats and Republicans. But for residents of Los Angeles County and voters in the county’s 3rd District, this year’s elections are not about which party will prevail, but rather about what kind of...

  • What Ferguson can learn from Los Angeles

    September 3, 2014 | 11:34 am

    For students of Los Angeles history, the tragic saga of Ferguson, Mo., rings bells. A brutal police department, accountable to no one and backed by a hostile white mayor and police chief, faces off with a black community that seemingly has little recourse. A largely white City Hall...

  • Jews, teachers unions and education

    July 16, 2014 | 10:07 am

    When the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) came here this week to hold its annual meeting, it was a reminder that Los Angeles is now the center of the American labor movement. The AFL-CIO held its conference in L.A. last September. Decades of local and statewide organizing have...

  • Top-two system: Early returns

    June 11, 2014 | 10:41 am

    In the 2014 primary, Californians got our first real chance to see the top-two system up close and in full flower. Back in 2012, the statewide offices were not up for grabs. This time they all were.  And the early returns on the new system are mixed.

    Like most election reforms,...

  • Obamacare will be Obama’s second big takeaway

    April 17, 2014 | 2:58 pm

    We tend to use shorthand to talk about our presidents. Lincoln saved the Union and freed the slaves. Kennedy committed us to the moon landing and built the Peace Corps. FDR ended the Depression, created Social Security and won World War II.  

    It’s hard to know in the middle of a...

  • Henry Waxman: The show horse / work horse

    January 30, 2014 | 2:14 pm

    One of the most famous ways political scientists divvy up members of Congress is to call them either “work horses” or “show horses.”  Work horses are the wonks who dig into the details of committee work and legislation, get little public recognition, but get a lot done.  Show...

  • Still a Jewish seat in 3rd District?

    January 22, 2014 | 1:09 pm

    The campaign to succeed long-serving L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in the 3rd District reveals much about how Los Angeles Jewish politics is evolving. The 3rd Supervisorial District, which covers portions of the Westside and the Valley, has had a Jewish incumbent since Ed...

  • Jersey boy ponders his home state’s governor

    November 13, 2013 | 1:29 pm

    I was once a Jersey boy. I grew up in Nutley, N.J., just about 20 minutes from Manhattan. I still wear my T-shirt from Rutt’s Hut in Clifton, N.J. — known to many as the maker of the best hot dog in America.  

    Even when New York City was the central core of Jewish America (before...

  • Opinion still matters more than money

    September 17, 2013 | 3:21 pm

    New York City voters appear to be moving beyond the era of their three-time mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has long dominated the city’s politics. With the Sept. 16 concession of William C. Thompson, the winner of New York’s Democratic mayoral primary is the liberal Bill de Blasio,...

  • Lee Baca’s challenge

    August 21, 2013 | 1:09 pm

    Leroy (Lee) Baca, the 71-year-old sheriff of Los Angeles County, is facing a rocky road to re-election in 2014. The Los Angeles Times has called on him to retire, as has L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina. A citizens’ commission on jail violence issued a blistering report on his...

  • Fight bigotry at ballot box

    July 17, 2013 | 11:52 am

    The Trayvon Martin case has once again reminded us that racial divisiveness isn’t going away any time soon in America. The verdict is being debated all over. There are protests in numerous cities. But the Martin verdict and the ensuing protests will nevertheless not have as...

  • The role of L.A.’s Jewish electorate is changing

    June 19, 2013 | 12:06 pm

    What do the recent city elections that saw Jews step into the three top citywide offices — mayor, city attorney and city controller — mean for the role of the Jewish community in Los Angeles?

    The remarkable political success of Jews in Los Angeles since the election in 1953 of...

  • A voter's-eye view of the city election

    May 14, 2013 | 11:48 am

    This year, for the first time, the nonpartisan Pat Brown Institute at CSU Los Angeles went into the polling field.  As poll director, I wanted our poll to illuminate broader trends in the local electorate, and to conduct it we retained Susan Pinkus, who for many years ran the Los...

