The real reason American Jews won’t be voting for Trump


trump

The Republican nominee’s race-based nationalism, his anti-Semitic innuendos, his position on Israel and his attacks on Muslims and immigrants are all deeply offensive. But that’s not what’s panicking most U.S. Jews.

It is distinctly dispiriting, in my view, to watch our national political life become a giant reality show. For that reason, I am relieved that the Republican National Convention is finally over. It subjected us to an even larger dose of what we have been experiencing since Donald J. Trump entered the presidential race. Many things happened at the convention, but a sober consideration of the issues was not among them. 
 
Still, I am reasonably confident, although not certain, that Trump will lose the election in November. What is certain, however, is that, win or lose, Trump will not be getting the votes of American Jews this fall.  

Many Jews will vote for Hillary Clinton because they, like me, see her as tough, experienced, and highly qualified to be President, not to mention a friend of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. But even those who don’t much like Hillary or have been voting Republican for years will be supporting Mrs. Clinton in overwhelming numbers.  

As Jennifer Rubin reports in the Washington Post, board members of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who are the Republican Party’s most loyal Jewish backers, are mostly refusing to give Trump money. And although Ms. Rubin is an aggressively conservative voice, she predicts with dismay that Hillary Clinton could receive 90 percent of the Jewish vote.

The important question, of course, is why. Most of the commentary in the Jewish press has focused on specific issues: Trump’s stand on Israel, his reaction to the anti-Semitism of his supporters, and his attacks on Muslims and immigrants. Yet if you talk to Jews of all political persuasions, you discover that Trump’s policies and positions are mostly beside the point.  

Political messages and platforms, no matter how outrageous, can be changed, or massaged, or reformulated. All candidates from time to time say outrageous and offensive things. But what cannot be changed is a candidate’s fundamental character. And what I am now hearing from American Jews is the panicked conclusion that Trump is not a populist maverick, as some originally thought, but a true maniac, singing from the same songbook that despots and mad men have long employed for their own purposes.

Imagine the following sequence of events: Trump is elected President and decides that following up on his most popular proposal, he will, by Executive Order, ban immigrants from Muslim countries from entering the United States, at least until they can, in his judgment, be “properly vetted.” Liberal groups challenge the President in court, and the Supreme Court invalidates the Executive Order by a vote of 6-2. In a televised address to the nation, President Trump announces that the Court has exceeded its authority, ignored the will of the people, and misread the Constitution. The liberal justices, he says, were prejudiced against him, mentioning Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s critical comments about him prior the election. Thus, the Court’s decision was a personal affront to the country’s newly elected President, and in any case, this is a matter that is properly within the President’s purview. The Executive Order stands, President Trump declares, and will be carried out to the letter by immigration officials.

The real problem with the Trump candidacy is not any single issue but the fact that this does not seem like an unrealistic scenario for a President Trump. And a substantial number of Americans, perhaps even a majority, probably agree—which is why Trump is likely to lose. An ego-driven, shoot-from-the-hip showman, Mr. Trump, if elected, would be a one-man, constitutional crisis in waiting. At the same time, it is impossible to imagine such a scenario with a President Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton, in this sense, is a traditional politician, and it is unthinkable that her election would pose a challenge to our constitutional system.

That is why 90% of American Jews will not vote for Trump. Jews, whether Democrats or Republicans, are small “L” liberals. They overwhelmingly support a strong middle-class, and they crave stability and security in politics. Also, as an oppressed and persecuted people for nearly two millennia before making their way to America, Jews have more experience than most other Americans with dictators and demagogues. They also have a fuller understanding of precisely how fragile modern democratic governments are.  

And that fragility seems especially pronounced right now. America has maintained its democratic institutions by pulling off a delicate balancing act: On one side of the scale, an assertive American nationalism, rooted in common democratic ideals, cultural union, and compelling national rituals; on the other side, inclusiveness, a remarkable degree of diversity, and constitutional guarantees of individual rights. No other country has succeeded in preserving this balance in quite the same way. Even among the advanced, industrialized democracies, nationalism generally rests as much on tribalism as on shared values, and individual freedoms and religious liberty are often compromised in a way that Americans would not tolerate.  

Looking at the American system of constitutional government, Jews know that they have lived here as a small minority with a security and dignity that they have found no place else on earth. But they also know that stable democratic governments do not come into being easily, or naturally, or without sustained effort. And now, along comes Donald Trump, threatening the constitutional balance in a way unimaginable since the 1930s. 

Trump’s nationalism is not value-based but race-based. He speaks the language of white nationalism, sometimes openly and sometimes by innuendo. He despises immigrants and the diversity that has long been both a fact and a value in America. He incites hatred. He is a nativist and a Birther, who cast doubt in an especially ugly way on the legitimacy and Americanism of our country’s first black President. He plays around the edges of fascism.

The simple truth is that the Jews look at the disruptive potential of a Trump presidency, and they are terrified. And even when Trump makes an effort to appear “presidential,” as he passingly did in his Thursday night address,  it convinces no one. Absent the narcissistic bluster, Trump becomes unrecognizable—an altogether different candidate that, we know, will be gone by tomorrow, if not an hour from now.
  
Will Trump as President protect the State of Israel and America’s other major allies?  My own view is that he will not. Still, his foreign policy pronouncements are such a hodgepodge that it is impossible to know for sure. But American Jews will make their voting decisions this November for different reasons altogether. And the overwhelming majority will not vote for Trump for the simple reason that they are afraid for America.

