web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Jews And The Democratic Treadmill


Media-Monitor-logo

Two weeks ago, in a column on Jewish voting patterns, the Monitor pointed to the 1984 election as evidence “that a Republican presidential candidate, whether incumbent or challenger and no matter how strong his record on Israel, will always lose among Jewish voters when the alternative is a liberal Democrat without any pronounced or well-known hostility to Israel.”
Several readers argued that the 1972 election illustrates even more starkly the Jewish proclivity for voting Democrat – and they’re probably right. At least the Democratic candidate in 1984 was a known and comfortable commodity to pro-Israel Jewish voters, which was decidedly not the case in 1972.
The Democratic nominee in ’72 was the extremely liberal South Dakota senator George McGovern, a man who had not exactly carved a name for himself as a defender of Israel and who exemplified the type of guilt-driven liberalism that captured the Democratic party that year (and would lead it to disaster in every presidential election save one over the next 16 years).
McGovern challenged Richard Nixon, who’d never been a popular figure in the Jewish community and who garnered just 17 percent of the Jewish vote in 1968 when he defeated then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey. But Nixon during his first four years in the White House compiled a generally solid record on Israel. U.S. policymakers began to take seriously Israel’s value as an American asset in the region, and military aid to Israel rose to unprecedented levels.
Israeli leaders left no doubt as to their preference. Prime Minister Golda Meir considered Nixon the most supportive U.S. president since Israel’s creation in 1948, and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, the former IDF chief of staff and future prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, openly hoped for a Nixon victory.
But though it was clear throughout the campaign that McGovern would not attain the stratospheric Jewish support Democrats had come to consider their birthright, it was equally clear that the bulk of the Jewish community would remain loyal to the Democratic standard bearer.
As in prior elections, Jewish organizational leaders such as the Washington fixture Hyman Bookbinder made no secret of their Democratic sympathies. The McGovern campaign’s Jewish liaison, Richard Cohen, returned after the election to his job as public relations director at the American Jewish Congress; McGovern campaign director Frank Mankiewicz was a former employee of the Anti-Defamation League.
Barbra Streisand, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Falk, Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Leonard Nimoy and scores of other Jewish celebrities enthusiastically gave their time and money to the Democratic candidate.
As Stephen Isaacs described it in his 1974 book Jews and American Politics, “despite problems with affirmative action plans-cum-quotas, the ‘urban fever zone,’ scatter site housing, community control of schools, an inept Democratic presidential campaign – despite all these things and more – the Jewish bloc vote did hold up” for McGovern, who won the votes of 65 percent of American Jews – this while Nixon was crushing McGovern among the general electorate in a landslide of historic proportions.
While Nixon doubled his share of the Jewish vote from the paltry 17 percent he received four years earlier, the startling fact remains that McGovern actually did better among Jews than had Adlai Stevenson – an old favorite of Jewish voters and an icon of mid-twentieth century liberalism – in 1952 and 1956.
Given Nixon’s record on Israel and the plaudits of Israeli leaders, his moderate domestic agenda, and an unimpressive Democratic nominee with no strong ties to the Jewish community, the 1972 election was as clear a signal as any that the majority of Jewish voters were (are) driven by a combination of old habits and a religious-like devotion to liberalism rather than a primary concern for Israel or narrowly defined Jewish interests.

A year later, as the Yom Kippur War raged, Nixon went against the State and Defense Department bureaucracies and directed the massive military airlift that saved Israel from impending catastrophe. Had two-thirds of American Jewish voters gotten their way, the man sitting in the Oval Office during Israel’s time of unprecedented peril would have been President George McGovern.

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Jews And The Democratic Treadmill”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
"Rolling Stoned", a smoke shop in Tel Aviv, sells smoking and vaporising paraphernalia for medical cannabis and tobacco.
MK and Police Discussing Making Marijuana Legal
Latest Indepth Stories
J-Street

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

Abbas and Obama

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Ronal Shoval Voting

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Front-Page-051515

Some of the president’s defenders took to arguing that the overwhelming majority of German military personnel interred in Bitburg were regular Wehrmacht soldiers who died on the battlefield and likely were not involved in atrocities against civilians.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both outspokenly critical of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Congress, were wowed by him in 2011.

Note also the response to the speech by the top Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both of whom have been outspoken in their criticism of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/jews-and-the-democratic-treadmill/2011/07/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: