2016 Election Presents Jews With Hobson’s Choice
As we move into the serious part of the 2016 election campaign, many Jews will be debating which candidate is best not only for America, but for Israel. Not all Jews are single-issue voters, but some certainly are.
Listening to the debate in our community, I believe that Jews fall into at least five categories:
True believers in Hillary Clinton — This is the largest category of Jews. They support her because they are liberal Democrats and have faith that she will support Israel based on her knowledge of the region, her track record, and the influence of her husband.
Nose Holders — This category contains some Democrats, but mostly Jewish Republicans who can’t stand Hillary, but are frightened by Trump’s isolationism, ignorance of foreign policy, bigoted statements, and seeming lack of any core convictions. They believe the Nation can survive four years of Clinton and then, they desperately hope, a sane Republican candidate will emerge whom they can support.
True believers in Donald Trump — Not many Jews fall into this category. Some do, however, and appreciate his tough language regarding radical Islam and what they see as his genuine commitment to Israel.
Anyone But Hillary-ers — These are people who so despise Hillary (a population primarily made up of non-Jews) that they will vote for anyone else, including Trump.
Non-Voters — Those Jews who can’t stand Hillary, are afraid of Trump, and thus can’t bring themselves to vote for either — even if they know that their non-vote is a vote.
Presidential candidates typically pander to Jewish voters, so it isn’t easy to determine their authenticity. Both Clinton and Trump have said what the pro-Israel community wants to hear. Clinton has a track record from her days in the Senate, and as secretary of state. Voters will have to decide how to weigh her support for Israel in the Senate and her role in the Obama administration’s often ill-advised Middle East policies (though she was at some points a public critic of those policies).
Trump has no track record, and his isolationist views on foreign policy are alarming to anyone concerned with Israel’s security; on the other hand, he does see eye-to-eye with Israel on the threat of radical Islam and the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran.
Sadly, we have been left with what the philosopher John Stuart Mill referred to as the “Hobson’s choice of either voting for the person brought forward by their local leaders, or not voting at all.”
Dr. Mitchell Bard is the author/editor of 24 books including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews and the novel After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.