Why the Jewish community won't support Republicans in 2014
Excellent piece by Zev Chafets on the Fox News website on why Republicans are living in a dream world if they think American Jews will turn on Democrats in 2014 and support them.
Jews are not simply supporters of the Democratic Party; they are at the heart of everything from union leadership to campaign funding, think-tank policymaking to grass roots organizing.
Three of the four liberal justices on the Supreme Court are Jews. There are 10 Jewish U.S. senators and more than 20 Jewish members of the House.
In contrast, after the departure of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, there isn't a single Jewish Republican in Congress (or in any statehouse). And 2014 isn't going to reverse that.
There are only three congressional races – two in New York, one in Connecticut – where Jewish candidates are considered competitive, and all three are long shots. The GOP has no Jewish senatorial candidates at all.
The Republican side of the aisle in both houses of Congress has, and will have, about as many Jewish members as the Icelandic parliament.
There aren't even any great Hebrew hopes out there, just a few obscure local politicians who might, someday, run for higher office. The best known (and most influential) Republican Jew in America is Sheldon Adelson, the octogenarian casino mogul and mega-donor. Whatever Adelson’s virtues, he isn't anybody’s idea of an electoral poster boy.
Of course you don’t have to be Jewish to get Jewish votes. Al Smith, a New York Catholic, won almost 75 percent in his loss to Herbert Hoover in 1928. Franklin Roosevelt got between 85-90 percent in four straight elections. John F. Kennedy, the son of a notorious anti-Semite, topped 80 percent in 1960. Four years later, Lyndon Johnson got 90 percent running against Barry Goldwater, the grandson of frontier Jews. Obama got 69 percent of Jewish voters in 2012.
In the last 20 presidential elections, only Jimmy Carter, a transparently unfriendly figure, got less than two-thirds of the Jewish presidential vote – and even he out-polled the strongly pro-Israel Ronald Reagan.
The fact is, the great majority of American Jewish Democrats see their party and its agenda as their secular religion. Reform Judaism, America’s largest Jewish denomination, is sometimes jokingly called “the Democratic Party with holidays.” A lot of Jews would sooner convert to Shia Islam than leave the party of their forefathers.
Republicans mistakenly believe that American Jews care more about Israel than they do about liberal politics. As Chafets points out, this simply isn't the case. While the number of conservative Republican Jews is growing slowly, most Democrats can still count on about 3 out of 4 Jewish votes in their districts and states.
This doesn't mean that Republicans should stop working to attract Jewish votes. But this is a long term project that won't come to fruition anytime soon.