Jews Won’t Benefit from Attention in the 2020 Election

October 24, 2019 | Joel Kotkin
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With both parties expecting a close race for the presidency, each is likely to compete for Jewish votes by arguing that the other represents the forces of anti-Semitism, argues Joel Kotkin:

The left has . . . produced the most anti-Semitic presence in Congress in recent history. . . . As we head into what will no doubt be a divisive, dirty, and likely outright disgusting political season, the Democrats’ increasingly anti-Israel orientation and insidious acceptance of anti-Semitic attitudes will provide what some Republicans consider a golden opportunity. President Trump’s low ratings among Jews actually offer his supporters some hope since he has a lot of room for growth.

Of course, no one expects Jews to start voting like evangelical Christians. [But] in a handful of critical “battleground” states with larger-than-average Jewish populations—notably Florida, Nevada, and Pennsylvania —a shift of 5 or 10 percent, or even Jews avoiding voting at all, toward Donald Trump could prove critical. Most important, of course, is Florida, which, with Jews making up 3 percent of its population, is the seventh-most-Jewish state in the union. . . . Trump is also counting on his firm support for Israel winning over some Jewish voters.

Like the Democrats, the right also has some nasty nominal allies. The recent shootings in Poway and Pittsburgh, although clearly the product of deranged loners, drew on racist, nativist memes widely disseminated on the fringes of the populist right. These incidents hardly constitute a repeat of Nazi Germany or even John Bircher Southern California but could be enough to keep Jews anchored to the Democrats.

What is needed now is for Jews, whatever their religious or political orientation, to realize that it does the community no good to be treated as a wedge issue. Rather than allow ourselves to be used by political operatives, we need to stand together as a community or, as Benjamin Franklin suggested during the Revolution, we could all “hang separately.”

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