"Everybody understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal and pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage, and focus on money and the media." -- Ted Cruz, South Carolina Republican Debate, Jan. 14, 2016
If these are New York values then they must be embodied by New Yorkers. Then, who are the New Yorkers that "everybody understands"? Of course he is targeting "liberals." But the "focus on money and media." may subtly reference a specific urban population -- namely Jewish people.
The New York metropolitan area has 2.1 million Jewish people, second only to Tel Aviv. (3.1 million). In fact, the New York area has 13.8 percent of all the Jews in the world, and accounts for 31 percent of all the Jews in the U.S.
So when speaking of New York values that "everyone understand," the odds are high that "everyone understands" that New York is both very liberal and very Jewish.
This is likely to be particularly true if you do NOT live in Los Angeles, Washington-Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and South Florida. Those seven metro areas plus New York account for 70 percent of all the Jewish people in America. That leaves 1.86 million Jewish people living among 313,000,000 American gentiles. So the rest of America -- the "everybody" Cruz is appealing to -- has about a 0.59 percent chance of living near a Jewish person.
Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that many non-Jewish Americans understand that any reference to "New York values" references both liberals and the enormous Jewish population that live there.
Cruz's "focus on money and media" echoes pernicious notions of "Jewish financiers" and "Jews run the media." Seventeen percent of the American public thinks that "Jews have too much control and influence on Wall Street," according to a 2013 poll. And you can always find debates online about how much Jewish control there is over the media in New York and Hollywood. It's safe to say that Cruz, or at least someone in the Cruz camp, understood how this "focus on money and the media" would be associated with American Jews.
Perhaps the Cruz camp feels cocky that his vociferous support for Israel clears him from any such charges. But, it's not exactly comforting to know that Cruz is also shoring up evangelical support which includes sects who are cheerleading for the Israelis to start WWIII so that the End of Times prophecy commences.
Or maybe a more cynical observer might say that Cruz figures he'll never, ever win the votes in those metropolitan areas with higher concentration of liberal voters. So why not play to anti-New York sentiment even if it's a dog whistle for flat out anti-Semitism. Trump did Mexicans and Muslims and his poll numbers went up. Cruz does the Jews.
Jessie Jackson was mauled in 1984 when he repeatedly spoke in private about New York as "Hymietown." But, Cruz is getting a virtual free pass from the major media for a more subtle attack made on a nationally televised debate.
Speaking of Money Lenders
While Cruz bashes New York values with their "focus on money and media," he and his Wall Street-employed wife took a million dollars in campaign loans from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and then failed to report them as required by federal campaign laws. He claimed it was just a "paperwork error."
It wasn't a mistake by Wall Street. They knew what they were buying.
Cruz, in turn, makes no mistake about his desire to unshackle Wall Street even from the tepid Dodd-Frank rules. Cruz writes in the National Review:
"Repeal Dodd-Frank: A law of massive complexity, Dodd-Frank does nothing to prevent future financial bailouts, but instead subjects the financial sector to costly new regulatory burdens -- the cost of which invariably will be passed on to consumers. And its impact hits small community banks hardest. Reasonable government regulations are needed to protect the soundness and integrity of the marketplace, but they should not empower bureaucrats to micro-manage private sector institutions to the detriment of consumers."
This is pure Wall Street propaganda designed specifically to undermine any and all regulations that could reduce astronomical financial incomes. They could care less about a small bank on Main Street struggling to survive.
Furthermore, it's all part of the new narrative Wall Street is pushing: that government regulations, not Wall Street, caused the crash of 2007-08. The entire Republican Party is drinking this Kool-Aid in exchange for hefty financial donations. More than a few Democrats would like a taste as well.
Fortunately, many New Yorkers, including tens of thousands of Jewish people, are far more willing to challenge Wall Street's power and control. We want to reduce runaway inequality with a financial transaction tax that funds free higher education. We want to end the obscene "carried interest" loophole that saves hedge funds and private equity firms billions in taxes each year. We want to break up the big banks and create public banks as well.
Yes, Cruz has us pegged right as "socially liberal and pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage." We are proud to be one of the most tolerant cities in the world. We're from everywhere and every religion: New Yorkers live and let live.
And now one of our own, who embodies these broad New York values, is running for president -- and he's not a financier or a media mogul.
Hey Ted, Feel the Bern!
Les Leopold's latest book is Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice (Oct 2015)