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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

RJC Applauding New Republican Jewish Voice in Congress

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks on Friday released a statement congratulating David Kustoff on his primary victory, defeating 12 opponents to capture the Republican primary for Tennessee’s 8th Congressional district Thursday night, making him the projected successor of Rep. Stephen Fincher in Congress.

“David Kustoff’s victory last night is wonderful news, as it means there will be another strong Jewish Republican voice in Congress, joining our friend, Congressman Lee Zeldin,” Brooks said. “Our country needs more lawmakers like David and Lee, who will fight to roll back President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s disastrous foreign policies and stand up for our principles.”

Meanwhile, in the Tennessee 9th Congressional District, which includes a large portion of Memphis and its immediate suburbs, Democratic incumbent Steve Cohen won the primary vote by a whopping 86%. Cohen is projected to win the November general election in the Democratic district versus Republican Wayne Alberson and independent Paul Cook.

JNi.Media

Can This Jewish Republican Outsider Change the Face of Missouri?

Monday, August 1st, 2016

{Originally posted to the Tower Magazine website}

“Unbelievable. It’s just unbelievable.” The word “unbelievable” keeps coming up. This time I hear it from Brett Dinkins, an earnest young Missouri native. Brett is the field director for Eric Greitens, a Jewish veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who is running for governor of Missouri. We are sitting in Brett’s car talking about his boss.

Rain lashes the windshield and Brett keeps looking at his phone to check the GPS. I keep thinking of questions to ask. This is partly because I am writing a story about Greitens, but it is also because pretty much everything Brett tells me — about his background, about Missouri politics, about the 300-person town he grew up in — is new. Paradoxically, the banality of Middle America has made it exotic. I grew up in San Francisco. I am used to crazy and different and foreign. But I feel completely out of place in Missouri.

When I met with Greitens earlier in the day, I asked him about his connection to Missouri. He was born and raised in St. Louis—of course he has the same connection we all do to our home state. But I wanted to know more. What was it about Missouri that made him want to serve it as governor? What does Missouri mean to him?

He told me that he loves Missouri, and it hurts him to see the way the state is suffering. He presented some statistics: Missouri ranks 42nd in wage growth, 47th in economic growth, 50th—last—in getting people off welfare….

I clarified the question: “What is it about Missouri that you love?”

“I love the people of Missouri,” he told me. “And not just because this is my home state but because this is a great state…We have incredible people in Missouri.”

This didn’t particularly help me better understand Missouri. It also didn’t particularly help me better understand Greitens. The man’s life story is incredible, to be sure. He has done humanitarian work in Bosnia and Rwanda with survivors of genocide, in Bolivia with street children, and in Mother Teresa’s hospices in India. He was a Navy SEAL. He was a Rhodes and Truman scholar, and received a Ph.D. from Oxford. He was a White House Fellow. He founded The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that empowers veterans by providing them opportunities to do volunteer work in their communities. He is a national boxing champion. And now he is running in the Republican primary for governor of Missouri.

I knew this all before meeting with Greitens. He seemed pretty perfect. But there had to be something wrong with him, some flaw, no matter how minor, right? I thought that in person he might reveal it. But when I did get a chance to speak with him, he was just as impressive as he was on paper. He was calm, confident without being arrogant, and meticulously prepared. His spokesman was present at our interview, but Greitens clearly did not need him. Midway through the interview, the spokesman was checking emails on his phone. Greitens had it covered. He knew that I’m double majoring in Classics and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and he knew that the title of that second major was “Slavic Languages and Literatures,” plural, not the singular “Slavic Languages and Literature” and certainly not “Slavic Studies” or “Slavic… something, right?” He was not close, he was exact.

We bonded over our shared love of Classics. He is a strong believer in the relevance of The Odyssey to modern-life. He views the story as, essentially, a metaphor for how a soldier copes with life after the war is over. He has recommended that veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, who believe that they are now no longer doing anything meaningful or important, should read it. He even recommends a particular translation (the Fagles one).

His most recent book, Resilience, consists of a series of letters he wrote back-and-forth with a veteran who had PTSD. In his letters, Greitens tries to impart some of the greatest wisdom of the ancient world to his friend in order to teach him how to be resilient, to bounce back from the difficulties and pain he has faced. Resilience name-drops everyone from Aeschylus, Homer, and Epictetus to John Bunyan, Machiavelli, and John Stuart Mill. It quotes Zen proverbs and the Talmud. Clearly, Greitens is incredibly well-read. But although he is quite the intellectual, numerous friends described him to me as being incredibly down-to-earth. “He can talk to a plumber in a town of 300 people” as easily as he can discuss classical philosophy, one told me.

