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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can Democrats still take the Jewish vote for granted?

For the last 80 years, Democrats have pretty much been able to take the Jewish vote in the United States for granted. In fact, I have heard many people quip that the Obama administration's policy until recently was "F**k the Jews, they'll vote for us anyway." But is that true anymore? Morgan P. Muchnick, a 2001 graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, who served as professional staff to Senator Fred Thompson and as chief speechwriter for Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, when Ayalon was the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, argues that the Democrats can no longer take the Jewish vote for granted (Hat Tip: Shmuel Rosner). American Jews will face a very difficult dilemma this November, and in November 2012.
The Republican Party, rightly, argues that we are spending far too much money on failed social spending that helps very few while exacerbating our crippling national debt. Furthermore, the GOP platform will never call for expanding abortion rights, nor should it. Unfortunately, a large percentage of American Jews will not be able to overcome their emotional support for these issues. For many Jewish Americans, unfettered access to abortions is elevated to the top of their policy positions when deciding between political candidates. It is simply a bridge too far for many Jews, especially the older generation and women, to vote for a conservative who might circumscribe abortion access, no matter how modest the restrictions may be, and regardless of how pro-Israel their policy stance. Not surprisingly, demographic studies show Jewish women and older Jews remain stalwart Democrats. For many Jews, it comes down to Israel vs. unfettered abortions, and far too many Jews choose abortion.

However, recent polling data shows that male Jews under 50 are now more than 50% self-identified Republicans. In addition, Jews donate large amounts of money to the GOP, far larger than their voting numbers would suggest. At times, such as 1984 when Jews voted for Ronald Reagan at a 40% rate, it looked like the GOP brand was becoming less toxic. However, more recently George W. Bush was vilified by much of the Jewish community in spite of his unflagging support for Israel.

Recent polls suggest Obama's support among Jewish voters has fallen by over 30%. This, admittedly, should be taken with a grain of salt, as Obama's support across most demographic lines has also fallen. Furthermore, there is a long time between now and 2012. However, for the first time in my lifetime, there is hope that Jewish voters can no longer be taken for granted by the Democratic Party. The Jewish vote, in the near term, is still the Democrats' to lose. However, if Jewish Republicans continue to make the case to vote Republican, eventually our community will play a historic role in the likely-upcoming GOP wave, starting this November.
Read the whole thing.


At 4:26 PM, Blogger Professor Miao said...

I don't understand the obsession with abortion.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Barry Rubin wrote a good article on why American Jews vote for the Left and the Democrats. And he points out that Jewish insecurity is not going to lead them to vote Republican. If there is a GOP wave in November, I wouldn't bet most American Jews are not going to be part of it.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

"For many Jews, it comes down to Israel vs. unfettered abortions, and far too many Jews choose abortion."

What ever happened to the Torah admonition to "choose life?"

The problem here is multifaceted. First, you have many people whose parents or grandparents came to this country with little or nothing. They were definitely among the underclass, so they naturally gravitated toward unions and the Democrats. OK, fine, I can understand that. But the present generation is far from poor in most cases, and no political evolution has occurred, no maturing of their voting habits as one would normally expect. Further compounding the problem is that the Democrat Party has moved much further to the left over the years, starting in the mid- to late-1960s. Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Scoop Jackson and Hubert Humphrey - all strong backers of Israel - would, if resurrected, be drummed out of the Party in much the same way as Joe Lieberman was recently.

Second, the argument that I always hear is that "we have to take care of the poor, and the Republicans just don't care about them." First of all, while taking care of the poor is a worthwhile activity, doing so at the point of a gun is not. Make no mistake, that's what taxes are - a bald and naked extraction of money from our pockets. For anyone who doubts this, try not paying your taxes and see what happens. OK, we do need to pay some taxes, it is part of living in a civilized and safe society - but there's a limit. Satisfying the guilt pangs of a bunch of self-hating liberals who are ashamed (for some reason that I cannot fathom) of their prosperity by extorting more taxes than is reasonable for the legitimate functions of government (like national defense, the administration of a judicial system, road-building, checking on the safety of our food and medicines, and the like) goes well beyond that limit. Yet, for some reason, liberal Jews just don't get it. It is like they're stuck in some kind of a time warp, where they are part of some Socialist bund that is opposing the Czar, just like their grandparents or great grandparents. Get with the program, folks, the Czar has been dead and gone for nearly a century, and the replacement regime was at least an order of magnitude worse. The upshot is that while it is a Jewish value to give charity, most of these people simply cannot or will not distinguish between encouraging others to give voluntarily on the one hand, and compulsory donations in the form of taxation (or borrowing, which is taxation of future taxpayers who, by the way, are completely unrepresented and who also derive no benefit from these activities).

HaShem made the complaint that Jews were a stiff-necked people. That is undoubtedly part of the reason for our survival as a coherent people, but it is also the cause of what I like to call "stickiness" in political views - they stick with old patterns out of sheer stubbornness, unable and/or unwilling to look at how the world has changed.

I always like to challenge the morality of those who are socially liberal, to shock them to their core belief - which is that they are far more moral (and wise) than the Neanderthal (in their view) conservatives. Compelling charity is not only not a good thing, it is the height of immorality. Frankly, it is also stupid beyond belief from an economic point of view - it is only rewarded innovation that produces wealth, and if the reward is withdrawn (by taxing income at too high a rate) then innovation ceases and prosperity declines...resulting in more poor people. Further, giving too much charity makes people indolent, by removing any incentive that they may have to find a job or retrain themselves for a changed world.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Jewish voters assuaged their (unjustified) self loathing/guilt as white people by voting for a supposed oppressed minority candidate. Now they're free to move beyond that issue.

If it was Hillary running against a Republican, they'd all return to the Democrat fold.

As stated, abortion trumps Israel and any other Jewish cause. IMO, that is a mental illness.


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