With Eric Cantor’s shocking loss to David Brat in Virginia in June, the time has never been more ripe–or more urgent–for a new Jewish Republican voice in Washington. Can California help?
Jews voting Republican? Who would’ve thought? Yet an increase in the numbers of Jews voting Republican, and even running for office with that “R” next to their name, shouldn’t be too surprising, especially given the disastrous policies of the Obama administration in the Middle East.
Numerous polls show a consistent trend in the Jewish vote: that more and more Jews are voting Republican, especially Orthodox Jews. In the last presidential election, 86% of American Orthodox Jews voted for Mitt Romney, and while the Jewish vote has always been heavily Democratic, the non-Orthodox population continues to shrink because of low birth-rates. In contrast, the religious communities continue to grow.
But is getting Jewish votes enough? The Grand Old Party is the party most protective of many issues that Jews care about–for instance, a limited government that allows citizens freely to practice their religion without stifling bureaucracy, and of course, standing with the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.
Throughout the six years and counting of the Obama presidency, the Republicans in the House and Senate–well beyond Cantor–have been the staunchest defenders and supporters of the State of Israel, and have been very good to the Jewish community in both America and Israel.
Still, having Jewish representation does make a difference. American Jews are among the freest in the world, and as such, they, like all Americans, have the privilege of engaging in the political system to the fullest extent. That engagement should include not only voting, but also running for office themselves. As the Republican Jewish community expands, so should the number of Republican Jewish representatives.
There is very little representation in Congress from Jewish Republicans. In fact, other than former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, there is none. While there are a crop of Jewish Republicans running for office throughout the country, one of the most promising is the candidate for U.S. House in California’s 33rd district, criminal gang prosecutor, Iraq War veteran, and Jewish community leader, Elan Carr.
Currently, many of the Jewish Democrat members of Congress–at least those who are staunch supporters of Israel–are constantly clashing with the aims of the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry. Look no further than the controversy over funding the Palestinian Authority, which recently chose to unite with internationally recognized terrorist organization Hamas.
Jews are not well-served by representatives so beholden to the Obama administration to the point where they refuse, or even consider refusing, to cut funding to terrorist organizations like Hamas.
Carr, who is running in one of the most Jewish districts in the entire country, could fill the void left by Rep. Cantor, and represent an entire community that rejects the current status quo on foreign policy both for Israel and for the entire world.
The time is right for a rise of the Jewish GOP. For once, California might be able to help.
Emily Schrader is a freelance writer and marketing consultant specializing in social media with 5 years experience in Jewish non-profits. She has an M.A. from Tel Aviv University in Political Communications.