Greitens and his wife Sheena have a 19-month-old son named Joshua and another child on the way. Sheena wasn’t doing interviews at the time I wrote this article, but I ran into her at his campaign headquarters and she welcomed me warmly. They make an attractive couple. Sheena is petite, with auburn hair worn long and straight. Greitens is fit (his mornings start out with an intense 75-minute workout) and about half a head taller than his wife, with close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, striking blue eyes, and straight, white teeth. He smiles often.

At the end of the interview, Greitens wanted to make sure I received copies of his four books. He signed each of them: “For Miriam, who lives with Courage!” “For Miriam, who lives with Strength + Compassion!” “For Miriam, who embraces Resilience!”

I asked him what his greatest personal struggle had been. Greitens has helped fellow veterans through PTSD and has seen his friends killed in combat. But his greatest personal struggle, he says, was the sleep deficit he racked up caring for his newborn son. His son provides him with “tremendous joy,” but there were a lot of sleepless nights.

How much of this is an act? Can Eric Greitens really be as great as he seems?

I pose this question to Brett in the car. “It’s unbelievable,” he says. “People are inclined to think he’s an impostor. But it’s all real. That’s just how he lives his life. It’s not a front or anything.”

Brett has graciously agreed to drive me to a Lincoln Day banquet in Franklin County, about an hour west of St. Louis, where Greitens will be speaking. A Who’s Who of Franklin County Republicans—activists, fundraisers, and donors—will be in attendance. In addition to Greitens, several other people running for public office will be speaking: his three competitors for the Republican nomination for governor, the Franklin County Republican Central Committee chair, the sheriff, a Missouri GOP National Committee member, and a pastor. There is a silent auction and two raffles. The prizes in both raffles are guns.

In the California where I live, my outfit passes as pretty nice: jeans, blouse, boots. But everyone else at the Lincoln Day event is dressed in business wear. They are also probably old enough to receive Social Security benefits, and rich enough not to need them. I am 23. When I tell people I am a journalist working for a “DC-based magazine,” I do not receive a warm reception.

I am asked, “How did you find yourself stuck in Franklin County?”

“I have no idea,” I say.

There are animal heads mounted on the walls. The master of ceremonies keeps complaining about transgender people using the bathrooms of their preferred gender, which he calls a “subversion of our traditional values” that are “being eroded by the Democrats in Jefferson City,” the state capital. I glance around the room and count two non-white people. Catherine Hanaway, Greitens’ main competitor for the gubernatorial nomination, describes how she instituted a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortions, to raucous applause. Before we eat dinner, a Missouri GOP National Committee member leads us in prayer. Almost everyone bows their head and closes their eyes as she thanks “Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior” for the meal.

There is a palpable desperation here to preserve the status quo, or at least prevent the country from sliding further into what they see as decadence and decay. There is no hopeful vision for the future. The message is that you should vote for the Republican nominee for president not because you like the nominee or even the Republican platform, but because Obama was so awful and we cannot afford Hillary or, God forbid, a socialist. “Whoever we nominate is going to be a better president than Barack Obama,” we are told, and we understand this as a quiet exhortation to vote for Donald Trump even if we dislike him, lest we get another Obama. You will not be voting for someone, but rather against the Democrats.

Eric Greitens is not establishment. He has never held any kind of political office, and, seizing on the same anti-establishment current that has made Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders the darling of so many frustrated and fed-up voters, has branded himself a “conservative outsider.” I asked him about this anti-establishment zeitgeist that seems to be sweeping America. That feeling exists in Missouri as well, he said. Missourians “recognize that government is broken…at every level, not just in Washington, D.C., but here in Jefferson City.”

According to Greitens, people are frustrated:

They think that they’ve got a group of career politicians in Jefferson City who because of their cowardice and self-interest keep shrinking from facing the hard problems all around us. And what people are looking for, the reason I think there’s so much of a desire for outsiders, is that people want real leaders who can get real results….And I think that’s one of the reasons why people are so excited about this campaign, that that’s what we’re doing, we’re coming in as proven leaders to engage in service to really help to turn this state around and to build a Missouri that we can all be proud to pass on to our kids.”