  • The ultimate school test

    April 18, 2013 | 1:53 pm

    The political struggle over school governance is now the most significant internal conflict in the Democratic Party, at the city, state and national levels. With gun control, gay marriage and immigration now uniting Democrats as never before, education reform remains a main...

  • A gridlock bypass in Congress?

    February 27, 2013 | 3:05 pm

    A remarkable thing happened in Washington, D.C., last week. National leaders of business and labor hammered out an outline on immigration reform. This might not only give a major boost to a new immigration policy; it might also show a path around the gridlock that has driven the...

  • The immigration cliff?

    January 9, 2013 | 1:05 pm

    While Washington obsesses about cliffs, ceilings and other metaphors for budget catastrophe, we should keep an eye on the issue of immigration. On Jan. 2, the federal Department of Homeland Security announced that it would stop requiring some undocumented immigrants to return to...

  • Does the Jewish vote still matter?

    November 14, 2012 | 4:04 pm

    Does the Jewish vote still matter and if so, how? Exit polls indicate that 70 percent of Jews voted for President Obama, compared to roughly 39 percent of white voters overall. However, with California and New York, which have large Jewish populations, guaranteed to go Democratic,...

  • The impact of the moderate Republican

    October 17, 2012 | 5:09 pm

    On Oct. 28, 1980, a beleaguered President Jimmy Carter stood on a debate stage with his Republican challenger, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan.  Carter’s one chance to save his presidency depended on his ability to portray Reagan’s views as extreme. The best levers appeared to...

  • Out of Reagan’s shadow

    September 12, 2012 | 2:44 pm

    Even though this is going to be a very close presidential election, maybe closer than in 2008, the Democratic convention of 2012 revealed a party that is stronger today than the dynamic gathering of hope and change that nominated Barack Obama four years ago. For the first time...

  • Tough slog ahead for implementing affordable care

    July 18, 2012 | 5:58 pm

    If Barack Obama is re-elected as president, the overriding purpose of his second term will be the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Implementation and the use of executive power have not been Obama’s strengths, but he is going to have to get better very quickly. A powerful...

  • Can California be saved?

    June 14, 2012 | 12:14 pm

    We Californians love to use direct democracy to perform amateur surgery on our state government. As heirs to a century-old tradition of progressive reform, we believe that if we tinker with the rules, we will get much better outcomes. We believe that the people best suited to make...

  • Advice from the Governator

    May 9, 2012 | 12:43 pm

    It has been less than a decade since Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won the special election to recall and replace Gov. Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger finished nearly 1.5 million votes ahead of the second-place gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Cruz Bustamante. Schwarzenegger won...

  • Social issues keep Jews from supporting the GOP

    April 17, 2012 | 2:45 pm

    In the midst of the never-ending debate about whether this will be the election that moves Jews to the right, an intriguing new poll is just out from the Public Religion

    Research Institute. Titled “Chosen for What? Jewish Values in 2012,” it found that 62 percent of Jews want to...

  • City redistricting plan has potential to affect Asian-Americans

    February 22, 2012 | 3:21 pm

    I was too young to see Hank Greenberg play. That was my father’s generation. But growing up in New Jersey, I well remember the day when Sandy Koufax, playing for the Dodgers, announced his electrifying decision to sit out a 1965 World Series game on Yom Kippur.  Koufax’s action...

  • Opinion: Americans would do well to drop the Euro-snobbery

    January 18, 2012 | 1:31 pm

    Sitting here in Paris, where I am spending a month as a visiting professor at the Université Paris 8, Institut Français de Géopolitique, I’m struck by how, once again, American presidential candidates are denigrating their opponents simply by calling them “French” or...

  • Opinion: Will Iran be the wild card in presidential election?

    November 16, 2011 | 12:45 pm

    As reports circulate about an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iranian progress toward building a nuclear weapon, issues of foreign policy and Israel may find their way back into a presidential election season that has thus far been dominated by the economy. If...

