DURSO: Could Democratic Inaction On Anti-Semitism Suppress The Jewish Vote?
After accusing Republicans of voter suppression at every turn, Democrats are showing us how it’s really done.
This week, House Democrats blew an easy lay-up — a powerful resolution against anti-Semitism — and birthed a muddle of a resolution that decried discrimination against African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants. Using Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s criteria, this empty, “All Lives Matter” gesture covers everyone in America.
If this happened in a foreign parliament, the American ambassador would be remonstrating against intolerance, and the editorial pages of the “quality press” would be knitting their brows about a resurgence of Nazis in (insert name of European country here).
The outbreak of anti-Semitism among House Democrats follows a similar eruption in the United Kingdom led by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. This week we got our own Jeremy Corbyn: Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Clear-eyed Democrats understand the moral and practical political dangers of fostering anti-Semitism, especially given the Democrat’s historic support for slavery in the Antebellum South, and segregation in the post-war Solid South. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has practical political problems of her own: keeping control of the Democrat caucus (and her job), and defeating Donald Trump in 2020. By the end of the week she succeeded and the Democrats circled the wagons to protect the instigator of the disgrace, Ilhan Omar, in what John Podhoretz called an “inflection point in American political history.”
The announced 2020 Democratic candidates for president — including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren — showed their stuff by falling in line and defending Omar. Politicians in Syria, Iran, and North Korea no doubt took notice.
The dilemma for Jewish people is they are mostly white and middle-class, and that’s a losing hand in the intersectionality sweepstakes when you are up against a black, Muslim, woman immigrant who, we are told, has experiences that are “more personal” than those of children of Holocaust survivors.
The question for Jewish voters is: will they be “good Bolsheviks” and support the party line wherever it may lead or will they jump ship and vote Republican?
For now, the Republicans should follow Napoleon’s advice and not interfere when the enemy is doing something stupid. In the future, the GOP might profitably bear down on the seams between Jewish voters and the emerging new Democratic party. David Duke’s endorsement of Ilhan Omar as “the most important member of the US Congress” opens up almost unlimited messaging and outreach opportunities for the GOP.
Anti-Semitism is the reliable symptom of a society (or political party) under stress, and its current iteration has been fronted by the socialists calling themselves Democrats, freshman Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who now represent the most energetic wing of the Democratic party.
Before the 2018 House election, Omar said she opposed the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. But, like another prominent Democrat not so long ago, “she was against it before she was for it.” When she ‘fessed up to supporting BDS it left her Jewish supporters grappling with the bait-and-switch, though some hope “to be able to have a dialogue.” Idiot, meet useful.
Some Democrats may calculate they can afford to ignore the Jewish vote as most Jews live in urban districts that are safely Democratic, younger Jews are more likely to describe themselves as “atheist, agnostic or having no particular religion,” and the overall population is aging.
Republicans also have some political calculations: is the Jewish vote “sticky” and not easily harvested with the limited time and money available? should the GOP instead focus its outreach to blacks, Hispanics and Asians? A rhetorical and policy attack on anti-Semitism may appeal to a broader public and at less cost than the labor-intensive door-knocking that may be needed to appeal to individual Jewish voters.
An opportunity for Republicans may be to amplify stresses between concerned Jewish voters and the Democrat party. In the words of a smart political guy, the GOP goal should be to ensure Jewish voters “vote for our guy, or stay home.”
Very soon Jewish voters may find themselves in no man’s land: under attack by the party they call home, but not worth the candle for the GOP.
The Democrats’ refusal to denounce anti-Semitism and banish its promoters may be creating a bloc of disaffected voters. That’s bad for all of us, but it might help the GOP in 2020. Democratic anti-Semitism will persist past November 2020, so the GOP’s challenge will be to reap the benefits of it, and snuff it out in time.
James Durso (@James_Durso) served as a U.S. Navy officer for 20 years specializing in logistics and security assistance. His overseas military postings were in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and he served in Iraq as a civilian transport advisor with the Coalition Provisional Authority. He was a professional staff member at the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission and the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is presently managing director of Corsair LLC, a consulting firm specializing in project management and marketing support in the Middle East and Central Asia.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.