Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Jewish Flight?

With the Democrats delving far into the embrace of antisemitism, there is a lot of speculation that Jews might flee the Democratic Party and become Republican. Even the Wall Street Journal ran an article saying that the relationship between Jews and Democrats is "strained." I don't agree. Here are my thoughts.

● In my life, there have been three or four mini-exoduses of Jews leaving the Democratic Party. The first was in the late 1970s, when a group of conservative Jewish intellectuals came over and formed the intellectual core of the conservative movement. There was a mini-exodus in the 1980s when Reagan won over most Americans and the right drove out their antisemites and racists. The next came after religious conservatives decided to embrace Israel as the promised people, and then Bush Sr. went to war in the Middle East. This brought over the more "muscular" parts of American Judaism who understood that Arabs were serious about wanting to wipe them out. The most recent exodus, if it's real, is now and is in response to a growing embrace of Palestinian activists by the Democrats under Obama, the full embrace of antisemitic tropes by OWS, and now the embrace of Muslim victimhood.

The thing is, each of these waves only brought a small number over. About 30% of Jews support Republicans today, up from 5% when I was a kid. But getting any more will be really hard.

● Why aren't Jews likely to switch parties? Several reasons.
● First, they cluster in a handful of liberal enclaves -- New York, California and Florida. Florida Jews are most likely to change parties, but the others live in liberal bubbles.

● Secondly, there is something in Jewish culture that biases Jews toward socialism (ditto on Scandinavians and blacks... it happens). In this case, there is also a synonym between groups like the ADL and the ACLU and many similar advocacy groups and the Jewish community. That reinforces the left-leaning. Moreover, it seems that the more right-wing Jews self-selected to move to Israel, just as non-union whites left West Virginia.

● Third, Jews are sold the idea that flyover country is filled with Jew-hating rednecks. This is "big city think", but it's a strong factor.

● Fourth, and most importantly, Jews fit the demographic of the modern Democratic Party. The Democratic Party consists of two victim groups: single/professional women and blacks. Jewish women largely fall into the demographic of single/professional women. This group runs the Democrats: they are not leaving. So I don't see a real shift, even as the Democrats embrace antisemitism.
● Do Jews matter though? In Florida, kind of. In New York and California, they are lost in the surplus. Basically, there are six million Jews. The leftist surplus in California is four million votes, where there are only 1.1 million Jews. In New York it's around three million votes, where there are 1.7 million Jews. So even if every Jew changes parties, it wouldn't shift California and it might only just matter in New York. It could in theory change a House seat here or there, but those tend to be local and the GOP is nonexistent as an alternative where Jews live. In Florida, there are 600,000 Jews and the state was decided by only 100,000 votes. So they could matter there, but since the GOP is winning, all they would do is make winning easier. They wouldn't shift the state.

● So what does all this mean? It means that Jews are not switching parties and even if they did, they don't matter demographically because of their concentration and where they are concentrated... except Florida, where they could reinforce a trend, but not change it.

● That said, where a shift in Jewish support could matter is in the intellectual prowess of the Democrats and in their fundraising. Jews punch way above their weight in terms of representing the Democrats, running advocacy groups, and forming policy on the left. A shift away from the Democrats because of the rise of antisemitic types could dramatically shift the ideological core of the Democrats away from the more humanist ideas of Jewish thinkers to more intolerant thinking by the antisemites. That could hurt the party with moderates and women. It could also harm Democratic fundraising as Jews punch well above their weight in that too.

● Will Jews be able to rein the Democrats back in from the hate-filled deep-end? I don't think so. The younger you get in the Democratic party, the greater the antisemitism. That suggests a growing divergence in the future. What's more, Democratic elders seem unwilling to push back as hard as their elders did against antisemitism. Silence equals consent.

Also, the numbers are against Jews. There are six million Jews, a number that has been steady in my lifetime. Muslims have gone from nothing to seven million. I expect their numbers to double in the next couple decades. And since I don't think the two groups will be compatible in my lifetime, that means Jews may find themselves squeezed out.



tryanmax said...

Another aspect to consider is that a third of ethnic Jews are religiously unaffiliated. Another third are Reform (i.e. Liberal/Progressive) Jews, the equivalent to Christian churches that preach social justice.

All told, I think it's worth keeping an eye on Jews who exit the Democrat party and, more importantly, join the GOP. Especially influencers and taste-makers. As you say, they punch well above their weight in fundraising, advocacy, and policy. If the GOP gained that juice, look out! That's to say nothing of the zeal of the convert.

As for the Jews who are squeezed out, sadly, there are large percentages of any faith group who would rather abandon their religion than abandon their politics. We will more than likely see that unaffiliated number rise.

AndrewPrice said...

I love this headline: Green Deal Dies In Senate, And Democrats Helped Kill It.

This has been hilarious. To the Dems, this was standard operating procedure. You offer something insane to please your flank. Then you vote on it. Moderates vote against on some procedural ground, letting them say, "I support it, but not in this form." The freaks vote yes. The evil Republicans vote no. Then you run to you supporters with the appropriate sound bites.

Only, no one votes yes. And AOC didn't get how the system works, so she's angry. As are the progressives who view this as a Democratic betrayal. Good times.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think you are right that their religious views are consistent with the left... so add that to the reasons why they won't shift any time soon.

I'm not sure they will turn a blind eye to the antisemitism, but I don't necessarily see them changing parties because of it. I see them more becoming a NYC bubble of internal-Democratic opposition than changing sides. Although, if Muslims do start to take their seats at the table, then who knows. That won't happen for a while, but if they double or triple in size, they will demand it.

Ultimately though, I think it doesn't matter what they do switch sides. Unlike the Chinese who are growing fast and who could take over the rump California GOP and cause a real earthquake in politics, I think that the numbers suggest that Jews switching sides would go unnoticed.

Things could change if the fundraising shifted or if the advocacy groups like the ADL turned on Muslims, but those groups are leftists first, so I don't see that changing.

Either way, I see a lot of excitement over this, but I think we need to step back and realize that this isn't going to happen (just like certain states the right always gets excited over will never vote Republican... Washington, Oregon, New Jersey...).

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