After House Democrats, under pressure from their radical left wing, voted to remove Israel’s defensive Iron Dome funding from its budget, a Christian friend messaged me, saying, “Overwhelming Jewish support for the Democratic party is hard to comprehend.”
Before answering that question, I should note that the Jerusalem Post reported that, “The Iron Dome may ultimately receive the American funding it needs, after progressive pressure led Democratic Party leadership in the House of Representatives to remove it from a broader bill, and then vowed to propose the aid as its own bill within days. But that doesn’t mean that the drama surrounding it is over.”
Indeed, the Democrats decision should ring alarm bells in Jerusalem that more trouble with the “Squad” is on the way. Yet, Jewish support for the Democrats remains strong, with some exit polls giving Biden roughly 70 to 75 percent of the Jewish vote, a number that has held fairly steady since the late 1920s.
One reason that has often been given is that there is a prophetic ethic in Judaism that leans left, thus siding with the rights of those who are perceived to be oppressed. This would include racial minorities, women, gays, transgenders, and others.
While there appears to be some truth to this, the fact is that most American Jews are fairly secular, with limited familiarity with Judaism. Can this really explain such voting patterns? And why is it that, generally speaking, Jews in different parts of the world tend to lean centrist or right, quite the opposite of things here in the USA?
According to political scientist and professor Kenneth Wald, there is another anomaly when it comes to American Jewish voting. “As a group, even allowing for individual differences, American Jews rank at or near the top on most measures of social class — education, income, occupational prestige and such. That makes their commitment to the Democratic party and liberal values puzzling.”
There was a time when American Jews voted Republican in higher numbers but, once the Republican party became more closely aligned with evangelical Christians, Jews moved quickly to the Democrats. “Evangelicals, with their God talk, insistence on a Christian America…struck many American Jews as a fundamental danger….”
This also explains why, the more that Israeli leadership moves to the right, both politically and religiously, the less solidarity liberal American Jews feel with Israel, despite its importance to them.
A Pew Study cited in the Times of Israel, found that American Orthodox Jews had been moving rightward politically for years and that the number who identified as Republican had risen from 57% in 2013 to 75% today. In February of this year, a headline in the Religious News Service declared that: In voting, Orthodox Jews are Looking More Like Evangelicals.
As the story reported, “Among Orthodox Jewish Trump voters, Israel, Iran and terrorism were among the top concerns cited in a survey by Nishma Research, a Connecticut-based polling firm, showing that American Jews are more divided by ideology than they are united by faith.
In this light, it will be interesting to see what voting patterns emerge if traditional Jews continue to grow in number while liberal Jews continue to drop, resulting in a growing voting solidarity between Orthodox Jews and Christian conservatives.
Isn’t this why so many evangelical Christians are fans of Modern Orthodox voices like Ben Shapiro while men like Rabbi Daniel Lapin, himself Orthodox, spend most of their time speaking to Christian audiences? The plot thickens.
You can read Dr. Michael Brown’s article at Townhall in full at this link.