Posted by Steven Windmueller
With approximately 100 days to the November elections, the intensity of the campaign has accelerated. One can identify four core elements: focusing on fund raising, escalating the political rhetoric, studying key voter trends, and creating new organizing initiatives.
If the recent polls are on target with reference to the Jewish vote, the roughly 14% of Jewish voters who are considered as “undecideds” will be the recipients of most of the attention by both political camps
(http://www.haaretz.com/news/u-s-elections-2012/countdown-to-2012-elections-new-jewish-vote-poll-shows-slight-gain-for-romney-1.433764). How and where will that energy play out?
Fund Raising: This past week, the Romney campaign reportedly raised some $1.5 million among Jewish supporters in Los Angeles, while the Republican Jewish Coalition launched its own fundraising effort to target Jewish voters in key swing states, including Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. In what they have labeled, “My Buyer’s Remorse” the RLC is seeking to sway disenchanted Obama voters into the Republican camp for 2012.
Political Rhetoric and Key Issues: The conversation around “who would be best in support of Israel” is playing out with the forthcoming visit to Jerusalem scheduled by Governor Romney. The debate over Israel security issues has created points of controversy and tension between Jewish leaders supporting both candidates, especially in Florida.
Key Voter Trends: A series of new voter polls has also created a conversation over voter “enthusiasm.” In a recent Gallup Poll, one finds thirty-nine percent of Democrats indicating that are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, but this number is down from 2004 (68%) and 2008 (61%). In turn, this study found that Republicans (51%) are more enthusiastic than in 2008 (35%) but register the same as they did in 2004 (51%). The key for both campaigns moving forward will be stroking their base, mobilizing their supporters, and targeting the remaining uncommitted.
Organizing Initiatives: Targeting key elites will be one strategy. The mobilization of prominent Jewish Democrats and Republicans and Hollywood personalities will allow each side to demonstrate the scope of endorsements that they have secured in an effort to sway non-committed voters and to re-enforce support from their base. Rabbis and other prominent Jewish communal leaders will be summoned to meetings with both candidates to hear “off-the-record” briefings and to garner their endorsement and/or support.
Mobilizing important constituencies will be the second focus. Each side will now launch a series of ads and outreach initiatives to “sell their message.” Be prepared to be bombarded as your mail boxes will be filled with campaign literature and appeals. Despite all of these specific steps, once past the conventions, the candidates will be concentrating on two core missions: secure financial resources and carry their message to the “toss-up” states. As Jews are seen as an important donor base for both parties and are present in several key swing states, including Florida and Ohio, they will be central players to the unfolding events that will follow in September and October.
11.8.12 at 12:03 pm | Jews no longer count in defining election. . .
10.23.12 at 12:14 pm | During last evening’s debate some 33 minutes. . .
9.17.12 at 8:07 pm | What will happen prior to November 6th?
8.28.12 at 12:12 am | Over the course of history, Jews would operate in. . .
8.10.12 at 10:43 am | Every voter has his/her own motivations and. . .
7.30.12 at 9:39 am | With approximately 100 days to the November. . .
7.30.12 at 9:39 am | With approximately 100 days to the November. . . (4)
6.27.12 at 10:26 pm | While the traditional "white majority" seems to. . . (3)
8.10.12 at 10:43 am | Every voter has his/her own motivations and. . . (3)
July 15, 2012 | 8:13 pm
Posted by Steven Windmueller
Jews have always encountered anti-Semitism. In this society, however, unlike many in which Jews have resided, one finds limited expressions of religious hatred or political attacks, yet such messages are still present. In surveying websites and political commentaries in preparation for this fall’s election, one can identify a number of traditional anti-Jewish themes interlocked with political rhetoric. Among the most common messages:
“Jewish influence and control” in its various forms and iterations over politics, finances, and media”
“Israel as having undo influence over America”
“Jews as possessing too much power”
During election cycles these types of conspiratorial ideas and distorted images are seemingly accentuated. Jews are often depicted by an array of labels and negative images, including “communists”, “disloyal”, and “parasites”. Some of these sites are generated by traditional anti-Semites and others sponsored by various extreme political elements. In addition, political cartoons and editorials within the Arab press play on these same canards on an on-going basis.
Actions taken by candidates or their political parties are interpreted through this lens of conspiracy. Governor Romney’s trip to Israel this summer and the President’s participation this past May with Jewish Heritage Month are seen as manifestations of “Jewish control”.
Some of these commentators of hate note that it will make little difference who will win in November, suggesting that Jewish influence is so imbedded within both parties and their campaigns that Jews will continue to dominate the political landscape.
Upon reflection, Jews account for less than 1.7% of this nation’s population, yet in the mindset of the anti-Semite Jewish influence must appear to be overwhelming.
July 1, 2012 | 1:34 pm
Posted by Steven Windmueller
“The Jewish Vote” Uncovering its Origin and Role
in Shaping American Bipartisan Politics in Support of Israel
Steven Windmueller, Ph.D.
Sonja Schoepf Wentling and Rafael Medoff in their recent book, Herbert Hoover and the Jews: the Origins of the “Jewish Vote” and Bipartisan Support for Israel, we gain some fascinating insights into the political history of Herbert Hoover and more significantly into the origins of the “Jewish vote”.
In a chapter entitled “Hoover and the Origins of the Jewish Vote,” Wentling and Medoff initially revisit Roosevelt’s reluctance to act on behalf of European Jewry covering the period of 1942-1945. In turn, they provide a fascinating account of Republican efforts in 1944 to embrace the case for a Jewish State in Palestine and in turn, seek to pull the Jewish vote away from the Democratic Party. “…for the first time in history, the Republicans and Democrats adopted planks pledging support for Jewish statehood and actively competed for Jewish electoral support on that basis.”
In this political analysis the reader is introduced to the humanitarian orientation of President Hoover and to the political environment covering a twenty-five year period, 1919-1944, in which this former President would play a high profile role. “Despite Hoover’s record on Jewish concerns, most mainstream Jewish leaders refrained from building ties to the former president or other prominent Republicans.”
For Hoover, who was born in West Branch, Iowa, his Quaker upbringing would frame his social and political values. Over the course of his public career he would hold to the view that America was unique among the nations, and with this historical status, came a special responsibility. American exceptionalism was also a perspective that he would share with his Jewish friends.
During his Presidency, and at other times throughout his political career, Hoover was outspoken in his support of Jewish claims to Palestine. As early as 1922, he called for developing in Palestine “an asylum for the less fortunate masses of the Jewish people and as a restoration of religious shrines.” During his tenure as President (1928-1932), Hoover would speak out in support of the Zionist cause, despite facing strong opposition from his own State Department. Of the course of his Presidency, Hoover would issue statements of support to both Jewish and Pro-Zionist Christian groups.
Toward the end of this book, the authors move away from Hoover and focus almost exclusively on the “Jewish vote” seeking to identify any possible shifting patterns over the years that would suggest a change in the historic support garnered by Democrats among the Jewish electorate.
At the same time the authors offer a far less sympathetic view of Franklin Roosevelt; commenting, for example, on Roosevelt’s involvement with the Evian Conference of 1938, they would write: “Roosevelt exhibited a kind of amateur geographer’s fascination with the idea of moving people around and creating new countries or societies.”
One might ask what is the ultimate goal of the writers: Is this book intended as an attack on the Democratic Party, and in particular, President Franklin Roosevelt for his failure to intercede on behalf of European Jewry, or is it a thoughtful historical study of the rise of Herbert Hoover and his impact on shaping and empowering the pro-Israel agenda?