Our occasional “What’s Your Jewish Perspective” feature turns its attention to the race for the White House. As always, the idea is for invited participants to finish off in any way they wish sentence fragments we’ve given them. The Jewish Press called on several prominent political pundits to respond. They were not required to complete every fragment.
Our participants, in alphabetical order, are:
Eric Alterman, “The Liberal Media” columnist for The Nation magazine and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington and the Nation Institute and the World Policy Institute in New York. He is also distinguished professor of English and journalism at Brooklyn College, and the bestselling author of ten books.
Jeff Jacoby, who was educated at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, George Washington University, and Boston University Law School. He has been an op-ed columnist for The Boston Globe since 1994.
Seth Lipsky, editor of The New York Sun.
John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary.
Jennifer Rubin, who writes the Washington Post’s Right Turn blog and has written for Commentary, The Weekly Standard, National Review, the New York Post, the Jerusalem Post, and other publications and appears regularly on NBC, CNN, and many syndicated radio shows.
* * * * *
In the presidential election, the Jewish vote…
Alterman: will go Democratic by a margin of 75-25.
Jacoby: will once again be taken for granted by the Democrats. Though the Democratic Party has become the political home of those who are the least friendly to Jews and the Jewish state, most American Jews still vote unhesitatingly for the Democratic ticket.
Lipsky: will be closely watched to gauge reaction to President Obama’s policy toward Israel and issues of religious freedom.
Podhoretz: will remain overwhelmingly Democratic.
Rubin: will once again go heavily Democratic. Eight years of overt hostility toward the Jewish state will not serve to have enlightened American Jewry about the Democratic Party. Alas, the vast majority of liberal Jews care more about global warming and abortion than a president’s position on Iran or views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
To draw support from Jewish voters, a candidate…
Alterman: should reaffirm the government’s responsibility to all its citizens, especially the least fortunate, and for all people of all faiths, regardless of what that faith may be.
Jacoby: in America is likeliest to succeed, unfortunately, by assuming that what they care most about are secular liberal pieties – abortion rights, same-sex marriage, a secular public square, and a powerful welfare state.
Lipsky: has had, at least heretofore, to run on the Democratic line. Increasingly, though, Republicans have emerged as more in sync with an Israel under the leadership of Likud. So it will be illuminating how this shakes out at the polls in 2016.
Podhoretz: will have to do nothing.
Rubin: must offer a critique of the Obama years, set out a new vision for the Middle East, and present a domestic agenda reflecting concern for middle and lower income Americans.
In this election, liberal and politically conservative Jewish voters…
Alterman: may be able to agree that the Republicans cannot be trusted to protect our freedoms and our country’s traditions of tolerance, based on the frightening success of both Trump’s and Cruz’s campaigns.
Jacoby: will continue to argue passionately among themselves, while being perceived by most non-Jews as simply “Jewish voters.”
Lipsky: will no doubt vote for different candidates – the liberals for the Democrats and the politically conservative Jewish voters for the Republicans. It’s hard to think of a candidate for either party who would change that outlook.
Podhoretz: will imagine their protestations matter, but they don’t.
Rubin: may be as despondent as the rest of Americans with regard to the crassness of our politics and vulgarity of our rhetoric.