Gershom Gorenberg explains in one minute why most Jews will support President Obama

“They can put Hatikvah in the Republican platform,” but GOP positions on gay marriage, immigration, women’s issues, etc. are hardly calculated to assuage Jewish fears regarding Republicans’ basic stance towards people different from themselves.

Gershom nails things from several thousand miles away:

“Jews are a religious and ethnic minority in the United States. Their greatest, deepest most basic interest is in a pluralistic America, and in the acceptance of difference….Are you willing to accept people who are different from you?”

“They can put Hatikvah in the Republican platform,” but GOP positions on gay marriage, immigration, women’s issues, etc. are hardly calculated to assuage Jewish fears on this basic point.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

14 thoughts on “Gershom Gorenberg explains in one minute why most Jews will support President Obama”

  1. Truly, it is a mystery why a religous minority doesn’t support a party whose leading spokespeople think the members of the minority are all going to hell.

    1. Not to mention that no small part of the Republican affection for Israel has to do with the notion that by establishing a Jewish state in Israel they can bring about an apocalyptic war in the region that will wipe out all the Jews that don’t convert to Christianity. Thus, they are happy to support Israel with weapons and even with money, but not to support an Israel that would seek peace with its neighbors.

      1. To be fair, I think that another large part of the Republican affection for the extreme Israeli right is that many Republicans really hate Muslims.

  2. Most Jews will support President Obama out of an irrational fear of Christian anti-semitism that is the misplaced result of the very real, intermittently murderous, Jew-hatred of centuries past.

    Party loyalty is sticky. American Jews will be a majority Republican constituency within 25 years.

    1. Oy, gevalt!

      More likely, there will not be a Republican Party in 25 years. At least not the one we are seeing setting itself up to lose big time in 2012.

      And, fear of anti-semitism is irrational and misplaced? Been a while since you looked at a history book, gevalt?

      By the way, gevalt may be translated from Yiddish as “goodness.” And, oy gevalt may be translated as “Oh, my goodness” or perhaps as “Holy Molley!” or “You’re giving me a headache!”

    2. Centuries past eh?
      So the big worry here is what happened as a result of the black death, in the 1340s; not something that might have happened in, oh, I don’t know, the 1940s?

      1. You don’t have to go that far back. Just recently, the new Hungarian Christian constitution allowed the government to decertify the majority of Hungary’s churches, including most Jewish congregations.

        It is worth noting that the Christian direction that the constitution has taken has met with strong approval by quite a few Republicans.

    3. “American Jews will be a majority Republican constituency within 25 years.”

      Haven’t Republicans been saying this for at least the last 40 years (ever since Nixon came close to getting a majority of Jewish votes against McGovern)?

      1. Considering the many thoughtful responses to my original comment, I would like to change my prediction. I guess I think that Jewish voting patterns will become indistinguishable from those of the broader American population. cf., this.

    4. We can get an approximate sense of how sticky party loyalty is by seeing how long it took Southern racists to leave the Democratic party for the GOP after the Democrats started promoting civil rights. By those standards, the supposed anti-Semitic incidents that are keeping American Jews in the Democratic fold would have to date from, oh, the 1980s.

      Myself, I’m a Democrat because I was raised to believe in social justice, and because I’d rather live in a country where my kids can attend public school without having too much Christianity shoved down their throats. My guess is that that’s pretty typical of Jewish voters. The first part might be pretty malleable, but the second part is probably fairly unshakeable, and H is right; the GOP as it exists is going to disappear before most Jews support it based on that issue.

  3. When Gov. Romney said that Pres. Obama had thrown Israel under the bus, he was probably talking to Christian Zionists and not to American Jews. The former is a major constituency for his party, one that he has to keep inside the tent. I do not think he was aiming his remarks at the listeners that Gershom Gorenberg is talking about.

    It is also telling that no one dares to point out that Sheldon Adelson hates Barack Obama because the President believes that he is the commander in chief of the armed forces, and also believes that the President of the United States does not take orders from the Prime Minister of Israel. It would be interesting to hear those exact words in a presidential debate; the Romney response would be entertaining, but an outraged Netanyahu could create problems that would haunt an Obama second term. I have a feeling that Obama could lock up the election on the spot, but my feelings are so often wrong that I have no trust in them.

    1. I think he’s still pitching a spitball towards the aging Jewish demographic in Florida – a state without which Mittens cannot possibly win. In the hope that there are enough of these who are receptive to anti-Obama lies and to the dog whistle of “secret Jihadist Mooslim President out to destroy Israel”, and who have not already switched to the GOP camp in 2008 – or to prevent some of those who did switch, to return to the Democrats for fear of Ryan’s Medicare axe.

      By contrast, Christian Zionists are not a swing constituency. And those of them motivated to electoral activism based on Israel Armageddon fantasies, are already on the bandwagon regardless.

      So Mittens added this foul sentence to the “speech of his life”, literally targeting maybe a few tens of thousands of aging Jewish voters in Florida.

  4. The Democrats have a lock on the majority of Jewish votes, as long as the Jews remember that “we were slaves in Egypt.” They don’t have a lock on the majority of Jewish dollars.

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