When the votes were tallied on Tuesday, it was Israel’s centrist parties who were celebrating the loudest. Although Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud-Beiteinu will be the largest party in the next Knesset, the merger party only gathered 31 seats, far short of the 40-plus seats the party was originally expected to win. In contrast, newcomer Yesh Atid, which translates to “There is a Future,” won a surprising 19 seats, making the centrist party a powerful force of moderation. Read more…
On Monday, the United States will not only observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but President Obama will also be publically sworn in for his second term in office. Despite this partial realization of Dr. King’s dream that people be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” fulfilled poetically by our nation’s first black president, we recognize that Dr. King’s vision of justice does not end with symbolic equality at the highest levels of government.
We’ve talked a lot about this election – what it means for states, what it means for women, what it means for Jews. Yet we haven’t yet talked about a demographic who voted for the President at a 71% rate (a higher rate than even the American Jewish population, 70% of whom voted to reelect the President). A demographic that comprised 10% of the overall electorate. A demographic that has been credited for helping Obama win key swing states such as Florida and Colorado. A demographic whose numbers will only keep increasing and whose importance will only keep rising as we move into the future. And a demographic who will, and who has already, helped to push, immigration reform to the forefront of the national political dialogue.
At the end of the last presidential campaign in 2008, I came away with a list of words that if I never heard again it would be too soon. I admit my aversion to “hopeful” “mavericks” promising to “change” things has subsided in the last four years, but I doubt my aversion to the campaign ad will be going anywhere anytime soon. Indeed, the 2010 Supreme Court, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision granting the right to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections has all but assured us that the proliferation of campaign commercials, flyers and robo-calls will be inundating us for the foreseeable future. I don’t think anyone settles in on Friday night to secretly revel in the plot twists of ABC’s hit show Revenge hoping for a barrage of advertising paid for by Patriots for X or Citizens for Y.
The statistics are in. It seems that American Jews voted 69% for President Obama in the recent election. This represented a five percent decrease from 2008. However, historically this is pretty much in line with the recent historical averages concerning Jewish support for Democratic Presidential candidates.
When looking at the 2012 results, I believe that there were two possible reasons for the 5% decrease. The first is that in 2008, American Jews were really “put off” by John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin’s lack of understanding of international affairs was indeed appalling and the fact that she would have been one heartbeat away from the presidency and that heartbeat was of a seventy two year old man who had had two heart attacks, made American Jews wonder about the judgment of John McCain.
The second possible reason for the decrease was that the Republican efforts to paint President Obama as being non-supportive of Israel apparently had some traction.