Greitens has shown himself to be a leader through his work as a Navy SEAL officer and as CEO of The Mission Continues. In his book, The Heart and the Fist, he tells of one time his leadership skills were really tested. He was on tour in Thailand as commander of a Naval Special Warfare squadron, when he got information that some of the men under his command had been using illegal drugs. He ended up requiring all his men to undergo urinalysis tests; ultimately, some were kicked out of the Navy, and one went to jail. Greitens had worked with these men for over a year. He writes about how he knew their families, how he had traded jokes with them and helped them plan their careers and educations. But it had to be done. “Whether or not it was hard was not relevant,” he wrote. “It was necessary. No matter how many people we might upset, no matter how many supposed friends we might lose, our duty was to protect our men, the men who were doing the right thing.”

After the prayer concludes, the other Lincoln Day attendees and I line up for food.

A number of the candidates are standing at the front of the line like animals about to pounce on their prey. I shake hands with the Republican candidate for State Auditor, smiling politely and thinking about how we are both wasting each other’s time. I already seem out of place. If people knew I was not a Missouri voter, I am certain no one would speak with me. But they do not know, and so Catherine Hanaway, who is standing there at the front of the buffet line, introduces herself to me and asks me what I do.

I tell her I am a journalist, and I’m here covering the governor’s race.

“Do you have any particular angle?” she asks.

“Well, I’m actually writing a profile of Eric,” I reply.

Her mood immediately changes. She no longer fakes kindness, but turns aggressive, like a mother bear who feels threatened.

“Why would you just cover one candidate?” she says, icily.

I explain that my editors were particularly interested in Greitens’ story. Sensing she is not likely to change their minds, she tries a different tack.

“Are you going to put the thing about this donor in your piece?”

“The thing about this donor” refers to Michael Goguen, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who is currently the defendant in a civil suit alleging that he raped a woman multiple times over the course of their 13-year relationship, which she described as being a “sexual slave.” Goguen has filed a countersuit alleging that the claims are false and that the woman is extorting him. Goguen donated $1 million to Greitens’ campaign.

Hanaway wants Greitens to give the money back – a super PAC supporting John Kasich donated Goguen’s $250,000 of contributions to anti-human trafficking charities. Hanaway says that Greitens’ refusal to do so shows that he lacks ethics. Greitens’s campaign, on the other hand, maintains that the case is not settled and that Greitens does not want to presume guilt. I suspect that—on both sides—this is less about ethical values and more about the money. Quite simply, Hanaway doesn’t want Greitens to have it. Greitens wants to have it. His refusal to return money donated by someone who may or may not be guilty of a crime, he seems to believe, does not reflect on his ability to govern a state.

I discuss the scenario with Brett in the car on the way back to St. Louis. He thinks the Hanaway campaign is grasping at straws in an effort to take Greitens down. The Republican field for governor is crowded, but Greitens and Hanaway have emerged as the two frontrunners. There aren’t any poll results yet, but everyone talks about Hanaway as a solid pick, and Greitens is eminently qualified. Several people at the Lincoln Day event tell me they have narrowed their decision down to the two candidates. Hanaway and Greitens are the most articulate of the four who speak, and receive the most applause. Brett says Greitens lacks name recognition, but doesn’t seem particularly worried about it: Greitens will gain name recognition as campaigning ramps up in advance of the primary elections in August. And the Hanaway camp’s focus on attacking Greitens indicates that they see him as their main threat.

The last person the Hanaway camp saw as their main threat was Tom Schweich, and he is now dead. Schweich was the State Auditor until he committed suicide a little over a year ago. He was running in the same primary race as Hanaway, and some have pointed to the brutal tactics used by Hanaway’s campaign as, at least in part, responsible for Schweich’s death. About a week before the tragic incident, a mysterious PAC with ties to Hanaway called Citizens for Fairness ran a nasty radio ad poking fun at Schweich’s physical appearance, calling him a “little bug” whose political opponents would “squash” him. The ad was paid for by a Hanaway consultant named Jeff Roe. They both maintain that Hanaway didn’t know about the ad until after it aired. Roe is now Ted Cruz’s campaign manager.