  • Opinion: What redistricting could mean for Jews, Asian-Americans

    October 19, 2011 | 5:16 pm

    The redistricting process going on at the state, county and city levels is a major signpost of changing power for Jews and Asian-Americans in the Southland. While nearly twice as many Asian-Americans as Jews live in the City and County of Los Angeles, Asian-Americans have had a much...

  • Opinion: Obama and Villaraigosa: The not-so-odd couple

    September 12, 2011 | 6:46 pm

    At President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress a week ago, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sat in an honored seat near first lady Michelle Obama.

    The path that brought Villaraigosa from an outspoken advocate in the Hillary Clinton campaign of 2008 (and,...

  • New coalitions: The politics of redistricting

    August 10, 2011 | 10:51 am

    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, who govern the most populous county in America, are entering a critical debate over redistricting that pits Latino empowerment against the stability of district lines. The nature of the board’s majority is also at stake.

    Los Angeles...

  • Beyond raising the debt limit: What a Republican government would be like

    July 19, 2011 | 5:18 pm

    The battle over raising the debt limit has raised a lot of concern about how Republicans act as an opposition party. They have shown that they are willing to risk crashing the economy to get their way with a Democratic president. But they won’t be in opposition forever. We have to...

  • The forgotten people in the 2012 election

    June 15, 2011 | 1:24 pm

    Remember Osama bin Laden? Anyone who thought his death would determine the 2012 elections only had to wait a few weeks for the story to disappear and the bad new job numbers to remind us that the economy is still the main issue in American politics. The 2012 election is certainly...

  • Bin Laden killing gives Obama political edge

    May 10, 2011 | 10:30 am

    As Americans anxiously waited to hear what their young president had to say, the words “national security” hung in the air. Then, when the president spoke on television,he seemed older and more in command than he had seemed the day before. And, as a result, his presidency was...

  • BUDGET: Obama’s way: Maintain support for social programs

    April 15, 2011 | 4:23 pm

    In the midst of the near shutdown of the federal government, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) launched an attack on Democratic-created safety net programs. He proposed an entirely new budget, calling for the privatization of Medicare and the devolution of Medicaid to the states, where...

  • On Wisconsin, Fight, Fight, Fight

    March 15, 2011 | 6:44 pm

    During his 1948 presidential campaign against underdog Democrat Harry S. Truman, Republican Thomas E. Dewey was on the campaign trail. As a crowd surged toward the back of his train, an irritated Dewey told the crowd, “That’s the first lunatic I’ve had for an engineer. He...

  • Harman’s departure: what does it mean for Jews?

    February 16, 2011 | 12:40 pm

    The outcome of the decision by Jane Harman to quit her 36th congressional seat in the South Bay will likely be a signpost of the changing role of Jewish politicians and the Jewish vote in California politics and government. The Jewish presence in Southern California politics remains...

  • Can Gov. Brown Fix California?

    January 11, 2011 | 7:02 pm

    Watching Jerry Brown’s low-key but curiously dramatic press conference on the state budget Jan. 10 reminded me that the central task of Democrats, once they are in power, is to prove that government can work. Without that, all great ideas about equality and justice go nowhere. A...

  • A Democrat’s lament, and a glimmer of hope

    December 7, 2010 | 2:55 pm

    There is a sick feeling of demoralization settling over Democrats, like drizzle on a cloudy day. It’s not because of losses in the midterm elections; it’s the unnerving realization that we are on our own.

    When Barack Obama came to Washington, he promised to change the town. I...

  • California’s big chance on the national stage

    November 10, 2010 | 10:46 am

    Everybody knows by now that California swam against the tide on Election Day, giving Democrats a near sweep of statewide offices. But what’s even more important is what this will mean for national governance over the next two years.

    With control of the House passing to the...

  • The Democrats’ new adversary

    October 13, 2010 | 10:06 am

    An election year that was looking hopeless for Democrats has taken a slight turn for the better. The generic ballot measure has tightened up. Since Labor Day, President Barack Obama has marked off a new, more aggressive political stance that is perking up the ears of demoralized...

