Despite Obama, American Jews Will Still Blindly Vote for Democrats
Politicians care about votes and money. That is the way of the world.
The American Jewish community is a solid voting block, has many influential opinion leaders, and donates money disproportionately to politicians. Hence, it is shameful that while President Barack Obama received 69% of the Jewish vote in the 2012 elections, and has turned out to be awful for Israel, that Democrats will continue to receive the vast majority of Jewish votes. There will be very little backlash for the Democrats’ terrible behavior towards Israel.
The reason for this doesn’t have much to do with politics – but with religion. A recent nationwide survey of Jews conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project found that 71% of non-Orthodox Jews intermarry, 66% of American Jews don’t belong to a synagogue, and 25% don’t believe in God. The numbers are devastating – but show by and large that many of these Jews are Jewish in name only.
For some of these people, their synagogue and religion has become solely liberal values. Jeff Jacoby, the op-ed editor of the Boston Globe, has written that “liberalism has superseded Judaism as the religion of most American Jews.” Author Norman Podhoretz wrote in “Why Are Jews Liberal” that “To most American Jews, then, liberalism is not, as has often been said, merely a necessary component of Jewishness: it is the very essence of being a Jew. Nor is it a ‘substitute for religion’: it is a religion in its own right, complete with its own catechism and its own dogmas and, Tertullian-like, obdurately resistant to facts that undermine its claims and promises.” For them, “The new Torah will always trump the old.”
There will be plenty of noise made in midterm elections – and soon enough in the 2016 Presidential election – about the “Jewish vote.” Plenty of noise will be made about the money that Sheldon Adelson and others will spend on trying to get Jews to vote Republican. My prediction is it will largely all be noise.
Without funds for Jewish education, it will be hard to move liberals who don’t care about Judaism to vote Republican. Traditional Jews will vote for the party that is best for their people and the State of Israel – and many un-involved Jews will keep praying at the altar of liberalism. Jacoby is right in saying that “This liberalism isn’t rational. It isn’t sensible. It certainly isn’t good for the Jews.” But maybe the only answer is to work to make Jews more Jewish first.
Countless American Jews choose the Democratic Party over the State of Israel, and it is horrible that liberal values are more important than the Jewish State for so many American Jews.