  1. #1 by Carol Elbatnigi on 07/24/2016 - 11:53 am

    Jews don’t give a rat’s ass about America. They only care about their “israel” and themselves and no one else. The rest of we earthlings, as far as Jews are concerned, were put here for the soul benefit of Jews in what ever shape or form they choose to use us in regards to that benefit. The above article was written by a zionist Jew and as all articles written by zionist Jews, it makes me want to barf.
    Not that I’m a fan of Trump. I’m not. Not after he made clear how he feels about Muslims. I’m no fan of Hilary either. There simply is no one what so ever to vote for this time around. Its a hopeless situation. The dead leading the dead. But the worst part of this nightmare is not even racist Trump and zionist puppet Hilary. Its that there are so many of my own fellow Americans that I see clearly have not learned a single thing in all these years. Its as if they even got more stupid.

  2. #2 by Tapp on 07/24/2016 - 2:06 pm

    If Trump is a white nationalist as you say, what is that SC Justice? Ginsbergsky is a Zionist Jew like you! A disgrace but you are all a disgrace.

  3. #3 by nooralhaqiqa on 07/24/2016 - 5:35 pm

    These folks must be having conniptions now that Dr. Duke has waded into the fray.

    This piece just supports what we have been saying all along… they hate him no matter what and see Trump under a flag with a swastika in their paranoid lil brains.

    Holocaust’s a’comin’, folks….

  4. #4 by Boffomet on 07/24/2016 - 7:57 pm

    George Soros. Barbara Lerner Spectre. Peter Sutherland. look how The Jews ruin Europe. we won’t let it happen here.

  5. #5 by Christopher Phillips on 07/24/2016 - 9:55 pm

    The author uses the term “American” Jew. Sorry, but there is no such thing.

  6. #6 by RJ Stansfield on 07/25/2016 - 3:50 am

    Here’s the paradox of Trump. First go back and read the 1994 best seller “The Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel P Huntington. I mean it. Do it! 20 years later and much he forecast is pretty evident today. It is a clinical analysis that shows the world is split not into countries but into “civilizations”. And that these are founded in rigid cultural backgorunds, basically religions. He predicted that violence flares at the “fault lines” (boundaries) between these cilvilzations. He described almost accurately the recent problems in Iraq, Afghanestan, Libya, Syria, Palestine , et al. All Moslem countries.
    Millions of Moslems reject violence. But millions of Moslems have no time for “countries” : they increasingly see themselves as a single “caliphate” rooted in Sharia Law written in the Dark Ages, even before Mediaeval times. And arrogate to themselves the duty to inflict this by war (“jihad”) on everyone else. The peaceful Moslems don’t feel inclined to do much about the jihadists — not until the jihadists pick on THEM. This has allowed ISIS to grow and thrive. And the 5th column of European “home grown” dissidents to spring up within apparently non-dissident families.
    Western values of freedom of thought and speech leave us open to attack, but are anathema to these jihadists, and not too well respected by many even “moderate” Moslems. They prefer to sit on the fence and have the best of both worlds.
    On the other hand, each of us citizens of supposedly “free” “democracies” in the West bears a little piece of our joint culpability for the actions of those we have elected. Those who , eg, invaded Iraq when polls showed 70% of citizens in UK were against it, while their “representatives” in Parliament voted FOR invasion under the shadow of an arch mass murderer, who retired to become the “honest broker” in the Palestine-Israel “fault line” between civilizations. LOL. Greedy selfish rich financial elites numbering a tiny fraction of us as a whole pillage everyone on Earth they can, including Western “ordinary people”, to enrich themselves to the loss of all people outside their cliques. And they do it in our name. They turn “otherness” between civiizations into violence among the mass of world ordinary people. And reap riches from the war they create. They feed the risk of escalating war. If We The Sheeple don’t restrain “our lot”, they will dampen the flames flaring up between Moslems and just about every other civilzation by dousing petrol on them.
    Equally, if Moslems don’t want a Third World War, they must not just pathetically “condemn” their jihadists ; they must take a hard line and throw them out of peace-loving society. Their and our lives, yours and mine, may depend on both sides “getting a grip” on their rich war mongering minority.
    When this doesn’t happen, people on both sides TAKE sides, support the violence, and war results.
    Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge, Churchill, the Kaiser, Tojo of Imperial Japan, are modern examples of the violent leaders whom ordinary people feel driven to support in order to protect themselves. They killed tens of millions. They don’t care. They are psychopaths. Like killer whales they bite and kill because “that’s what killer whales do”.
    So now we have Trump. Like Hitler’s his rhetoric is appealing to many who are simply fed up with the way they see their Establishment doing things. Compare his rise to power with that of Hitler. Promises, which he may well fulfill, followed by uncontrollable megalomania. He may be the single person most likely to trigger World War Three.
    We are heading for the Clash of Civilizations. Again.
    And who is to blame ? WE ARE. “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.” We continue to elect self-seekers who are picked by unelected Party members. Hillary doesn’t represent the opposite. Like Cameron and Merkel and Obama, she IS the Establishment. Brexit is the minor earthquake under one volcano that may presage eruption. And one can trigger others. And others.
    Can we control it ? It’s up to US ! Stop voting selfishly and short-sightedly : find who is decent and vote there. Otherwise every civilization : Catholic, Orthodox, Moslem, Buddhist, Confucian, will soon get a Donald Trump. And deserve him.
    For Pete’s sake. W’ve been here before.

  7. #7 by Frederick on 07/25/2016 - 3:59 pm

    The enemy of my enemy is likely my friend.

  8. #8 by homcabu on 07/26/2016 - 5:57 pm

    Stansfield is a lier, a vicious sayanim. Shame in you deceptive vampire. All yids are liers. Trump for America and the world. Damn parasites

  9. #9 by Tapp on 07/27/2016 - 3:02 pm

    Rabbi, you are damn right… Those republican Jews will vote Demo, and God willing Trump still wins and you make Aliyah back to our best friend lstilen land. Adios MF, you and your kind don’t care about this country. Just what you can steal for Israel.

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