Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Will American Jews Increase Their Support for President Trump in 2020?

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While the support of a large majority of African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans for the Democratic Party is well known, American Jews likewise have long been a reliable part of the Democratic electorate. For example, in the last presidential election, American Jews handed Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton a 71-24 margin of support. This was a larger margin of support than could be found from any Christian denomination. It is an even larger percentage of support than can be found among Americans who are not affiliated with any religion at all.

But Jexodus.org, a website of Jewish Millennials, launched in conjunction with the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this month, wants to change that. They proclaim that they are “tired of living in bondage to leftist politics.”

“We reject the hypocrisy, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism of the rising far-left,” the site states. “Progressives, Democrats, and far too many old-school Jewish organizations take our support for granted. After all, we’re Jewish, and Jews vote for Democrats. Until today.”

President Donald Trump gave his stamp of approval to the effort to peel Jewish voters away from the Democratic Party. “Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party,” the president said in a tweet, quoting Elizabeth Pipko, a 23-year-old model who was a campaign staffer for Trump.

“We saw a lot of anti-Israel policies started under the Obama Administration.… There is anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party. They don’t care about Israel or the Jewish people.”

In a press release announcing the launch of Jexodus.org, the group said, “We’re done standing with supposed Jewish leaders and allegedly supportive Democrats who rationalize, mainstream, and promote our enemies. We’d rather spend 40 years wandering in the desert than belong to a party that welcomes Jew-haters like Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexanderia Ocasio-Cortez.”

Pipko told Fox & Friends, “We left Egypt, and now we’re leaving the Democratic Party.”

Trump responded to comments made recently by Representative Omar (D-Minn.), who questioned the patriotism of American Jews who are supportive of Israel. “Democrats hate the Jewish people,” Trump reportedly told guests at a dinner at the president’s get-away residence in Mar-a-Lago, adding, “The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party.”

When the Democrats chose to condemn other forms of bigotry, rather than specifically condemn Omar’s incendiary remarks, Trump said, “I thought that vote was a disgrace.”

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders added to the president’s comments in a briefing on Monday: “The president has been an unwavering and committed ally to Israel and the Jewish people. And frankly the remarks that have been made by a number of Democrats and failed to be called out by Democrat leadership is frankly abhorrent and it’s sad and it’s something that should be called by name. It shouldn’t be put in a watered-down resolution.”

The possibility that a larger number of Jews could flip to the Republicans would add to the recent polling that indicate blacks and Hispanics are increasingly favorable to Trump. While a shift in a few percentage points, from Democrat to Republican, by Hispanics could certainly be meaningful — even decisive — in states such as Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico, how would a loss of Jewish support be damaging to Democrats in a national presidential election?

After all, even if every Jewish voter presently voting Democrat switched to Republican, it is doubtful that Trump or any other Republican could carry New York State, the residence of many American Jews. But one should recall that then-Vice President Al Gore picked a Jewish senator from Connecticut (Joe Liebermann) in 2000 — largely to help him win Florida. It almost worked, as Gore only lost Florida by less than 600 votes out of six million total votes cast.

Florida is still a swing state today. If the Jewish community in Florida, repulsed by the anti-Jewish trend in the Democratic Party, shifted to Trump in 2020, that could be very important. And Jewish donors could decide to give their “Benjamins” (as Omar so indelicately said) to Trump and other Republicans.

Trump’s decision to move the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the fact that his daughter, Ivanka, is married to a Jew and a convert to Judaism herself, has also certainly been noted by American Jews.

Presently, Orthodox Jews and others who are active in the Jewish faith are already more likely to vote Republican. Even many Jews in Europe are becoming more open to the various right-of-center parties there that are taking strong stances against the rising tide of anti-Jewish Muslim immigrants entering the European Union countries.

When Sanders made her remarks to the press, she was asked if Trump believes “Democrats hate Jews.” She retorted, “I think that’s a question you ought to ask the Democrats.”

That is a question that Democrats may be forced to answer in next year’s presidential campaign.

Image: kali9 via iStock / Getty Images Plus

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