But there was a long lead-up to the ad, during which Schweich was subjected to anti-Semitism. Minutes before his death, Schweich called the Associated Press to tell them that a political consultant named John Hancock, whose firm had done work for Hanaway’s campaign, was spreading rumors among donors and the political elite that Schweich was Jewish—even though he was actually Episcopalian. The accusation was later supported by a signed affidavit from a leading Missouri Republican donor. Hanaway has denied any involvement in the smear campaign. Hancock admitted that in a statement that “It is possible that I mentioned what I believed to be Tom Schweich’s religion, but if I did so, it certainly was not in a derogatory manner.” Hancock is now the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.

If seeing friends killed in combat did not drive Eric Greitens over the edge, false rumors probably won’t. But what happened to Tom Schweich demonstrates that anti-Semitism is a powerful force in the state. This could hurt Greitens’ campaign.

“I’m sure there are people,” Brett tells me, “who are still trying to say that about Eric behind his back just like they did against Tom, ‘You know he’s Jewish, right, you know he’s this?’” Brett thinks Greitens’ Judaism could hurt him in his pursuit of the nomination.

Other candidates have played on this. In January, Hanaway ran a radio ad highlighting her Christian faith. John Brunner, also running against Greitens, followed suit. Then another competitor, Peter Kinder, did so. Greitens cannot run an ad expressing his Christian faith, and if he ran one expressing his Jewish faith, it might have a negative impact on his campaign.

It is not the “New Anti-Semitism” that hurt Tom Schweich and it is not the “New Anti-Semitism” that could hurt Eric Greitens. We are not talking about the kind of anti-Semitism currently in vogue on college campuses and certain strains of the political Left that disguises its hatred of Jews behind hatred of the Jewish state. After all, more than 85 percent of Missouri Republicans say they support Israel. But in pockets of Missouri, good old-fashioned anti-Semitism still exists, the kind that says Jews can’t fully be trusted.

“If you ask every Missouri Republican whether they were pro-Israel, they would all say yes,” Brett says. “But if you asked them if they were okay voting for a Jewish guy, like for governor, I don’t know. I don’t know what the results would be. But it probably wouldn’t be 100 percent saying yes like it would be 100 percent saying yes to Israel.”

Greitens is aware of this, though he seems reluctant to admit it. “I have not experienced anti-Semitism,” he told me in our interview. “When I talk with…my evangelical friends all over the state, I tell them about my love for Israel. [This makes them] very excited about my candidacy.” He went on to tell me how these evangelical friends have embraced him and his faith:

They appreciate that we are all defenders of Israel together. They also, I think, appreciate my commitment to taking my faith and turning it to action, whether that’s service in the SEAL team, service at The Mission Continues, or service in humanitarian work.

But what of people in Missouri who are not evangelical, or are not his friends? He did not bring up these people’s attitudes toward Jews. “While Tom Schweich believed he was the victim of an anti-Semitic whispering campaign, I would say from my perspective I have not experienced this, and Missouri has been not just welcoming to me, but effusively embraced me,” he said.

Nevertheless, Greitens seems rather reluctant to publicize his Judaism. “Judaism is very important to me,” he says. I believe him, but he is not exactly shouting it from the rooftops.

“It’s not like Eric hides his Judaism,” Brett says one too many times for me to quite believe him. But I don’t fault Greitens. He’s playing the game. In Brett’s words, “It’s really really unfortunate.”

Greitens’ speech at Lincoln Day does not mention his Judaism. But it is also very different from Hanaway’s speech. Rather than focus on social issues—shutting down Planned Parenthood, forcing transgender people to use certain bathrooms—he talks about his history and how it qualifies him to lead Missouri.

“Our law enforcement officers deserve to have a leader who knows what it means to put on body armor and wear a sidearm,” he says, referring to what he sees as Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s failure to adequately support law enforcement during the violent protests in Ferguson. “They deserve to have a leader who knows what it means to say goodbye to your family and step into the dark and do dangerous things.” He is that leader, he tells the crowd: “As your governor, I will always have the back of those men and women who are always on call for us.”

Greitens goes on to discuss Missouri’s struggle to provide adequate education for its children and adequate care for its veterans, as well as the dire state of its economy and how he intends to reform it. But mostly, he presents the neatly-packaged Greitens I have seen before. In an energizing, engaging way, he talks about how he is a former Navy SEAL who served our country in “four deployments in the global War on Terrorism to Afghanistan, southeast Asia, the Horn of Africa, and to Iraq.” He is the founder of a non-profit that helps veterans, and he is dedicated to leading and serving and helping.