  • It’s corporate power vs. government oversight in November election

    September 8, 2010 | 9:53 am

    I was going to write about the Glenn Beck White People’s March on Washington, but then I read Jane Mayer’s path-breaking article in the Aug. 30 New Yorker about the billionaire Koch brothers (David and Charles) and their financial backing of the anti-Obama movement. Why should I...

  • Are Jewish Voters Really Leaning Away From the Left?

    August 10, 2010 | 11:30 pm

    Click here for Steven Windmueller’s response to Raphael J. Sonenshein.

    Few people have a better grasp of the internal dynamics of the Jewish community than Steven Windmueller, so I take seriously his concerns about the angry Jewish voter. Something is clearly happening when the...

  • The New Politics of Immigration

    July 6, 2010 | 7:35 pm

    Few issues in American politics are more contentious than immigration. So, it was noteworthy that last week in a speech at American University in Washington, D.C., President Obama called for a new determination to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

    Things have shifted rather...

  • Jerry Brown’s Uphill Climb

    April 7, 2010 | 12:05 am

    We all know that California is a blue state, with two Democratic senators and a record of favoring the Democratic presidential candidate in every presidential election since 1992.  Barack Obama won California by more than 2 million votes.  But the governorship has tended to be more...

  • The Rahm Emanuel Show

    March 9, 2010 | 3:49 pm

    It was a very strange sight.  There in The Washington Post was an article by reporter Dana Milbank making a case that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s excellent advice has been ignored by a naïve President Barack Obama and that Emanuel is the great unappreciated asset of...

  • Rethinking Obama

    February 12, 2010 | 4:01 pm

    I have been feeling angry and alienated as I watch the Democrats in Washington fritter away their electoral mandate. I’ve been asking why Barack Obama can’t be more like Harry S. Truman. I’ve been watching the party’s fortunes cascade downward toward an electoral catastrophe...

  • Jewish Voters, Obama and Health Care: Trouble Ahead?

    October 6, 2009 | 11:56 pm

    The latest Gallup poll indicates that in September, President Obama’s approval rating held steady at 52 percent. He has dropped from the stratosphere into the rough-and-tumble territory of normal politics. Among Jews, his support level is still a healthy 64 percent. While Jews are...

  • Dems Need Muscle for Health Care Reform

    August 5, 2009 | 10:10 pm

    Over the last 30 years, the great majority of Jewish voters have maintained their support for the Democrats. Jews are integral to the party’s current leadership in Congress and in the White House. And that party now faces its greatest opportunity in a generation to remake health...

  • Jews in Congress Are Making Things Happen

    July 8, 2009 | 6:24 pm

    In 2009, the new U.S. Congress has the largest Jewish representation in its history, with 31 members of the 435 in the House of Representatives and 13 senators of the 100. More than a third of all Jews who have ever served in the U.S. Senate were in office as 2009 began.

    As big as...

  • Q&A with Karen Bass: Life in the Hot Seat

    June 3, 2009 | 5:19 pm

    Political analyst and Jewish Journal columnist Raphael Sonenshein interviewed California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass at the Jewish Journal offices on May 29, 2009, as California faces a dire budget crisis. She talks about her background growing up among Los Angeles’ Jewish...

  • California on the Edge: It’s Leadership Time

    May 27, 2009 | 6:33 pm

    We all know our state is in fiscal trouble. Local governments, school districts, universities, service providers to the needy and disabled are all bracing for an all-out assault from Sacramento.

    The fiscal crisis jeopardizes the state’s ability to borrow in the private market at...

  • Jews and Latinos: The Political Future

    May 13, 2009 | 1:37 pm

    Many years ago, a conservative commentator, frustrated that Jews continued to vote largely for Democrats, said it best: “Jews live like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” That sentence nicely captures the odd fact that Jews and Latinos, often quite different in their...

  • Deal-making Behind Byzantine Ballot Measures

    May 6, 2009 | 8:48 pm

    On May 19, California voters will be asked to vote on a package of six ballot measures. What’s a voter to do? What’s a Jewish voter to do?

    In the face of complex propositions most voters look to individuals or organizations whose opinions they respect. In my experience, Jewish...

