The Jewish Vote

The Jewish Vote

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.


Clearly the Romney visit, the Obama gestures to Israel coinciding with the Romney visit, and the general pandering to Jewish votes which has been going on since the Republican primary by now should be downright offensive to all Jews. Except for the millionaires club that flew to Jerusalem to join Romney at breakfast last week at the King David Hotel, there is some wonder as to what really is going on inside the Romney campaign about the Jewish vote.

There are number of conclusions which can be drawn from all this activity. First, they know something from inside tracking that no one else has determined about the level of alienation that Jews have for Obama. Second, they are fishing for votes and needed to placate Sheldon Adelson  by spending his some of his millions. Third, the campaign is actually desperate and already has begun to resort to desperate moves. Fourth, they actually have convinced themselves that this frontal attack on Obama and Israel will attract more votes than it will alienate. Finally, they are desperate to increase Jewish votes in the battleground states, given the fact that they are making no inroads among Latino votes as is Obama. Given how critical some of the states will be in the fall, the Romney team has convinced itself that they can embarrass the Jews in these states to repudiate all of their voting history and exceed even the 39% margin achieved by Ronald Reagan in1980. What they may not have calculated is that they may well end up embarrassing Jews through this strategy so they actually will have a drop off in some segments of the Jewish community because of it.

The new series of just launched attack ads against Obama, Israel, and the Jewish vote, confirms this analysis. As my colleague Doug Bloomfield so astutely described in his just posted blog about the ads, the Romney team has really convinced itself that the Jews can be seduced by scare tactics.

It seems to me that it indeed suggests panic, desperation, or just bad judgment.  They may be overplaying their hand. Sadly, for American Jews, however, they may well end up having been used as a pawn by the Romney campaign. In which case, Jews could be blamed were Romney to be defeated in November, in the battleground states with sizeable Jewish populations.

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