Demo Clubs Will Change As Jews Depart

buddy nevinsBY BUDDY NEVINS

The current Democratic Club organization — the web of grass-roots organizations that helps make the Broward party the largest in Florida– is doomed.

Doomed to change.

That will be the most dramatic result of the decline in the Jewish population highlighted in today’s Sun-Sentinel.

The Democratic clubs make Broward politics unique.  Some urban counties with more than 1 million residents have maybe a half dozen Democratic clubs. Broward has more than 40!

Most of these clubs run on what Jews call alter cocker power.  To clean up the Yiddish translation, alter cockers are grumble old men.

Older Jews, many raised in the clubhouse politics in the Northeast, are the heart of many of the best-known Democratic clubs in Broward.

Many of them still meet in condominium clubhouses, an easy tram ride from  the old Jews’ units. 

There was a time when club members campaigned for candidates door-to-door.  They talked up their favorite candidates around the condo pool.  They worked phone banks. They walked candidates around the clubhouse.

That was the past.  Now in some of the clubs of West Broward, there are just a handful of active members left.

I use the word “active loosely.  Many of these members are long past being able to provide much help in campaigns.  They need help just to vote.

According to pal Tony Man’s story in the Sun-Sentinel here, things are only going to get worse. 

Mitch Ceasar remembers how the club organization started.   The Democratic leader was a college-age activist in the early 1970s in West Broward.

“I was one of the original members of the Tamarac Democratic Club.  One day I looked around the table and realized there was a 50-year age difference between me and the next youngest board member, says Ceasar, who was then 21.

The first wave of older Jewish retirees who moved here in the 1970s are almost all dead.  The second wave in the 1980s are dying out, too.

Their clubs are hurting, too. 

I gave a speech at a local West Broward Democratic club recently where I counted six members of the audience using walkers, two pushing oxygen tanks and two on the arms of caretakers.

 “I’ve seen it coming for years, says Ceasar.

Ceasar, to his credit, has actively sought other pools of voters. 

Clubs emphasizing gay and lesbian membership are replacing west Broward as must stops for candidates. New clubs for Caribbean and Hispanic Democrats are springing up. 

So the club system will be revitalized.  But it will be painful, like any death and rebirth.

What does this all mean for the Democrats in Broward?

Maybe they’ll have to work harder, but the tide is still running their way.

Broward Democratic voter registration still is higher than both the Republicans and independents combined.  By more than 70,000 voters. 

I wrote two decades ago that the Jewish condo vote and the club system around it was dying.

That was around 1990 when Bill Clinton won Broward with a 111,000-plus margin.

By last year, a lot of those older Jews are passed on.  Still, Barack Obama won Broward by a 255,000 vote margin.

14 Responses to “Demo Clubs Will Change As Jews Depart”

  1. Buddy, Buddy says:

    All humans are doomed. We are born to live and die. But ideas and ideals live on and others whose turn it becomes to take on the human experience pick up where others left off. As some in the clubs die, others will take their place. The ideals and ideas that they hold dear will not die with them. This is not the end of anything it is the process.

  2. GOPapa says:

    When one group dominates politics as much as the retirees did, it was to the detriment of other ideas. Forget they were Jewish. The important thing is they were a bloc of retirees with a common philosophy and common voting pattern. The political philosophies of the retires were naturally born in their youths– FDR’s time and the Great Depression. Because they had so much sway over politics here, no new philosophies or ideas could be heard. Because they were seniors, they tended not to care about issues like overbuilding and the environment because they wouldn’t be here in 20-30 years. I see the lessening of their power as positive for Broward.
    I also differ with “Buddy Buddy” above. I believe we will see new ideals and new goals in Broward.

  3. Broward voter says:

    Its pretty simple actually. Up until now, Democrats have won Broward based on numbers, nothing more. Maybe now they’ll actually have to be GOOD to win.

    Case in point: Al Lamberti.

  4. I.P. Freely says:

    This article reminds me of a seinfeld episode…

  5. Sayndin MeShorts says:

    Take a look at the county commission.
    Then look at the school board.
    Then take a look at the Clerk of Courts, Public Defender, Property Appraiser, and Elections Supervisor.
    Mostly Jewish, all Democrats.
    Is it a good thing that one ethnic group and one party controls local government almost exclusively?
    Doubt it.

  6. To Sayndin says:

    This is not exclusive to Broward. Miami is controlled top to bottom by Cubans, with a sprinkling of blacks through in. At least Miami has both Democrats and Republicans. Broward is a Democratic ghetto and it has gotten us some of the worst corruption in the state and a lack of state services. Thanks condo voters.

  7. Good Dem says:

    First, a little fact checking; The majority of our constitutional officers, including Property Appraiser Lori Parrish and Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes are NOT Jewish. Neither are the majority of County Commissioners or School Board Members. The first County Commission candidate to run a a platform of improving the “Quality of Life” in Broward, which referred to making things better for the then new flood of residents that filled the condos, was Marcia Beach, also not Jewish, and neither were most of her colleagues then, such as George Platt, Bill Stevens & Gerry Thompson. By the way, neither Sheriff in those early Democratic Days, Ed Stack & Bob Butterworth, were Jewish, (and the current Sheriff is not either). Century Village in Deerfield was most prominently led by a man named Trinchetella, of proud Italian decent, and even the Democratic Party chair was John Lomelo. The same apples to cities – in Democratic strongholds Coconut Creek, Margate, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Miramar & Hallandale Beach, the majority of commisioners (and residents) are not Jewish. I could go on, but suffice to say, people who have their natural biases love to twist and turn the truth to their own ends. The fact is that the majority of voters in Broward are Democrats not because they are Jewish, but because they believe the Democratic Party has their best interest at heart far more so than the Republican Party does. And they are right!

