Originally published December 4, 2019
This Thursday night, December 5, the Queens Village Republican Club will host their annual Holiday Party. While the monthly meeting regularly discusses the dangers of one-party Democrat rule – which is what New York currently has – this particular meeting will feature an up-and-coming leader in the Republican Party, Elizabeth Pipko, the founder of the Exodus Movement.
Pipko, much like Candace Owens did with the Blexit Movement, took her conservative political values and started questioning the premise that Jews will always vote for Democrats. Statistically, the Jewish vote is over three-quarters Democrat in the last few election cycles, so that premise is well-founded. However, given the prominent rise of anti-Semites in the Democratic Party, like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, and those that enable them and espouse anti-Israel policies, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, the time for Jews to show the Democratic Party that they cannot take that vote for granted is now.
Pipko started working in politics when she walked into a Trump volunteer center in Trump Tower in Manhattan. She quickly moved up from a part-time volunteer to a full-time staff member. Pipko’s main career was in modeling, so she had to tell people that when she wasn’t taking jobs, she was teaching ice skating instead of working in Trump Tower (she skated competitively for seven years). After Trump’s victory in 2016, she returned back to her modeling career, but she found that, while she didn’t advertise her support for President Trump, many of her colleagues were incredibly vocal in their opposition towards him.
After a couple of years, Pipko decided to take the next step in her political activism, which meant potentially saying good-bye to her modeling career. “I decided to tell everyone instead of telling people personally; I actually just went to the New York Post and I told them,” Pipko said. “They reported the story and then I was on “Fox and Friends” the next morning and it blew up. And while I was doing all this, I guess, “right wing” press, at the same time, all my modeling contacts, some friends, agents that got word, kind of blocked me and disappeared, and that was the last of it.”
What began with a few tweets immediately grew into a nonprofit movement, and is now a super PAC. The Exodus Movement, formerly called Jexodus, focuses on many different congressional districts around the country, particularly on the issues that are important to the people who reside in those communities. This, as opposed to a broad message for the whole country, is a key part of their strategy. “Political efforts are more focus-based on different states and counties and where we know that we have to make a serious difference or to actually swing a vote,” Pipko said. “I think it’s less about different sects of Jews and more about different parts of the country.”
But there still is a broader aspect to what the Exodus Movement is trying to accomplish within the Jewish community. It’s working to de-stigmatize these political discussions within local communities, many of whom don’t feel comfortable publicly showing support for Trump, or Republicans writ large, lest they be penalized like Pipko was. “It’s about getting people to feel comfortable opening up and just having the conversations,” she said. “People don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore. It’s also about highlighting everything that President Trump has done, everything that the Left has done in recent years, and showing American Jews that although there has been loyalty to one party for so many years, it’s time to stick up for ourselves for the first time in a long time and become loyal to a different party.”
Trump’s record towards American Jews, and towards many of the policy priorities that the community has, has been excellent thus far. Many of those policies benefit large swaths of Americans, specifically the strong economy, but also the unprecedented support for Israel speaks to many in the Jewish community in particular.
Like all conservatives who gain popularity, Pipko has been the target of media harassment by left-wing sources, like The New York Times and Ha’aretz, who view her movement as a divisive one that seeks to exploit the anti-Semitism of the Democrats for political gain. But Pipko knows that her job pits her against the media as well as the Democrats. “There are a lot of Jews whom I know who didn’t really understand what I tried to tell them; but there are certain people running on the Left who mention cutting off aid to Israel,” she said when discussing the lack of information that the media is giving about the stances of Democratic Presidential frontrunners. “When I told them, they didn’t believe me and I made them Google it in front of me and they were shocked. To them, Israel is number one, and they think that the Left and the Right support Israel equally.”
While those on the Left deride Pipko’s chances to make real change, this is a movement that is growing rapidly and forcefully. Given the Democrats’ increasing embrace of policies that are antithetical to the Jewish community, this organization has come along at the right time. Hopefully, their efforts will be reflected in the results that come in November 2020.
Moshe Hill is a political analyst who has written for The Daily Wire, the Queens Jewish Link, The Jewish Link of New Jersey and JNS.org. He is regularly featured on ‘The Josh M Show’ podcast. Subscribe to aHillwithaview.com for more content from Moshe Hill. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/ahillwithaview and follow him on Twitter @TheMoHill.