Meanwhile, I am still trying to find the flaw in the perfect veneer. When he repeats, nearly verbatim, a cute story about his son that he told me earlier in the day, I think I might have found it. But I soon realize I haven’t. Politicians have certain talking points and they repeat them. That’s to be expected. It doesn’t really say anything about who Greitens is as a person.

Others think they have found Greitens’ flaw, however, and it’s not about his character but his ideology. Some people consider him a RINO, a “Republican in Name Only.”

And they have some reason to think so. Until a few years ago, Greitens was a registered Democrat. In 2010, he met with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which wanted him to run for Congress. He declined. As recently as 2013, he endorsed the Democratic mayor of St. Louis. But in July 2015—about two and a half months before he declared his intention to seek the Republican nomination for governor—he published an op-ed on Fox News’s website entitled “Former Navy SEAL: Why I am no longer a Democrat.” In it, he explained that he was raised as a Democrat, but had come to realize that he “no longer believed in [Democratic] ideas.” The Democrats’ desire to “stand up for the little guy” is a nice idea, Greitens wrote, but Democratic policies don’t actually help the little guy.

This has not convinced some hardline conservatives. Eric Farris, who hosts a talk-radio show in Missouri, devoted almost 45 minutes on one of his shows to discussing whether Greitens could actually be trusted. He mentioned that Greitens attended Obama’s inauguration and, even more suspiciously, managed a nonprofit. But he was particularly leery of the fact that Greitens has registered domain names indicating he has thought about someday running for the Senate or even president. According to Farris, this makes Greitens a “career politician” leeching off taxpayers’ money—even though Greitens has never held or run for any political office before.

During his segment, Farris mentioned a website set up by yet another mysterious PAC that takes issue with Greitens’ credibility as a conservative. “Eric Greitens is not a Conservative,” reads the website. “NOT a Conservative. Not Then. Not Now. Not Ever.” A former staffer for John Brunner—another Republican running against Greitens—was reportedly involved in the website.

Brunner denied involvement, but Greitens had some reason to doubt this. He called Brunner on the phone and, according to the Brunner campaign, the call was overly aggressive. When Greitens called a second time, Brunner secretly recorded the call and released it to the media. It is not pretty.

Tim Wise, a friend of Greitens’ who worked with The Mission Continues and now owns his own company, told me he had never seen Greitens get really irritated or agitated. “He can always turns a negative into a positive,” Wise said, and he “doesn’t get flustered.” But on the recorded call, Greitens is irritated, agitated, and flustered in the extreme. He shouts over Brunner almost the entire time, and at one point yells, “Oh my God, you are such a weasel!”

Everyone I spoke to about Greitens said they had never seen him get angry or even have a bad day. Perhaps he only very rarely gets angry, and was unlucky enough to be recorded by a political rival on the one day it happened.

I don’t think one instance of getting exceedingly irritated should disqualify Greitens from any kind of office. Politics is tough, and none of us is perfect. Perhaps this is one of Greitens’ flaws, the only one I was able to uncover: He gets angry sometimes.

But he is also brilliant and dedicated and confident. He has served his country bravely and proudly, and has changed hundreds of lives for the better through his charity work. And he has chosen a difficult path that allows him to help others instead of an easier path that would have helped him alone.

It easy to understand why Brett says, “Democrats, Republicans, everyone loves him,” and why an old lady at the Lincoln Day celebration said she “liked him the first time I met him” and another “fell in love with him from [his] books, [because] he’s a person that’s really served this country, that’s helped Americans and people all over the world.” Yes, Eric Greitens has paid for the domain GreitensforPresident. Yes, he is ambitious. And yes, he wants to help people. If Missouri lets him, who knows where he will go from here.

Eric Greitens appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, November 26, 2015. Photo: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / YouTube

Eric Greitens appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, November 26, 2015. Photo: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / YouTube

{Author Miriam Pollock is a Stanford University senior majoring in Classics. She is a staff writer for The Stanford Review, a biweekly political newspaper}

Tower Magazine

Praying at the RNC

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Marc Supplesa caught this cool picture.

