Republican Jewish leaders have been unyielding in proclaiming that the GOP would pick up more Jewish votes in 2016 than it has in previous elections. However, these claims are not strongly rooted in fact. Numerous polls show that American Jews will continue to identify, and vote, as Democrats. Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev reports:
Important as Israel may be for most American Jews, the economy, health care, immigration and civil rights are much more pertinent to their lives and voting preferences.
Moreover, one of the prime factors that has driven the Republican Party to unequivocally embrace Israel in recent decades, no strings attached, is Christian Evangelicals, whose inordinate influence on the GOP has been on public display throughout the primary season. But Jews dislike and distrust Evangelicals more than any other religious group in America, turning the GOP’s Evangelical-inspired support for Israel into a double-edged sword that can repel American Jews no less than it attracts them.
And on the myriad other issues that concern American Jews and have forged their historic loyalty to the Democratic Party since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal – the 2016 version of the GOP is more distant from their views than ever before. While the GOP is becoming more conservative, more religious, more insular and more estranged from minorities, the recently released Pew Research Center poll on religious outlooks shows that Jews remain the most liberal and secular voting bloc in America.
Nearly 7-in-10 (69%) Jewish Americans support tougher laws and regulations to protect the environment – so why would they vote for a party whose candidate denies any human responsibility for the current climate crisis?
More than 8-in-10 (81%) Jewish Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally – so they would vote for a party which includes a candidate (Ted Cruz) who backs “conversion therapy” and thinks homosexual conduct is “a choice”?
A large majority, 67%, of American Jews support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants – so why would they vote for a candidate (Donald Trump) who thinks they should all be expelled by “deportation force” or who suggested after the Paris terror attacks that a religious group such as Muslims should be required to bear special identity cards?
Finally, 93% of Jewish Americans are pro-choice – so why would they support a party whose candidates oppose legal access to abortions and basic reproductive healthcare, including some (Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum) who would outlaw abortions even in cases of rape and incest?
When one takes a look at the candidates leading the Republican Party, it’s pretty remarkable how out-of-sync they are with the priorities of Jewish Americans.