This week, the Daily Beast profiled Ohio Republican Senate candidate State Treasurer Josh Mandel - an up-and-coming socially conservative Jewish Republican. Endorsed by a prominent anti-choice group and staunchly opposed to marriage equality, Mandel has accepted a campaign contribution from a Nazi reenactor - and refused to return it - and received eight “Pants on Fire” awards from PolitiFact Ohio for making statements that were “both false and patently ridiculous.”
According to the Daily Beast, this record likely accounts for some of the reasons Mandel does not seem to be making inroads within his local Jewish community. The Daily Beast reported:
During a recent week in the Beachwood and Shaker Heights neighborhoods of Cleveland, I found that local Jews’ views track with national data placing economic justice and social welfare as Jews’ paramount political and religious values. When I asked Mandel about the discrepancies between his politics and those of the mainstream of American Jewry, he replied, ‘You need to understand that there’s a Jewish community outside of the Upper West Side of Manhattan.’
One prominent Cleveland Jewish leader, who asked to remain anonymous, ‘confessed’ that Mandel remains the only Republican to receive a campaign contribution from him. ‘I thought he was a nice Jewish boy, someone whose parents I knew, and he was running for a city council seat,’ he said. ‘But now I’d like my fifty dollars back.’
... If Mandel can’t succeed in his home county, where he might have otherwise gained his margin of victory, Jewish Republicans nationwide may have to reassess their strategy for realigning the Jewish vote. ‘With Mandel, we see someone who’s one of our own who we believe is dishonest and pandering-and then it’s more personal,’ said Mitchell Cronig, an aerospace engineer active in both Democratic campaigns and Jewish community organizations. ‘I’m proudly voting against a Jewish candidate because I want to support my principles above just voting for the Jew.’
With Mandel’s inability to make inroads with Jewish voters-despite his compelling posture as a young, Jewish conservative from the neighborhood-those hoping the GOP can make inroads among American Jews may need to prepare themselves for the possibility that, as go Ohio’s Jews, so still goes American Jewry.
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