My wife Karen and I were born and bred in Brooklyn. Which is to say that we were New York Jews whose parents were lever-pulling Democrats.
We were told that Democrats cared about the poor and Republicans only cared about rich people.
That’s what passed for political analysis in our crowd.
As Karen and I grew older and wiser, we realized that the party of Daniel Moynihan and John F. Kennedy was extinct. The left had colonized a once decent party and turned it into a blunt weapon of a vast regulatory state that cared little about liberty, but greatly valued a Marxist-tinged vision of utopia.
In addition, Jew-hatred, under the guise of anti-Zionism, has been mainstreamed by the American left, which is the postmodern Democrat party.
AIPAC pretends that support of Israel is a bipartisan issue. But AIPAC is delusional, and at this point, useless. Unless you consider fundraising from gullible Jews in order to maintain AIPAC’s internal bureaucracy to be a worthwhile endeavor.
The Democrats voted overwhelmingly to go along with the Obama/Kerry capitulation to Iran — a direct threat to Israel’s security needs, not to mention a threat to the global Westphalian order. It is the Republican party that supports Israel. And it is the Republican party that cares about liberty, upholding the Constitution, the rights of private property, and free enterprise.
What does all this mean for the 2016 election? Richard Baehr, a political analyst worth reading, has some interesting thoughts about the Jewish vote in the 2016 election.
Of course, Clinton served in the Obama White House as secretary of state, and did her part to dress down various Jewish leaders from time to time over “settlement activity.” She also wholeheartedly supported the Iran nuclear deal. She has never been viewed as having any emotional attachment to Israel, in the way Bill Clinton did. Given that Obama’s second term has been more of the same on Israel — especially the tensions over Iran and the nuclear agreement — a third Obama run, were it allowed, would have almost certainly resulted in a further significant drop in Jewish support.
In recent days, The Wall Street Journal has run a new blockbuster story about the NSA spying on Israel and monitoring Israeli conversations with members of Congress, with reports provided to the White House. There are also continued tensions between Congress and the president overenforcement of sanctions and other actions taken by Congress against Iran.
Hillary Clinton’s goal is to differentiate herself a bit from Obama, but not enough to rub his core supporters (especially African-Americans) the wrong way. The heavily scripted Clinton campaign appears to be one where the candidate is checking off boxes of groups she needs to stroke, including Jewish Democrats who still care about Israel. The continued fighting over the Iran deal will not make her job easier.
The truth, as revealed in countless public opinion surveys, is that most Jews vote for Democrats, not because of their position on Israel, but because they are liberals, and the Democratic Party is the liberal party. The Democratic position on abortion, gay rights, income inequality, tax rates, social welfare spending, health care and climate change matters far more to most Jewish Democrats than Israel does.
It is a very different story among Jews who vote Republican. Many of these Jews are lapsed or former Democrats, who switched allegiance precisely because they believed the Republicans had become the party more supportive of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. The peeling off of Jewish support for Obama between 2008 and 2012 was likely not due to unhappiness with his liberal agenda, but primarily the tensions in the U.S.-Israel relationship.