Teaching in Memory of Shira Palmer Sherman
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, the true start of the 2020 presidential campaign nominating process, less than 48 hours and 1000 miles away, we will explore the history of the Jewish vote in America. A large majority of American Jews have identified with the Democratic party and the political left since at least the 1920s. Yet a noteworthy, if small, portion of American Jewry has long been attracted to American conservativism.
Why are most American Jews basically liberals? What has been the role of Jewish intellectuals in the American conservative movement and the GOP? This current GOP? And why have more religious Jews identified with the Republican party in recent years? Every four years, my Republican Jewish friends—both of them, I joke—predict that this is the year that American Jews, as with their Israeli brethren, will finally tack conservative; and every subsequent November it proves yet again not to be true. Will this year be any different? The Jerusalem embassy. Recognizing the Golan. Legalizing West Bank settlements. Cutting Palestinian aid. Antisemitism. Jews in the Trump circle. Ilhan Omar. Rashida Tlaib. Iran.
Steve Rabinowitz, former Bill Clinton White House press aide and image maker, is a veteran of the national staffs of nine U.S. presidential campaigns. He and his business partner also ran million-dollar independent expenditure campaigns targeting the Jewish community for the re-election of President Obama, in support of Hillary Clinton in 2016, and to further the Iran nuclear deal. The president of Bluelight Strategies, a Washington, DC communications firm, Steve lives with his wife, Laurie Moskowitz, their two teenage boys, and their chocolate lab; just two blocks from Adas Israel, the large Conservative shul in which they’ve long been active and which is home to three former BJ clergy.