  8. The Truth says:

    Gunzburger, Lieberman, Ritter, Wexler — Jewish. Wasserman-Rubin and Kristin Jacobs (Jewish sounding names). 6 of the 9. A majority of the county commission may not be Jewish. Voters would never know that.

  9. kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Gallagher, Williams, Hope, Parks, Murray, Dinnen, Kraft, Bartleman. Not Jewish.

    Only Gottleib is.

    Parrish Jewish? Not quite.

    Snipes Jewish? Not unless she followed Sammy Davis Jr.

    I guess Jews need to try harder and scheme to take over the county since misbegotten Jew haters like Sayndin MeShorts expect it.

  10. Pat says:

    Why are the Jewish people moving away? Can’t live with the Hispanics and African and Caribbean Americans?

  11. Democrats says:

    Being a democrat involves being an optimist who is willing to take risks that progress our society that and wants our government to help the less fortunate. The essence of being a republican involves being a pessimist that seeks to avoid risks, to preserve what we have without change, and who believes that helping the less fortunate is not a government role.

    Democrats believe that the basic nature of man is good while Republicans believe that our basic nature is evil. Democrats tend to be more altuistic than Republicans who tend more toward self interest than Democrats. Democrats are more more tolerant of what makes people different, while Republicans seek greater uniformity among people.

    Democrats have deeper feelings about helping the less fortunate
    than Republicans do. Republicans have deeper feelings about focusing their attention on self-interest than Democrats do. Both share each other’s priorities but they tend to carry them out in daily living to perceptively different extents.

    Democrats tend toward being solution based problem solvers, thinking of solutions to problems and then a process to get us there, while Republicans tend to be process based problem solvers, placing greater value on process and rules and allowing whatever outcome that process renders to stand for itself.

    These are tendencies of course, and while there are always exceptions to the rule, they tend to be accurate. I could go on and on with examples.

    You could call these stereotypes if you wish. There’s a difference, by the way between a stereotype and a prejudice. While a steriotype tends to be true in some roughly statistical context, a prejudice tends to be untrue for the same reason.

    Here’s the point. Being attracted toward liberalism or conservatism has more to do with your point of view as a person than with any of your characteristics of birth or chance. And it is that factor, to a far greater extent than any racial or ethnic consideration, that will determine the political future of any community.

    What I see in Florida is a growing number of moderates. Fiscal conservatives and social moderates. They pretty much like politics up the middle, and can live with Democrats or Republicans. What they don’t want is object misery on our streets, government abuse, overspending and waste, harshness or lack of compassion on the part of government or officials, they want government’s hands off of basic liberties, separation of church and state, and law and order in our communities.

    Another point worth mentioning: some of our area’s top donors to Republicans are Jews. So the notion that a declining Jewish population in Broward will hurt democrats is an incomplete thought. It will hurt Republicans also.

  12. kwitcherbelyaken says:


    Those Jews are moving away to spend their final years (or even months) under the care of their children.

  13. Stanton Poole says:

    Demographics change. Democrats will continue to win in this county because the Republicans offer no answers to our problems. Not only the majority of Jews see the truth. Just about every other voting bloc understands it, which is why Congress and the White House are Democratic.
    Any thinking voter realizes that the greatest thing that ever happened in U. S. health care is Medicare, a government program that provides a safety net for EVERY senior. What is the Republicans answer? More of the same.

  14. Carmen Waddell says:

    The Democratic Party in Broward County have been winning elections because of organization and leadership. A People oriented platform made it easier for party members to attract volunteers. Like any organization that consist of human beings there are great problems as well as great success. Lets not damn those people that brought organization and triumph just because they happened to be Jewish. Those Jews were not rich selfish people. They were retired individuals that moved to an area and wanted to better the quality of life for everyone. To imply that the Jews can’t live with the Hispanics and Caribeans (meaning blacks from the Islands) are just being racist and plain hateful. Glasser, Shwartz, Price, Bellis, and too many more families to mentioned; worked side by side with everyone in Broward County to help those that wanted to start Democratic Clubs. Lets not diminished the work of those that lend a hand to Broward in becoming a political bastion to be recon with. Corrupted politicians are so because they are corrupted individuals that seek the opportunity, no matter if Democrats or Republicans., Caucasians, Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Christians, etc. Are we to give up on being the government of the people, for the people by the people? The People deserve the government they elect, so get involved or be quiet. If you are not part of the solution…..YOU are part of the problem. Learn the facts, learn the issues and that my fellow Broward citizens is what will stop corruption in government. Till now politicians have been left to govern as they please, with no direction from us the People. You decide…….MORE OF THE SAME….OR CHANGE IT BY BEING INVOLVED. THE BALL IS IN YOUR COURT.