Brooklyn, NY – Hillary Clinton may have bested President-elect Donald Trump overall in New York State, but when it came to Brooklyn’s Chasidic communities it was evident that Trump was the clear favorite.
While most of Borough Park’s voters are registered Democrats, Trump took a whopping 69 percent of the vote in the 48th Assembly District, which is represented by Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
Ironically, just one week prior to the election, Hikind announced that he would cast his vote for House Speaker Paul Ryan as a write in candidate, saying that his conscience would not permit him to vote for Trump because of his immoral behavior as previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2fGK2am).
Trump’s often questionable actions and blunt remarks didn’t seem to deter Borough Park voters.
“I don’t really care that he’s not a model,” teacher and rabbinical student Shaya Stern told the New York Times, noting that he felt Trump was more qualified than Clinton to lead the nation.
Journalist Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt said that the Orthodox Jewish world understands that the non-Jewish politicians often have different value system.
“People are not looking to the United States president to be a representative of some sort of morality in the way that other Americans might,” said Ms. Chizhik-Goldschmidt. “People are looking for a strong leader, a tough leader.”
Others felt that Trump represented the best hope for a shakeup in Washington D.C.
“We need new people in office,” said Borough Park resident Moses Steinmetz.
Support for Trump was somewhat less solid in Williamsburg, where Satmar leaders encouraged their followers to vote for Clinton. Trump won a majority in some, but not all of the districts, that include Williamsburg’s Jewish area and a similar situation unfolded in Crown Heights.
A video of Trump’s Orthodox Jewish daughter, Ivanka, visiting the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe shortly before the election with her husband Jared Kushner, made the rounds on social media.
“The biggest joke in the Orthodox community after the election was that Chabad won over Satmar,” said Ms. Chizhik-Goldschmidt. The Rebbe’s blessing worked and the Satmar endorsement didn’t.”
Borough Park’s Republican rally is not unprecedented. Republican candidates won at least 70 percent of the vote in the 48th District in the last two elections.