Scott Lee Cohen: Illinois Democratic Party Doesn't Like Jews
Scott Lee Cohen, whom I mentioned previously won the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, but subsequently stepped down under pressure, claimed anti-Jewish sentiment as one of the reasons he was pressured to quit.
What were the biggest lessons that you took away from all of this?
Well, I think there’re a couple of things. First of all, we don’t live in a democratic society. People’s votes don’t matter. The party, the career politicians, are afraid of an outsider.
Only how much of an effect my religion had on being part of the party. Listen, I’m Jewish. I’m only the third Jewish person to ever win the nomination for a statewide office. And I believe that that had some influence on the party not wanting me.
What gave you that impression?
The elected officials would never say that they don’t want me because I’m Jewish. But it did come up in chatter and in backroom meetings. And a lot of the papers kept using the word “pawnbroker.” You know, being a pawnbroker is predominantly a Jewish business. My opponents kept attacking, kept saying, “the millionaire pawnbroker,” which a lot of people took as saying, “the millionaire Jew.” Jewish people, you know, have been persecuted our whole existence, and again, this is 2010, and maybe I’m naive, but I don’t believe it was an issue with the people as much as it was with the party.
Clearly the voters didn’t think it was an issue; you won.
I won—211,000 votes.
(Hat tip: World Jewish Daily)