Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) may or may not make history as the first self-described democratic socialist to win a major party's nomination, but he already notched a famous first on Tuesday night, becoming the first Jewish candidate — and the first non-Christian — to win a presidential primary. Sanders has been projected to easily beat Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire's Democratic primary, just nine days after coming in a close second in the Iowa caucuses (where Sanders was the first Jewish candidate to win delegates in a presidential primary, something Joe Lieberman never achieved).
And those aren't the first bits of history made in this unusual presidential race, just two contests into the election.
American Jews were thrilled with Lieberman's shot at the vice presidency in 2000 and presidential run four years later, but is there any "hoopla over a Jewish challenger holding a strong lead in the New Hampshire polls"? asks Ami Eden at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "Nope. Bubkes." And he has some theories why:
Since Lieberman's dance on the national stage an African American was elected president, a Mormon won the Republican nomination, and a woman is widely viewed as the favorite to win in 2016. Suddenly the whole first-Jewish-president thing seems like a yawner. There is also the fact that Lieberman wore his Judaism like a yarmulke. He proudly put his faith front and center while embracing the role of religious trailblazer and Jewish role model. Sanders, not so much. [JTA]
Still, history is history. Congratulations, Sanders.