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Editorial: Flyers against Nixon were a dirty trick

Editorial: Flyers against Nixon were a dirty trick

Democrats' reprehensible campaign material unfairly stains Cuomo opponent with anti-Semitism label just before primary
Editorial: Flyers against Nixon were a dirty trick
Cynthia Nixon speaks at the Democratic gubernatorial primary debate in Hempstead, N.Y., Aug. 29, 2018.
Photographer: J. Conrad Williams Jr./Pool via The New York Times

Experienced political operations like the state Democratic Committee and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election machine don’t do anything by accident.

No unique campaign materials get produced, and certainly none make it out the door, unless people at the highest level give their authorization.

In a small campaign run by inexperienced volunteers and overzealous sycophants? Maybe. But not these guys. 

So Gov. Cuomo and state Democratic Party committee executive Geoff Berman can stand there all day and deny any knowledge of the despicable campaign flyers sent out just days before Thursday’s Democratic primary that depict primary challenger Cynthia Nixon as anti-Semitic.

But don’t you believe them.

They knew exactly what they were doing. They knew the recipients of this material would use the information in the flyer to justify a vote against Nixon.

They knew that feeble gestures after the fact to make it up to Nixon by offering to send out positive mailers about her would do nothing to counter the effects of the original mailing.

No amount of denials or condemnation of the material can make up for the fact that this was a deliberate, dirty political trick designed to scare up Cuomo votes among critical Jewish voters at Nixon’s expense.

Do you really think a governor who has made a deliberate show of being in complete control would allow something so religiously sensitive, politically risky and inflammatory to go out under his name or his party’s by accident?

Do you think any staffer in the party operation would take a chance on their own, and put their own careers at risk, to send something like this out without first running it by their superiors?

The flyer attacked Nixon by implying she was anti-Semitic. A photo of Nixon with a grim expression on her face is accompanied by the line, “With anti-Semitism and bigotry on the rise, we can’t take a chance with inexperienced Cynthia Nixon, who won’t stand strong for our Jewish communities.”

The flyer falsely states that Nixon supports the BDS campaign against Israel that calls for boycotts over Israel’s opposition to the Palestinians. And it falsely states that she’s been “silent on the rise of anti-Semitism.” In fact, she has spoken out against hate crimes toward Muslims, Jews and others.

Further, Nixon’s two oldest children are being raised Jewish, and Nixon herself attends a New York City synagogue. Does that sound like an anti-Semite to you?

No matter how much backpedaling Cuomo and the Democrats do, no matter how many condemnations they issue of their own campaign material, the flyers will have hit their mark with some Jewish voters.

Just as they knew they would.

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