  • Specter Switches Sides!

    April 28, 2009 | 2:01 pm

  • Specter — Last of His Kind?

    April 9, 2009 | 3:18 am

    Arlen Specter may be a dinosaur. The senior United States Senator from Pennsylvania, one of only four Northeastern Republican senators, will soon become the only Jewish Republican Senator when Norm Coleman concedes the battle for Minnesota, and one of the few Republican moderates in...

  • 5th District Plays Big Role

    March 11, 2009 | 9:09 pm

    The Los Angeles elections on March 3 turned out to be more interesting than most of us had expected, especially the role of the Fifth Council District.

    The Fifth, which is a mixture of Westside (think Fairfax) and Valley (think Encino) is also the “Jewish district.” In a city...

  • The Fifth District in the Arena

    March 6, 2009 | 7:32 pm

  • America’s New Third Party

    February 11, 2009 | 7:05 pm

    The Republican Party once had a real shot at winning the support of Jewish voters. The cosmopolitan wing of the party led the way, in Northeastern states like New York and New Jersey, and in California. Now that element of the party is in desperate straits.

    While Jews generally...

  • Jews Have Seats at Obama’s Head Table

    January 14, 2009 | 12:58 pm

    Other than African Americans, no group of voters provided more support to Barack Obama than Jews. According to exit polls, 78 percent of Jewish voters cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate, despite predictions that this would be the year Jews would abandon their historic...

  • Day at the beach—Omaha Beach

    December 11, 2008 | 1:47 am

    June 6, 1944, may have been the most important day of the 20th century. The Allied invasion of France breached Hitler's Atlantic Wall and decisively turned the war against the Nazi regime.

    The invasion itself was a combination of great leadership, detailed planning and a brilliant...

  • Is the time right for universal health care?

    November 22, 2008 | 3:14 pm

  • Hope breeds strength

    November 6, 2008 | 2:10 am

    PARIS -- "It was invisible, as always," begins Theodore White's classic "The Making of the President, 1960," describing the mysterious process by which millions of voters combine to make their most important political decision.

    This time, it was visible.

    The crowded lines at the...

  • With the Republican base on the ropes, all eyes are on Florida —again

    October 8, 2008 | 12:22 am

    Most Jews live in three states, two of which, New York and California, are already in the bank for Sen. Barack Obama.

    It's the third one, Florida, that has the presidential campaigns in a frenzy. There are roughly 650,000 Jews in Florida, out of 18 million residents. Concentrated in...

  • Can McCain fix his Palin problem?

    September 27, 2008 | 6:17 pm

  • John McCain is in big trouble

    September 21, 2008 | 4:22 pm

  • Shock, awe and lies on the campaign trail

    September 14, 2008 | 4:40 pm

  • The Palin nomination: What does it mean?

    September 9, 2008 | 6:01 pm

  • Biden’s the one

    August 27, 2008 | 12:01 am

    Sen. Joe Biden is a first-class vice presidential choice for Sen. Barack Obama.

    If Biden didn't exist, Obama would have to invent him.

    Biden is just naturally what the Democrats used to be, the party of lunch- pail-carrying working people, not politically correct, prone to saying...

  • Being an African American candidate is different

    August 6, 2008 | 12:48 am

    I never imagined that there would be an African American presidential nominee of a major party in my lifetime. Now that the Democrats are on the verge of nominating Sen. Barack Obama, I'm only just beginning to absorb how different it is. Most of what we know about black candidates...
  • Race is on my mind

    July 30, 2008 | 7:56 pm

  • Obama world tour strikes gold

    July 24, 2008 | 2:40 am

  • The L.A. Times ‘frames’ the Presidential race

    July 16, 2008 | 11:08 pm

    Last Sunday (July 13), the Los Angeles Times ran an article on the 2008 campaign that I feel bound to comment upon. It was in the right hand column, front page, prime location. It was a perfect example of something called framing. The title: "Obama, McCain agree on many...
  • The Jewish Vote: Bush, Israel and Iran

    July 9, 2008 | 10:05 pm


    As the Bush presidency winds down, there are probably only two things that could make a difference in the November election. American forces could capture Osama bin Laden, or we could end up in a war with Iran.

