Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- What's all the “alt-right” talk about?
- New twists in East End congressional race
- Gotta stop 'em all
‘Lies’ begin in CD1 race
Democrat Anna Throne-Holst has released the first TV ad of her general election campaign to unseat freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin, and it took less than two hours for the National Republican Campaign Committee to accuse her of “blatant lies.”
The NRCC grabbed a screenshot from the ad, released Tuesday, that said, “Anna Throne-Holst Held Line on Taxes.”
An NRCC spokesman provided documentation to The Point that Throne-Holst voted for increases in Southampton Town between 2007 and 2015 that raised the town tax rate from 1.255 percent to 1.4267 percent — “a whopping 13.7 percent.” Throne-Holst was a council member and then town supervisor during those years.
However, the rate declined slightly in the 2015-16 budget, Throne-Holst’s final spending plan. It’s now 1.4217 percent. And during her term as supervisor, the changes amounted to a net increase of $24 a year on a $500,000 home.
“In the middle of the great recession Anna Throne-Holst balanced the budget, cut wasteful spending, and cleaned up the financial mess in Southampton,” campaign spokesman Andrew Grunwald wrote in an email. “She did all of this by holding the line on taxes for middle-class families, and kept property tax rates to one of the lowest on Long Island.”
The Throne-Holst campaign plans to continue running the ad.
The GOP and the Jewish vote
As the sole Jewish Republican in Congress, Rep. Lee Zeldin has trumpeted the notion that Republicans are stronger supporters of Israel and are critical of the Iran nuclear deal — foreign policy issues that speak to many in the Jewish community. But courting the Jewish vote always has been a complicated endeavor for Republicans, though they’ve made some inroads. While American Jews have voted overwhelmingly Democratic, the vote recently has splintered, with 30 percent of the Jewish vote going to Mitt Romney in 2012.
But this election, as has been said so many times, is different.
Now, Zeldin’s support of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump may be working against him.
Last week, he found himself defending Trump’s commitment to Israel in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. Just a few days later, The Jewish Journal columnist Douglas Bloomfield, a former legislative director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, blasted Zeldin as a “cheap clone” of Trump. Zeldin is trying to fend off a challenge for his East End congressional seat by Democrat Anna Throne-Holst, and Bloomfield linked him to Trump, criticizing both for “incendiary rhetoric” and raising doubts about Trump’s support for Israel.
Bloomfield’s column came after months of commentary in The Jewish Journal that encouraged the Republican Party to “dump Trump,” or suggested that Trump may be a “disaster” for Israel. Now, it seems, that anti-Trump current is rippling down to Zeldin.
Randi F. Marshall
"Alt-right” all right?
Hillary Clinton gave a speech Thursday afternoon on Donald Trump’s embrace of the so-called “alt-right” movement, a loosely and contentiously defined philosophy with roots in pro-white and anti-immigrant sentiment.
Characterized by a strong social media presence and associated with websites and publications like Breitbart News, Radix Journal and American Renaissance, many of the movement’s adherents have supported Trump. The chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, is now chief executive of Trump’s campaign.
In a brief phone interview with The Point, prominent “alt-right” figure Jared Taylor, founder of the magazine American Renaissance, now a website, says the term first appeared around 2008, and was cited in a speech by Paul Gottfried. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Gottfried a “radical-right professor ... who argued that Martin Luther King Jr. had pushed the nation onto a path that ‘had more to do with political coercion and relentless indoctrination than with appeals to conscience.’”
Taylor said the central theme of “alt-right” is the rejection of “the prevailing orthodoxies of egalitarianism, particularly with race.” He says the magazine won’t shrink from the “spotlight” that Clinton’s speech could generate.
Indeed, the American Renaissance website was prepared for the deluge before the speech, with a pop-up message welcoming new readers. In its own words: “American Renaissance is a voice for all white people whose hopes for preserving their people and culture are being sacrificed under the delusion that diversity is a strength.”
EpiPen’s sharp tooth
State Senators Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino are among politicians proposing action to get the creators of Pokemon Go to stop the Pokemon characters from appearing on cellphones near the homes of registered sex offenders. The reason, they say, is to protect children. No word on whether they’re going to propose measures to stop the Pokemon characters from appearing on cellphones in busy intersections, highways, loading zones, rooftops and, well, the list of places dangerous for children is endless.