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Why Do Jews Still Vote For Democrats?

Why Do Jews Still Vote For Democrats?

That’s the question being pondered from some fairly thoughtful discussion at American Thinker back in 2008 to some flame throwing from Eric Alterman just recently.

I expressed skepticism when a poll was released several months ago showing Jews moving away from Democrats, and while I have yet to see reliable data from the election (Alterman’s data is far from convincing), I’ll accept that Jews voted for Democrats at a higher rate than non-Jews. 

Anecdotally, I’ve heard from many Jews that they are sick and tired of the Obama administration and are voting against Obama, but of course I don’t claim to circulate among Obama supporters of any religion.

So even if the hold is lessening somewhat, it still seems to be true that Jews as a whole are in the tank for the Democrats.

But why?

There are some superficial explanations, such as the predominance of Reform Judaism, which for as long as I can remember (say, 40+ years) has been a branch of the liberal party, and the liberal party for the past 40+ years has been the Democratic Party. 

One also could point to group think — Jews tend to be present in large numbers in otherwise liberal districts, so liberalism among Jews is pretty typical for such geographic regions, not particularly a Jewish phenomenon.

There also is a tendency among liberal Jews to equate conservatism with Christianity, and the two with anti-Semitism.  Just read Alterman’s piece linked above for a finely distilled version of fear of Christianity.

None of this makes any sense to me.  Whatever anti-Semitism has existed in the United States among Christians is dwarfed by worldwide anti-Semitism among Secular Leftists and Islamists.  As I’ve written before, since at least since the 1940s American Christians have been about the only thing standing between Jews worldwide and the abyss, and that remains true today.

At the end of the day, there is no logical explanation or justification for the phenomenon of American Jews voting disproportionately and consistently for Democrats.  It’s irrational, and let’s just call it that.

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Comments


rich, it's not whether or not FDR had a personal affinity for Jews. His administration was so populated by Jews that the isolationist Republicans were claiming that those Jews were the very reason FDR entered WWII. There was no political correctness in those days and those charges were plastered across the newspapers. If you can't grasp the depths of anti-Semitism in this country at that time, I recommend spending a few Saturdays reading the NYT, Boston Globe, Chicago Trib and other major newspapers of that day.

Did you know that FDR proposed the idea that the Allies offer to relieve the Germans of their "Jewish burden" if Hitler would hand them over? It failed because no other ally, including Britain, refused to accept any Jews and it would have been hard enough to sell Americans that we were going to take in a few hundred thousand Jews. To absorb millions would have been impossible to sell.

FDR was as WASP as you can get but he wouldn't exactly have had to love Jews to be pro-active in preventing the worst shoah in history. There sure were plenty of "respectable" cultural elites who were comfortable with the idea of letting it happen and both the Republicans and Democrats were choking with them. FDR was not one of them and he had the advantage of being president and used that to do something about it.

As imperfect as the story might be, it is impossible to make a credible argument that the FDR/Democrat vs Republican experience is irrelevant. It is at least a big part of it.

Excellent comments!

The phenomenon of Very Bright People thinking that they are sufficiently good and wise to govern the rest of us is not limited to Jews. See, for example, Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals".

But simultaneously embracing "I don't trust government" and "I want more government" is a great example of cognitive dissonance.

It seems that in all groups, once the fear "our tribe is in danger" is activated, it must settle on some other group as the probable cause. Even if the real danger is elsewhere, they can't see it. We see the danger of the thug, not the Don or druglord running the show. Sizing up immediate threats was an evolutionary necessity – we are less good at indirect dangers. That's not so much Jewish behavior as group behavior. When Jews describe their fear that conservative Christians might turn on them and actually become the most dangerous rather than the best ally, two related topics come up: attempts at evangelism are an attempt to weaken Jewish numbers, and the uneducated louts remind them of the violent peasants of Europe.

But intermarriage with the non-evangelizing Christian sects is a far greater danger to Jewish numbers, and the police and peasants were not the instigators of antisemitic violence in central and eastern Europe. The students, philosophers, and poets did that.

I offer that not as any complete explanation of Jewish liberalism, but as an addition to the excellent comments here.


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