    Certainly, bin Laden's capture would be popular. The political...

  • The traveling candidates

    July 3, 2008 | 3:39 pm

  • 2008: The contest for the Jews

    June 12, 2008 | 2:33 pm

    With Hillary Rodham Clinton's concession on Saturday, the real race begins. In the struggle between Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), there will be a fierce competition for Jewish support. Seeing potential weakness in Obama's Jewish flank, McCain will work...
  • The Wright flap and the black candidate

    May 8, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Barack Obama's presidential candidacy is providing a crash course on race in America.

    Black candidates tread a different road than white candidates, especially when they are the first black candidates to seriously contend for an executive office, such as mayor, senator, governor and...

  • Jews and Rev. Wright

    May 2, 2008 | 2:07 pm

  • The Jewish Vote:  America’s role in the world and what’s best for Israel

    April 10, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    What U.S. role in the world is best for Israel?

    Is it to be loved, to be feared, or to be respected? The 2008 campaign provides a good lens for answering that question.

    In an annual BBC poll of residents in 23 countries, based on more than 17,000 interviews, we can chart the steady...

  • Will Jews give Obama a chance?

    March 13, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Excerpts from Barack Obama's meeting at an Ohio Jewish Community Center on February 24, 2008

    If the Democrats decide to sponsor re-votes in Florida and Michigan, we will soon be thinking about how Jewish voters see Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. While most Jewish Democrats voted on Feb....

  • And now the ‘Jewish primary’  begins . . .

    January 31, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    When California moved its presidential primary to Feb. 5, and other big states followed suit, the strategic role of Jewish voters in the nominating process was greatly enhanced. Inadvertently, the states created a "Jewish primary." New York, California, Florida, Illinois,...
  • The NIE, Iran, presidential politics and the Jews

    December 13, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    The release last week of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear ambitions stunned the nation's capital. After being buried for a year, the NIE has deflated the Bush administration's case on Iran by stating that Iran halted its program to develop a nuclear weapon...
  • Handicapping the 2008 Presidential Race

    November 15, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Just one year after the congressional elections, we are nearing the first caucuses and primaries. California votes on Feb. 5. While Jews are expected to vote for the Democratic nominee in large numbers, Republicans hope to cut into that margin, and also to compete for campaign...
  • Henry Waxman: The Democrats’ Eliot Ness

    October 11, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    The sweeping Democratic congressional victories in 2006 have not translated into the kind of oversight many voters had hoped for. In particular, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been notably unable to penetrate the Iron Curtain of Justice Department resistance.

    The Bush...

  • Iran, Israel and the 2008 election

    September 13, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    When presidential candidates compete in an election with an open seat in the White House, they are prisoners of events. The White House controls the agenda, and the candidates must adapt.

    Vice President Richard Nixon was badly hurt by President Dwight D. Eisenhower's refusal to...

  • Islamofascism and the GOP

    August 9, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Republicans are now telling us that America (and Israel) face a mortal threat from "global Islamofascism." Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Vt.) has been blasting Democrats for not "recognizing" this threat. Get used to it, because this is going to be the frame for the Republican presidential...
  • Bush’s ‘neocons’: far from the best and the brightest

    July 12, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    A significant shift in American political history occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s when a group of "Cold War intellectuals," a number of whom were Jewish, defected from the liberal mainstream of the Democratic Party.

    Alienated by the anti-war movement and by what they saw...

  • City of L.A. Report Card: Mayor Villagairosa and the Jewish community at midterm

    June 7, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Antonio Villaraigosa is coming up to halftime in his first term as mayor of Los Angeles. This is as good a time as any to assess the direction of his mayoralty and its implications for the Jewish community.

    There is a natural comparison to be made between Villaraigosa and former...
  • How will GOP fare with Jewish voters in ‘08?

