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The Democratic Party’s Disconnect with Religious Voters

In 2012, Michael Wear ended his association with the White House after having worked on both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in outreach to religious voters, especially evangelical Christians. He departed in response to a decision to withdraw an invitation previously extended to Pastor Louie Giglio to give the benediction at the upcoming inauguration on account of Giglio’s belief that homosexuality is sinful. To Wear, this episode typifies the Democrats’ inability to connect with the devout, a problem he discusses in conversation with Emma Green:

[T]here’s a religious illiteracy problem in the Democratic party. It’s tied to the demographics of the country: more twenty- and thirty-year-olds are taking positions of power in the party. They grew up in parts of the country where navigating religion was not important socially and not important to their political careers. . . .

America is still a profoundly religious nation. There are reports that high-level Democratic leadership was not interested in reaching out to white Catholics. And they sure didn’t have a lot of interest in white evangelicals. That’s a huge portion of the electorate to throw out. So if the civic motivation doesn’t get you, let me make the practical argument: it doesn’t help you win elections if you’re openly disdainful toward the driving force in many Americans’ lives. . . .

The Democratic party used to welcome people who didn’t support abortion. [It is] now so far from [that attitude], it’s insane. This debate, for both sides, is not just about the abortion rate; it’s not just about the legality of it. It’s a symbolic debate. It’s symbolic on the pro-choice side about the autonomy of women and their freedom to do what they want with their bodies. On the pro-life side, they care not just about the regulations around abortion, but whether there’s a cultural affirmation of life.

[But] even the symbolic olive branches [from the Democratic establishment to pro-life voters] have become less acceptable.

Read more at Atlantic

More about: Abortion, Barack Obama, Democrats, Evangelical Christianity, Religion & Holidays, Religion and politics, U.S. Politics

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC