The End of Jewish Support for the Democratic Party
STEPHEN HERBERTS, JEWISH DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Senator Barack Obama’s credibility gap resulting from his policies and disturbing pattern of association with anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American friends and advisers is raising alarm throughout the Jewish community. The Democratic Party risks losing electoral and financial support from the Jewish community should Senator Barack Obama be the Party’s presidential nominee. Rank and file Democrats are telling pollsters that they will vote for Senator John McCain if Barack Obama is the Democrat’s choice, and major Jewish donors have already withheld support to the Democratic National Committee and other party efforts.
In Pennsylvania, exit polls show that Senator Clinton beat Senator Obama by 24 percentage points amongst Pennsylvanian Jews, outpacing the general population by 13 points, and even outpacing the Protestant population which favored Senator Clinton by a ten point margin. With Jews comprising 8 % of the Pennsylvania primary electorate, these percentages are large enough to be determinative in a close general election race. Senator Clinton won amongst Jews by similarly large margins in states like New York and New Jersey. In Florida where Jews accounted for 9% of primary voters, the margin exceeded 30 points. In Nevada where Jews accounted for some 5%, the margin exceeded 40 points. Data is not available for other key swing states like Ohio, Michigan, New Mexico and Wisconsin.
Despite historic trends, shifting demographics, international concerns, and great distrust of Senator Barack Obama’s record and associations will lead to mass defections from the Democratic party of critical blocks of the Jewish community in November’s election. These defections will contribute to Democratic defeats in critical battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, will put into play others such as New Jersey and New York, and give a third consecutive White House victory to the Republicans. This potentially seismic realignment of Jewish support in favor of the Republican Party could be generational, lasting well beyond 2008.
The fundamental trouble with Barack Obama is his lack of credibility. Senator Obama makes statements of solidarity with the Jewish community. Yet, his determination to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad runs counter to his professed sensitivity to Jewish concerns. His relationships with unabashed anti-Semitic and anti-Israel individuals calls into question his sincerity. His 20-year comfort with Jeremiah Wright, and his previous tolerance and defense of his pastor who preaches “Zionism equals Racism” reveals his ability to tolerate, defend and find comfort with others who share such views. While defending his relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright Obama boldly proclaimed: