Why Jews vote for the Democrats

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Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby Noverde » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:07 am

I live in a small conservative town in Colorado and I am often asked why most Jews vote for the Democrats in nearly all elections. In the last presidential election, an exit poll indicated that over 75% of the Jewish vote was given to Obama. The reasons are complicated , but I will nevertheless give my opinion sprinkled with the facts.

Jewish presence in America can be traced to the Dutch settlement of New York, but a large migration of about 200,000 came from Germany in 1860. Then between 1882 and 1914 approximately 2 million Jewish immigrants, mostly destitute, came from eastern and central Europe and Russia. They were escaping vigorous religious persecution that began before the Crusades, lasted through the Inquisition and continued through 20th century pogroms. Their common goal was to escape tyranny and oppression and find better social conditions.

One can paint a romantic picture of the Jewish immigration from Guggenheim to Gershwin, but the average immigrant did not speak English and had limited vocational skills. For centuries, in much of Europe and Russia, Jews were forbidden to live in urban areas, prohibited from participating in municipal functions and were relegated to dealing only in used goods. With limited skills, those newcomers to large cities like New York found themselves in low-paying sweatshops primarily in the garment industry.

During this mass immigration to America, Jews in all walks of life experienced anti-Semitism and cultural clashes with their new countrymen. Still no other place on Earth provided the unbridled opportunity and lack of legal or other restrictions against immigrants.

In 1887, the Russians passed a law virtually prohibiting Jewish students from entering the state university system. This changed the profile of the average immigrant and groups of education hungry immigrants arrived, including many with radical social change on their minds. These new arrivals reacted to deplorable working conditions in their new environment and quickly clashed with the American establishment. Eventually Jewish Socialists created Jewish trade unions, especially in New York’s garment center. Chief among these was the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, founded in 1900, and later the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was organized. Both unions were amongst the first labor organizations in America that prohibited racial discrimination.

Shortly after the turn of the last century, Jewish politics in New York became mainstream with the Socialist Party successful in fielding several local candidates. At the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, many Jewish immigrants sympathized with the Communist-Socialist movement. After centuries of persecution in Russia, a system designed to be fair and equal to the proletariat held a lot appeal for Jews.

On a national scale socialism faired badly. The American Communist and Socialist Parties never received more than one percent of the vote. As a result, a number of Jewish intellectuals in 1936 joined the New Deal coalition under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, bringing their brand of social democratic politics into the political landscape.

Jewish socialist attitudes toward Jewish identity and culture are often misunderstood. Jewish religious teachings are rife with social equality, charity and sharing–albeit with other Jewish people. American Judaism tends to interpret these tenets as inclusive of all people regardless of religion, ethnicity or race. The liberalism that many American Jews exhibit to this day descends partly from a century-old Socialist legacy.

Jews from Europe and especially Russia came to America without false dreams about returning to their native countries. Assimilation was often difficult and a natural bond was fused with the Democratic Party that professed equality for minorities, the oppressed and the working class. During FDR’s presidency and for a time afterwards, the infamous “white-shoed” Republicans were strong proponents of prohibiting Jews from entering Ivy League universities, selected country clubs and Wall Street firms. The Republicans of that era were known to be anti-unionists.

Unique from many other immigrant groups, the Jewish American is an American first while at the same time they are also bound by a religious social consciousness that is part of their heritage. In this respect, many prominent Jewish-American personalities view Israel’s actions against the Palestinian Arabs as oppressive, unwarranted and heavy handed. Jewish Americans often encourage a soft political agenda, which may be construed as anti-Israel or anti-Zionist. Unfortunately, the current world political climate is aggressively anti-Israel and, paradoxically, some in the American Jewish community are supportive of this point of view. This does not lessen the huge amount of individuals and organizations, both Christian and Jewish that have unwavering support for the state of Israel.

We have all seen political parties morph and evolve and party actions don’t always coincide with their rhetoric. One or more issues may feature prominently in a party’s political platform, but that doesn’t mean the opposition party has the contrary point of view but prioritizes it less.