    May 10, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    With California's early primary bringing unusual recognition to the Golden State, the Republican candidates are heading out West. They met in debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley on May 3. Do these Republicans have a shot at winning Jewish voters over in 2008?

    Under Bush,...
  • Iran nuclear threat: What to do?

    April 19, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    As the wild ride known as the Bush Administration careens toward its end, the only question remaining is whether the president will order an attack on Iran. Mired in the endless quagmire of Iraq, desperate for some military success, Bush might try to salvage his wounded sense of...
  • Jews still have big role in changing L.A. political scene

    March 15, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    It was not so long ago that Los Angeles City Hall and the Los Angeles Unified School District school board were filled with Jewish elected officials. The first winning Jewish candidate of the 20th century, Rosalind Wiener (later Wyman) was elected to the council in 1953. From then...
  • Key Jewish California lawmakers return to powerful roles in new Congress

    February 1, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    The 2006 congressional election that brought the Democrats back to power on Capitol Hill was a moment filled with meaning for four Jewish lions of California politics -- Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Reps. Henry Waxman (Los Angeles) and Howard Berman (Van Nuys)....
  • New approaches in Iraq could <I>help</I> Israel

    December 21, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    For Israel and its American supporters, the Iraq War has scrambled the Middle East in ways that are difficult to navigate.

    Once people hoped that the Iraq War would make Israel safer. The neocons, who cooked up the invasion and sold it to a president desperate for historic glory...

  • Are Democrats Ready to Return to Power?

    August 17, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The American political system is on the verge of a major change. The Republicans are in danger of losing to the Democrats in the November congressional elections.

    Foreign affairs will be central to the outcome. Are the Democrats ready for their big curtain call?

    The Republicans...

  • Lieberman Facing Lose-Lose Proposition in Race

    July 13, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the first Jewish candidate for vice president, is in a world of political trouble. Facing a tight race for the Democratic nomination from Ned Lamont, he has already started to collect signatures to run as an independent, should he lose the primary...

  • Jewish Voters to Play Key Primary Role

    June 1, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    In Democratic districts on Los Angeles' Westside and in the Valley, next week's primary will not only determine the Democratic winner but also the person who will almost certainly win in the fall's general election. And Jewish voters, who are overwhelmingly Democratic, will play a...

  • Israel: Between Iraq and a Hard Place

    May 25, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    The intensifying crisis of Iran's nuclear program is bringing into sharp relief the problems created for Israel by the radical foreign policy of the Bush administration. In a world filled with nations and movements hostile to Israel, the United States has long been Israel's big...

  • The End of Bush’s ‘Jewish Moment’

    March 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Republicans once had high hopes that George W. Bush would draw American Jews away from their historic affinity with Democrats into embracing the conservative party. They believed that Jews would be drawn to Bush's intense support for the State of Israel. Orthodox Jews, already more...

  • Political Centrism Stirring Up Interest

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Political centrism is in the air these days. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, under fire from Likud for the withdrawal from Gaza, and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, defeated in his bid to remain as leader of Labor, have joined forces to form a new centrist party. Suddenly, the...

  • What’s So Special About the Special Election?

    November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    On Nov. 8, the voters of California will have the chance to vote in a special election most of them did not want. That's no reason to stay home. After all, whether we like it or not, the election will take place, and all of California residents will have to live with the...

  • Democrats’ Plans Must Factor in Israel

    October 20, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    As public support for the war in Iraq continues to deteriorate and as the Bush administration's political situation trembles on the precipice, Democrats are beginning to stir. Pushed by a party base that has long detested what it sees as timorous accommodation to Bush, national...

  • Schwarzenegger Is Losing Jewish Vote

    August 4, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In November 2003, California voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger. White voters backed the recall by a large margin, but Jewish voters swam against the tide, with 69 percent voting against the recall. On the second part of the ballot, where...

  • Blocs Play Key Role in Villaraigosa’s Win

    May 19, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    With his election as mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa now has the chance to deliver on the coalition approach he offered to the voters in the recent campaign. If he succeeds, Los Angeles government may start to find solutions to problems that have previously seemed intractable. If he...

