In Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, billionaire businessman and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson explains why he left the Democratic Party – and it wasn’t because he got wealthy and didn’t want to pay taxes.
Adelson, who grew up poor, writes of his immigrant parents and why they joined the Democratic Party: the Democrats were more supportive of Jewish causes and the Republicans they knew were wealthy elites whose fancy country clubs were hostile to Jews.
But that has all changed, he writes; last March’s Gallup poll asked both parties, “Are your sympathies more with the Israelis or more with the Palestinians?” Fifty-three percent of Democrats chose Israel, while the figure soared to 78% among Republicans. And the debacle at the 2012 DNC, where the issue of Jerusalem became a catalyst for anti-Israel screaming, showed, “There is now a visceral anti-Israel movement among rank-and-file Democrats, a disturbing development that my parents’ generation would not have ignored.”
Adleson also cites the age-old Jewish desire to give charity, noting that his father kept a charity box for the poor in their house, and the fact that according to the nonpartisan Chronicle of Philanthropy, states that vote Republican are now far more generous to charities than those voting Democratic. He adds that “In 2008, the seven least-generous states all voted for President Obama.”
Adelson condemns Obama’s economic policies, which “has produced unsustainable deficits, and he takes no responsibility for his spending. Worse still, unemployment has become chronic, and many Americans have given up on looking for work.”
He notes that when Obama “deplores the wealthy (“fat-cat bankers,” “millionaires and billionaires,” “at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” and so on)” Obama shows that he has failed to learn from the terrible economic policies of his home state of Illinois, which have, according to political scientist Walter Russell Mead,
“wrecked one of the country’s potentially most prosperous and dynamic states, condemned millions of poor children to substandard education, failed to maintain vital infrastructure, choked business development and growth through unsustainable tax and regulatory policies–and still failed to appease the demands of the public sector unions and fee-seeking Wall Street crony capitalists who make billions off the state’s distress.”
Adelson concludes his switch to being a Republican like this:
It’s the choice that, I believe, my old immigrant Jewish neighbors would have made. They would not have let a few disagreements with Republicans void the importance of siding with the political party that better supports liberal democracies like Israel, the party that better exemplifies the spirit of charity, and the party with economic policies that would certainly be better for those Americans now looking for work.
The Democratic Party just isn’t what it used to be.