I rarely find myself at odds with my liberal Jewish friends about social issues. We disagree about the importance of social issues relative to America and Israel´s international security and domestic economic agendas. I believe in the paramount importance of firm international leadership and social transformation will follow naturally. A number of my friends believe political correctness and social tinkering will eventually lead to harmony and world peace.

My concern about Israel is best exemplified by a quote attributed to Benjamin Netanyahu, “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.”
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Why Jews vote for the Democrats

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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby thinkaboutit » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:41 pm

I am assuming that you are jewish based on your first sentence.

I rarely find myself at odds with my liberal Jewish friends about social issues. We disagree about the importance of social issues relative to America and Israel´s international security and domestic economic agendas.


If you have the time, please clarify this. Are you saying you are liberal or are you contrasting yourself from your liberal friends? If the latter, why would it be rare to find yourself at odds with them about social issues? If the former, in what way do you think the social issues affect security?

I think the same question could be asked and answered for why do Catholics vote for Democrats? I would put forth the thought that like a large percentage of modern Jews, they are nominal in relation to the religion and at the least, their political ideology has a higher importance than their religious belief.
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby rider237 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:57 pm

Jewish religious teachings are rife with social equality, charity and sharing–albeit with other Jewish people. American Judaism tends to interpret these tenets as inclusive of all people regardless of religion, ethnicity or race. The liberalism that many American Jews exhibit to this day descends partly from a century-old Socialist legacy.


I always thought this applied to Catholics as well. both Judaism and Catholicism are religion/government together. while both might be more closely aligned with conservatives on many moral issues, the total view of social welfare and top down rule is more closely aligned with liberal government.
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby Dave O'Connor » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:15 pm

As a Gentile, though I have strong feelings for Jews; though I wouldn't dare to pretend to have experienced what history has laced upon them. But, I do have framed and hanging on my wall:
"
George Washington

August, 1790

Gentlemen:

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy. "

Washington Letter to Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI.

http://www.tourosynagogue.org/
“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby Dave O'Connor » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:53 pm

"This being the case, Mr. McCain's long history of sympathy with Israel should have given him a distinct advantage over Mr. Obama, whose own history consisted of associating with outright enemies of the Jewish state like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the historian Rashid Khalidi."
You will find I focussed uupon the word should.
Why?
Because it's become irrelavent in the American sense of duty. Haven't you heard? We're not supposed to impose anything other than "Club Med" indulgences upon the American people - And, damned, if they want to be saddled by anything more complicated than their jacuzzis.
Oh, yes. And, admittedly a Gentile, I can still be embarrassed for elder American Jews who view their spawn as some peculiar specie void of traditinal virtue.
In colleges and other rote-lots, called 'higher-education" (higher than what?), tenure has defeated the Torah, the mass-mind has defeated the extinct Mass-goers.
Why fool ourselves, it's not just the traditional Jewish Vote that's lost in the Democrats morass. Think of Bridie, across town, who's up at 5AM; Mass at 6AM; Feeds her grandchildren at 7AM; Picks up her son at detox at 8AM so he can indulge in classes on his Pell-Spoffard grant; Then retrieves her daughter at the "Clinic" so they can both be ready to attend a luncheon for a gay candidate committed to Women's Choices. It all started with 6AM Mass and will probably end with a call for bail for her husband, a vet, who after being spit upon and josteled by Code Pink through a punch at a transwhat'sit. :violin:
No, it's not just Jews who might have known better. They've emerged from victimhood standing tall.
Look about those, "Beavers", "The Cleavers", "Joe and Jan Kahlleges" (neo-phonetic); who have no idea that for years before August 1946, Americans gave things up. Was it a myth? Is the Diaspora a myth? (Is there a current Diaspora that has up-rooted all of Western civilization prepping it for the seeding of secular weeds?) So, why do the Jews stand out in this case? Well, just be glad they do. And, it's not because they should. They just do.
(Oh, yes. And read Podhoretz, Horowitz and listen to Goldberg; learn what Charlie Jacobs is still doing. All in spite of sedition in the White House. :shhh: )
“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby michael5771 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:26 pm

