JTA — Elissa Slotkin, the rare Democrat who won reelection in a district where US President Donald Trump got a majority, is urging her fellow Democrats: don’t make a shanda before the GOP.
“There are people both inside and outside the party who are looking to split it apart,” Slotkin told Politico in a story posted Friday, the last in a series chronicling her bid to keep her Michigan district straddling Detroit’s suburbs and Lansing.
“And that’s the least strategic thing I can think of — it’s handing these anti-democratic forces that I’m so concerned about a gift,” she said. “While I disagree with a lot of people in my party, I still have a lot in common with them. And it would be what we call in Yiddish a shanda, a shame, a deep shame, if internal politics led to a strategic opening for these completely anti-democratic forces.”
Slotkin and several others who flipped Republican seats in 2018 kept their districts, but many are out; Republicans gained at least 15 seats this election, although Democrats have maintained the majority.
Slotkin, a moderate who was elected after a long career in the national security sector, later told the Jewish Democratic Council of America that she was proud to use the Yiddishism.
“There was a Politico article out today,” she said in the Zoom call. “We did like a series for Politico, and in my district, we have less than 4,000 Jews, we have a very small Jewish community, but I got the word ‘shanda’ into that article, and then they had to explain it, including the journalist who never heard it, and so I feel I’m doing my part to further the culture of the Jewish people.”
Tim Alberta, the journalist in question, confirmed his prior ignorance on Twitter. “My Yiddish is rusty,” he said.
Can confirm I’d never heard the word “shanda.” My Yiddish is rusty. https://t.co/0ZJ7fqjN0c
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) November 13, 2020