• Steven Windmueller

Wind Election Report #1: With 90 Days to Go: An Update of the 2020 Election



A newsletter focusing on the 2020 election and American Jews

Jewish Republicans Opposing Donald Trump:

A number of prominent Jewish Americans who describe themselves as “non-Trump Republicans” are joining with other members of the GOP in supporting three separate initiatives to deny Donald Trump a second term. Right Side PAC[1], the Lincoln Project[2], and RVAT (Republican Voters Against Trump)[3] are mobilizing to run ad campaigns to dissuade fellow Republicans from supporting the President.

Political Debate Inside the Orthodox Community:

Inside the American Orthodox world, we see an interesting battle involving the 2020 election. Last week, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, an ultra-Orthodox haredi leader endorsed the re-election of Donald Trump.[4]

In response to the Rabbi’s endorsement, eight prominent rabbinic and lay leaders endorsed a policy statement, entitled: “Sinai, Not Washington”.[5] This document represented a framework for how Orthodox Jews should look at this fall’s election:

As a community, we ought to clearly and proudly stand up for the Torah’s stance on societal issues, embracing a worldview that identifies with no party or political orientation. Our interests may dovetail with a particular party or politician in one or another situation, but our values must remain those of Sinai, not Washington.

Jewish Candidates Running for US Senate in 2020: We are Watching Three Races

Georgia:

Georgia senatorial candidate Jon Ossoff charged his Republican opponent David Perdue with anti-Semitism.,[6] as the Senator had posted an ad, later taken down, suggesting that the “Democrats were trying to buy Georgia”. "Sitting U.S. Senator David Perdue's digital attack ad distorted my face to enlarge and extend my nose. I'm Jewish. This is the oldest, most obvious, least original anti-Semitic trope in history."[7]

Alaska:

Dr. Alex Gross who is running as an independent for the Senate against Republican incumbent, Dan Sullivan, has the support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Gross’ father had served as Attorney General in Alaska; should Gross win, he would be Alaska’s second Jewish Senator, the first being Ernest Gruening (D).[8]

Gross commented: “I’ve been a minority, and that’s what I’ve known since I was a young kid.” “We joke that we’re the ‘frozen chosen’ and the ‘extreme diaspora’ up here.”

Tennessee:

James Mackler, a Jewish veteran who flew Black Hawk helicopters in combat in Iraq, is the Democrat candidate for the open Senate seat in Tennessee.

Mackler, 47, an attorney who still serves in the National Guard, is a longshot, but his campaign intrigued me: He is just the latest in a proliferation of Jewish veterans transitioning to politics.[9]

Activating Voters:

Employing on-line events to reach Jewish voters, both the RJC (Republican Jewish Coalition)[10] and JDCA (Jewish Democratic Council of America).[11]

Matt Brooks of the RJC was quoted as committing $10 million in targeted outreach for Jews in Florida, Ohio, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Jewish Democratic organizations were organizing a Jewish Battleground Coalition to reach voters in Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.[12]


Fundraising and Jewish Donors:

In 2012, 71 percent of the $160 million that Jewish donors gave to the two major-party nominees went to President Obama’s re-election campaign; 29 percent went to Mitt Romney’s campaign, according to our analysis of campaign contributors, which used a predictive model to estimate which donors are Jewish based on their names and other characteristics. This ratio of support mirrors how Jewish voters cast their ballots in 2012.[13]

Prepared by Steven Windmueller, Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies, Jack H. Skirball Campus: HUC-JIR, Los Angeles


[1] https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00748160&cycle=2020

[2] https://lincolnproject.us/

[3] https://rvat.org/ [4] https://forward.com/news/breaking-news/451747/leading-ultra-orthodox-rabbi-kaminetsky-endorses-trump/


[5] https://cross-currents.com/2020/07/29/an-open-letter/

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/27/us/politics/jon-ossoff-david-perdue-ad.html [7] https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/28/politics/david-perdue-jon-ossoff-takes-down-ad/index.html [8] https://jewishinsider.com/2020/07/alaska-senate-candidate-al-gross-hopes-his-outsider-status-will-propel-him-to-d-c/

[9] https://www.jweekly.com/2020/05/28/this-jewish-combat-vet-and-rabbis-husband-is-trying-to-win-a-senate-seat-in-tennessee/ [10] https://www.rjchq.org/ [11] https://jewishdems.org/ [12] https://www.rjchq.org/jewish_exponent_jewish_voter_outreach_adapts_to_2020 [13] https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-gops-jewish-donors-are-abandoning-trump/