Diana Leygerman: Judicial Overreach

"I knew that Trump's goals were to pack the courts with conservative judges who will allow him to do whatever he wants to do without consequences."
By | Jul 02, 2024
JPVP 2024
Diana Leygerman

This interview is part of Moment’s Jewish Political Voices Project. To learn more about the project, click here. To see our other participants, click here. To see all posts from Diana, click here.

Age: 41
Occupation: Project manager, community activist

Location: Warwick Township, PA
Party Registration: Democratic
Jewish Denomination: Reform
2020 Vote: Joe Biden
Current 2024 Vote: Joe Biden
Family: Married, two children

News Sources: The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Bucks County Courier-Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic

Do the felony convictions diminish Trump? Do they help Biden? Do they change the trajectory of the 2024 race?

Well, no, I don’t think they will change anything, because people who don’t support Trump are not going to support him now. And for those who are really loyalists, the convictions don’t seem to matter. They believe that the whole thing is a witch hunt, and politicizing the judicial system against a political opponent. So I really don’t think that anybody who’s really loyal to Trump is not going to vote for him because of that, It is a sad time. I wasn’t planning on ever voting for Trump anyway. I mean, I’m happy he’s been convicted. I honestly thought he’d never ever face any consequences for anything he’s done. But for me, personally, it doesn’t change anything. I don’t really have too many friends who are hard-right Trump supporters.

What about the ‘squishy’ middle? Voters who don’t like neither major-party nominee but realize they have to choose one in November?

We had the primaries here in Pennsylvania before the convictions. The results really were eye-opening, especially in the suburban counties around Philadelphia, some of which are very blue collar. In Pennsylvania, we have closed primaries — you can only vote Republican if you’re Republican and Democrat if you’re a Democrat. In the Republican primary here in Bucks County, at least 25 percent of the Republican vote went to Nikki Haley. In (adjacent) Montgomery County, it was upwards of like 50 percent that went to Nikki Haley. So that already tells me that a lot of Republicans are done with Trump. 

Anecdotally, I have a lot of friends who worked the polls on Election Day. And when the people at the Democratic table offered sample ballots, some voters responded: “No, I’m voting Republican, for Nikki Haley. But you’ll have my vote in November.”

What about Jewish voters in your area?

I am seeing some pushback on Biden from Jewish voters. Several people I know have mentioned that they can’t vote for Biden, because they disagree with how he’s handled Gaza and Israel. And so there are definitely a couple that are sitting around, waiting to see what happens in the next couple of months. But I’m only hearing that from Jewish voters. I’m not really hearing that from any other voters. I’ve heard people that I’m pretty close with say things like, “I can’t vote for either one,” because of Gaza, and Ukraine. We have like a lot of Russian-Jewish immigrants here. Those issues are kind of difficult for them right now. So they might just stay home on Election Day.

What about Israel and Gaza? Are you satisfied Biden is doing all he can? Would Trump do a better job?

I think Biden is in a very, very difficult situation. But to me, to be honest, I think he’s done a really good job—considering what he’s dealing with. I think he’s been level headed, I think his cabinet has has been pretty good. A month or so ago, he threatened to withhold aid to Israel. But then people got really, really upset about that. I understand some of the strategy here. But also, I understand that we the common people who don’t understand everything. So we have to trust that a Democratic president who has good relationships with Israel is doing the right thing. I know it’s not perfect, but I think Trump would be completely disastrous. Thank God Trump is not president right now, because things would be way worse than they are right now—in  America and Israel.

What did you make of the candidate’s performances at the first debate?

Trump lied nonstop and Biden stumbled the whole time. It was painful to watch. I will say to you what I posted earlier that day, before the debate, You are not voting for a president, you’re voting for an administration. Biden’s cabinet is staffed with competent and educated leaders. Trump’s is staffed with MAGA loyalists and extreme Christian Nationalists who want to destroy our democracy. There’s literally nothing that will make me vote for Trump.

What about the Supreme Court’s recent immunity decision?

The Supreme Court decision is gross overreach and it is undemocratic. I am not surprised though. I knew that Trump’s goals were to pack the courts with conservative judges who will allow him to do whatever he wants to do without consequences. This is not surprising, and I honestly don’t know how any of this will get better. Every election has such high stakes and I think people are exhausted.  

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