Sunday, October 2, 2011

Obama and the Jewish Vote

According to Stephen J. Wayne in his book The Road to the White house 2012, America's Jewish community have remained incredibly loyal to the Democratic Party ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt's liberal domestic programs and anti-Nazi foreign policies in the 1930s. As Richard Baehr, chief political correspondent for the American Thinker wrote in his article The Jewish Vote in 2008 and the Exit Polls on November 11, 2008, Barrack Obama gained 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008 while his opponent John McCain only received 21% of it. In the midst of Obama's uphill battle towards reelection, one would assume that Obama would not have to worry much about maintaining his Jewish support due to this community's history of voting democratic. Unfortunately for President Obama, this is far from being the case.

The Jewish community's increasing lack of faith and support for President Barrack Obama manifests in the upset that took place in New York's 9th District which is home to many Jewish inhabitants. Due to former Anthony Wiener's appalling and rather disturbing sexual escapades, a House seat was left open upon his dismissal from office. The race was between state Assemblyman David Weprin (D) and businessman Bob Turner (R). Turner went on to win the seat from the help of two very unlikely sources: President Obama and former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (D). As Rachel Weiner wrote in the Washington Post, Obama's claim that Israel should return to its pre-1967 voters back in May of this year played a detrimental role in the outcome of this election. The victorious Turner implemented and exploited this claim in his campaign while Weprin did his best to disassociate himself from it. Former New York City mayor and life-long Democrat Ed Koch endorsed Turner out of spite for Obama. He claimed "that a victory by the Republican would be the best way for Democrats to send a message to the President."

Aside from this event, there are several other signs that indicate that President Obama is losing the support that he once had from America's Jewish community as outlined in Dan Senor's article in the Wall Street Journal Why Is Obama Losing the Jewish  Vote?:

  • Only 22% of Jewish voters approved of President Obama's handling of Israel.
  • A poll taken by McLaughlin & Associates reveals that out of those of Jewish decent who donated to Obama's 2008 campaign, only 64% of them have already donated or plan to donate for his 2012 campaign.
  • Over the course of his Presidency, Obama has urged Israeli leaders to engage in "self-reflection."
  • Lack of criticism towards Palestinian terrorism.
In an attempt to repair what is left of Obama's support from the Jewish community, Vice President Biden traveled to Boca Raton, Florida, to meet with fifteen rabbis, and will host a Rich Hashanah party at his home for prominent Jewish leaders according to Helene Cooper's article in the New York Times. During this meeting, Vice President Biden who has built strong ties with numerous Israeli politicians, acknowledged the errors that the Obama administration has had in regards to America's relationship with Israel. Will this be enough to salvage a once strong support base for Obama? Only time will tell.


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