Noverde's post of July 12, 2010 explains why a lot of Jews vote Democratic.
My grandmother was an ILGWU organizer and I worked with her on JFK's campaign among others when younger. Now that I am 62 years old and more observant
than I was when I was younger, I have moved more toward the middle and do not always vote for a Democrat.
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby Dave O'Connor » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:20 pm

I can muse back over my seventy years, and hear with near clarity, my father announcing from the head of the table; "You may be baprized a Catholic, but you've been born a Democrat." Well, that was a different time and place in our history.
And, it was probably less noble than the Biblical tradition of.."pursue justice"., a tenet magnificently practice by Jews in American history.
With all filial piety, I might consider the environment wherein I originally heard that as being political and mercenary.
It doesn't even come close to the commitment to Civil Rights issues in which American Jews, along with many other Americans, shared their blood.
So naturally, it's not easy for them to just walk away from those they shared so much. It's no easy thing to see one's commitments treated as 'has been' stuff.
That discipline to a political party is not the way George Washington's letter to the Community of the Touro Synagogue suggests.
(And that community was established long before I heard what my birth {and for that matter what my father's} dictated.)
Real life and experience leads me to be more openly conservative than the presumed vote owed to people who aren't earning it.
“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby michael5771 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:07 pm

G-d bless you Dave O'Connor. It is indeed the pursue justice part theta lead many of us to be active in civil rights and social justice causes, many times voting for
Democrats. The more observant a Jew is the less likely they are to vote liberal. I don't know why , but that is the way it seems to me.
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby Dave O'Connor » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:06 pm

Michael, thank you for your blessing to this rather pedestrian Gentile. We have so much to be concerned about.
In November, I attended the premier of "Unmasked" (a warning of growing Anti-Semitism) here in Boston.
Needless to say, it duly the tragedy of the Holocaust. But, as well, it noted the seeds of current threats.
I was struck by one rabbi's remark; "Faith is belief in the possible over the probable". And, yet, I realize how difficult we make it to maintain that faith.
A blessing wished to me, is cherished; greatly appreciated. I take it as an act of faith by you, and I embrace it; thus embracing you across the spectrum of rituals.
Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, constantly drove his small cluster of disciples to "go to the Scriptures".
And, so I thus try to do.
“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.” George Orwell
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby DunnElden » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:13 pm

Given their self-identification, it's unlikely that Jewish Americans will break from their Democratic ways. But a closer look at why Jews are Democratic should give Republicans further pause.
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Re: Why Jews vote for the Democrats

Unread postby charlie johnson » Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:14 am

I think more Jews are Democrats because more Democrats are liberals.Liberals revolted against "THE CHURCH" That was the basic left/right split in England and Europe that the politicians divided to the left benches >Anti Church< Right benches CHURCH.That movement came to the USA afterwards. So the Jews were opposed to the Christian church influence.(Which was mostly Catholic church)But Jews and Christians have had a long running division that goes all the way back to the time of Christ.Liberals are anti God and kin to the Marxist family.So the Jews decided to be apart from Christians and the trend continues.Except today ,Israel has chosen to be friendly with Christians in order to survive the onslaught of the Islamics.I am told that more Jews are atheist than believers today.So Marxist has an appeal because they believe that they are guided by science.You know.The folks who brought us the Atom bomb? But it all goes back to the nature of the human monster.If you have two humans on a planet you have conflict.Cain and Abel were Hebrews? If you read much news from Israel,You notice there are two brands of Jews.They often have conflicts. Then two political brands.They often have conflicts.The native Americans were split into many tribes when whitey arrived on the continent.Liberals are not found among farmers in numbers. The farmer knows that if you have ten chickens and thrown another one into the pen that they all get into a fight to reestablish the pecking order.You may notice the Islamics are doing just that around the world as we see on the news.Both sides are God fearing people.They use Communist weapons and never stop to consider that the atheist created their favorite device. The bottom line here? People are crazy.
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