Photo of the Day

Republican Jews Post Killer Anti-Hillary Ads [video]

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday launched an online campaign focusing on Prof. Cornel West, Congressman Keith Ellison, and pollster and Arab American leader James Zogby as the “face of the new Democratic party.” The first video, depicting a West vehement anti-Netanyahu speech, associates him with Hillary Clinton. It’s unfair, but effective. All three individuals, who are, indeed, members of the Democratic platform committee, represent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and it is expected that their anti-Israel views would be quashed by the majority of platform committee members picked by Clinton and by DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Nevertheless, an unfair blow is a blow, and this one is delivered expertly.

“Radical Democrat. Stridently anti-Israel. Hand selected to be a member of the twenty sixteen Democrat Platform Committee,” goes the voice over in the three separate ads, each dedicated to one of Sanders’ three anti-Israel picks.

All three ads conclude with an unflattering portrait of Hillary Clinton and the slogan, “Sadly this isn’t the old Democratic Party. It’s today’s Democratic Party.”

The three ads are a masterpiece in terms of ideas and execution. They are visually rich, poignant, and real, in terms of the three anti-Israeli gentlemen they attack. The ads will run only online, which should be a relief for the Clinton campaign, because these ads kill.


According to Jacob Kornbluh, reporting for the Jewish Insider, there have already been strong disagreements between the three Bernie men and the rest of the platform committee. When representatives of the committee met in Washington, DC, this month for a public hearing, West said: “For too long the Democratic Party has been beholden to AIPAC.” He also suggested that “for so long the US has been so biased toward Israeli security.” These are third-rail kind of words, guaranteed to drive away Jewish voters and donors alike, should they ever see the light of day. West, who, unfortunately, has a great sense of humor, also asked how the Democratic Party would have responded if there were “a Palestinian occupation of our precious Jewish brothers and sisters.”


Zogby in his turn insisted that the word “occupation” be included in the platform, because, let’s face it, “it has been recognized by every US administration that there is an occupation. Would you not feel that it is more important to include the word ‘occupation’ which our president, this current president has mentioned and every previous president has mentioned, as a way simply of clarifying that to get to two states an occupation has to end?”

Yes, especially if you’re hoping for one Donald J. Trump to take the Oval office come January.


The National Jewish Democratic Council accused the RJC ads of attacking “the only consistently pro-Israel nominee in this race.” The NJDC also predicted that “this is going to be a tough year for RJC – all while more and more of their people are standing with Israel and strengthening the US-Israel relationship by abandoning Trump.”

Perhaps. It’s possible that many Jewish voters who are traditionally inclined to vote Democrat know the difference between Sanders’ and Clinton’s proxies on the platform committee, and since there is no way in the world any of the West-Zogby-Ellison claptrap will ever make it into the Democratic platform, the damage from the ads would likely be minimal.

But they are killer ads nonetheless.

David Israel

Trump the Republican Nominee with 1,237 Delegates

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Donald Trump now has the number of delegates needed to become the GOP presidential nominee, according to AP. Trump reached the magic number, 1,237 delegates, after a group of uncommitted party delegates had told AP they now support Trump. The official chart on Thursday put Trump’s delegate count at 1,238, with 335 delegates still left unpicked.

The delegates who pledged their loyalty to Trump included Oklahoma Republican Party Chairwoman Pam Pollard. She told AP that Trump “has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is.” (Although a short review of the world’s map revealed that our country is still where it’s always been, smack between Canada and Mexico).

Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House was another delegate who turned to Trump, explaining that “leadership is leadership.” (It really is).

Pennsylvania delegate Cameron Linton told AP that Trump had won his state’s primary, and so he plans to support him, but only on the first ballot at the Convention in July, and not on a second ballot, because “he’s ridiculous. There’s no other way to say it.” (There won’t be a second ballot, by the way).

The Thursday Rasmussen Reports National Election poll show Trump and the presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton still neck and neck, giving Clinton 40% to Trump’s 39%. But a Tuesday NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which showed Clinton leading Trump 46% to 43%, also showed that close to 60% said they disliked Clinton, and 63% said they disliked Trump. Only 40% said they admired or liked Clinton, and only 36% felt the same way about Trump.

David Israel

Las Vegas Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Pledges $100M for Trump Presidential Campaign

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson has reportedly pledged $100 million, and possibly more, to help finance GOP candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

The news was reported in the Friday’s edition (May 13) of the New York Times.

The two men met last week to discuss the issue, according to two nameless Republican sources quoted by NYT who said they were not authorized to speak about the matter publicly.