  • Vote Confirms Westside, Valley Split

    March 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    The mayoral primary on March 8 reconfirmed the existence of a political gap within the Los Angeles Jewish community between Jews who live on the Westside and those who live in the Valley.

    According to the Los Angeles Times exit poll, Bob Hertzberg carried Valley Jews (6 percent of...

  • The Westside Vote

    January 27, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    There were two "Jewish" debates earlier this month, one in the Valley and one on the Westside. While Mayor james Hahn did not attend the

    Valley session at Temple Judea, all five major candidates came to the Westside debate at Temple Beth Am. My visit to the latter debate allowed me...

  • Prediction Misses

    November 11, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Once again, despite predictions to the contrary, Jewish voters stuck with the Democrats. By a 3-1 margin, Jews backed Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) against President Bush.

    Some Republicans took comfort in a slight uptick of Jewish support for Bush from about one-fifth in 2000 to about...

  • No Boxer Rebellion

    October 14, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The latest Field Poll shows U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer coasting toward re-election to a third term. She leads her Republican challenger, former California Secretary of State Bill Jones 48 to 32 percent.

    The race will probably get closer, but it is hard to see how Jones can catch up as...

  • Mayor’s Race Role

    August 12, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    With Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa's entry into the 2005 Los Angeles mayor's race, the competition for Jewish votes will accelerate.

    Jews are attentive, high-propensity voters. Nearly one in five Los Angeles voters are Jewish (with only 6 percent of the population). If past...

  • For Whom Poll Tolls

    July 1, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The Gallup Poll recently released its newest data on Jewish political attitudes, and it holds bad news for George W. Bush and for Republicans searching for Jewish votes. Based on polling from 1992 through May 2004 (of admittedly small, rolling samples of Jewish voters), the Gallup...

  • Mayoral Evolution

    April 29, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    With former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg's entry into the 2005 mayoral race, the odds of a competitive battle for the city's top political job have increased.

    The combination of Hertzberg, former Police Chief Bernard Parks (considered extremely likely to run), state Sen. Richard...

  • Coalition Lesson

    March 11, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Community activist Karen Bass' victory in the 47th Assembly District's Democratic primary provides a valuable opening for coalition efforts between the Jewish community and a new generation of African American and Latino activists.

    Los Angeles has a long and distinguished history of...

  • GOP’s Tough Task

    February 12, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    The race for the Democratic presidential nomination has taken a fateful turn in the past several weeks. The rise -- or re-emergence -- of Sen.

    John Kerry of Massachusetts, the decline of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and the withdrawal of Sen. Joe Lieberman make the quadrennial...

  • How Will Saddam’s Capture Affect Vote?

    January 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    What does the capture of Saddam Hussein mean for Jewish voters in 2004? Will it shift the preferences of Jewish Democrats as they weigh the party's presidential contenders? Will it push Jewish voters closer to supporting President Bush for re-election?

    The heartfelt connection that...

  • Democratic Races Poses Hard Choices

    November 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Jewish voters are an important constituency in national elections, concentrated in such electoral vote-rich states as California, New York, Florida and Illinois. However, they are even more important in the struggle for the Democratic presidential nomination, comprising an important...

  • Against the Tide—Again

    October 16, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Can California's new Republican governor make inroads among traditionally Democratic Jews? Jewish voters aren't likely to abandon the Democratic party anytime soon, but will likely give Arnold Schwarzenegger a chance to prove that he can govern in a bipartisan, moderate manner.


  • Immigrants and the Recall

    September 18, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Who would have thought that a recall campaign built around the energy and budget crises might end up being decided by attitudes toward immigrants? Yet that may be what happens on Election Day. The controversy over a new law granting driver's licenses to undocumented residents may...

  • Recall Quandaries

    August 14, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    How will California's Jews vote in the Gray Davis recall? Will this long-standing Democratic community stay with the incumbent, support a Democratic alternative or be drawn to Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger? What are the political orientations of California's Jews?

    The Jewish...