Adelson, 82, and his wife Miriam met with Trump and his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski at the St. Regis Hotel in midtown Manhattan, while the couple were in town for a gala dinner to benefit a Jewish organization.

During their chat, Trump reportedly told the Adelsons he is dedicated to protecting Israel’s security.

The billionaire has financed Republican causes over the years to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars – but this year he plans to scale back contributions to Congressional campaigns to focus on helping Trump, according to the report.

There is, however, the thorny problem of logistics: there is a limit on how much money a single individual can give to political campaigns in the United States. In order to give really “big” money, one requires a “super PAC” — super political action committee.

On Thursday, one such group announced it would aim to raise $20 million for Trump. The Committee for American Sovereignty was formed by Doug Watts, a former aide to Ben Carson’s campaign. Watts now serves as the executive director of the group, which he said “will not accept special interest PAC contributions.”

However, up to this week Trump had not yet decided whether he will allow PACs to help finance his campaign. Last October he disavowed nine unauthorized groups and demanded they return all funds they had raised to support his campaign. It seems that now, however, he has come to the realization that for a general campaign there is no way he can gather the needed $1.5 billion through individual contributions alone. Several of the bigger powerhouse Republican superPACs are quietly gearing up to begin the job of rounding up their major givers — something that Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton  had already gotten busy with months ago — and have hired top-flight fundraisers and campaign managers to crank up the party machine.

Meanwhile, Adelson explained his reasons for throwing his support behind his fellow business mogul in an op-ed he wrote that was published in Friday’s Washington Post: “He is a candidate with actual CEO experience, shaped and molded by the commitment and risk of his own money rather than the public’s.

“I am endorsing Trump’s bid for president and strongly encourage my fellow Republicans – especially our Republican elected officials, party loyalists and operatives, and those who provide important financial backing – to do the same,” Adelson wrote.

Hana Levi Julian

Cruz Does His Best to Woo GOP Jews in Las Vegas

Monday, April 11th, 2016

GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz had the audience all to himself Saturday, and he took the opportunity to warn Jewish Republicans about the dangers of voting for Donald Trump.

He told his audience that such a vote would be an “absolute disaster” for the GOP, “for conservatives and for the country.”

There were about 500 people at the weekend gathering in Las Vegas of the Republican Jewish Coalition, most of whom were still pretty neutral. The “can’t miss” Republican event is held at the hotel resort of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the top political spender in the last political race.

“All three candidates were invited to attend our group today, but Sen. Cruz was the only one to accept our invitation,” said RJC board member Michael Epstein as the crowd applauded.

Trump and Kasich were both in New York, gearing up for the April 19 primary election.

“Many are scared by the concept of Donald Trump and the presidency,” Republican Jewish attorney Charlie Spies, a former supporter of Jeb Bush, told the Daily Mail. “No American politician should be compared to Hitler because of the unique, horrific nature of the Nazi genocide. Having said that, there is an issue of tone and being able to whip up crowds, often directed at segments of society that get scapegoated. Anybody who has studied history would be concerned watching that.”

Of the three Republican candidates who remain, Ohio Governor John Kasich is the overwhelming favorite among registered Jewish voters, according to a poll commissioned by the Republican Jewish Coalition and shared privately this weekend with board members. Cruz falls in the middle.

The Texas senator won the recent primary in Wisconsin and in Colorado on Saturday, and is working now to consolidate those Republican donors who are most opposed to a Trump candidacy. Cruz will still have to work hard to transform those donors from anti-Trump to pro-Cruz voters; he still has to neutralize a threat from Kasich, whose presence could split a vote and destroy Cruz’s chance to overcome Trump’s lead, if nothing more.

In New York he may have a better chance to make a dent in Trump’s popularity edge that one might realize.

“Cruz has been reaching out to that community for a long time,” Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center told CNN this weekend.

Cruz appeals to the strictly observant Jewish community, Diament said, in part due to his Senatorial record of support for Israel, his school choice advocacy and his relentless insistence on the need to defend religious liberty protections on the campaign trail.

“Orthodox Jewry is a sort of values-based community and Cruz certainly presents himself like a values-based person … And he uses language that resonates with people of faith, so there’s a connection there,” Diament said. A more important point — unlike Trump, Cruz also has a real track record to refer to, he noted.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/cruz-does-his-best-to-woo-gop-jews-in-las-vegas/2016/04/11/

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