Within the minds of pollsters and pundits, individuals have no identity; they are simply components of monolithic voting blocks that are typically identified by religion, ethnicity or a combination thereof. Whether analyzing election results or predicting them, the monolith theoreticians ascribe a candidate’s success or failure to “the Catholic vote”, “the Jewish vote”, “the Hispanic vote”, “the black vote”, “the evangelical vote” or any number of the other voting blocks they have identified.
To accept that voters cast their ballots according to the monolith in which they are placed, is to deny that these voters are individuals, with unique priorities. Therefore, it’s unreasonable to expect that one person will have the same values and expectations as another simply because he or she shares an ethnic or religious background.
On the other hand, sometimes “monolithicist” theory is eerily close to being a precise reflection of actual election results. Such was the case in the 2008 presidential election. According to some pollsters, approximately 78% of “the Jewish vote” was cast for Obama. Even if that percentage is grossly optimistic, it begs the question of why any person of the Jewish faith would vote for a candidate who is not only anti-Israel, but is also a supporter of Israel’s enemies.
The easy answer is that many Jews have had a long-time affiliation with the Democratic Party. That affiliation dates back decades, to a time when Republicans were often viewed (on some occasions with a fair amount of accuracy) as being anti-Semitic. Many Jews see themselves first and foremost as members of a faith that has been persecuted for thousands of years. As such, they have an affinity for, and feel a connection with, members of other minorities who have also been victims of prejudice.
The fault in that logic is the assumption that any victim of discrimination shares a bond with all other victims, irrespective of the factors upon which specific discriminatory actions are based. Prejudice, and the discrimination that arises from it, originates from fear fueled by socio-economic difference. While the discriminator many identify race or religion as the objectionable aspect of a particular individual, his or her true antagonism arises from fear– fear that a person of a particular description is a threat to his or her social or economic status.
The stereotypical attributes of one monolithic group rarely have much in common with those of another. Consequently, one group that has been the victim of discrimination may fear and disdain another group as much—or more—than members of the general “non-monolithic” population. That’s a concept that Jewish voters must accept, and any doubters need look no further than Obama’s numerous assaults against Israel. Here we have a Democrat, who was overwhelmingly supported by Jewish voters, putting forth proposals that are not merely harmful, but potentially devastating to Israel.
Some liberals do understand that Obama’s proposal for Israel to surrender all of the areas captured in its war of 1967, (except for land swaps) will erode the Jewish monolith. Whether they truly care about Israel, or are simply posturing to minimize the effects of a backlash is another matter entirely. Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City is one long-standing Democrat who gets it. Koch has stated he’s ready to break with his party in the upcoming presidential election as a result of Obama’s Middle East policies.
New York senator Chuck Schumer also gets it. He has been critical of Obama’s position on Middle East affairs in the past. A staunch supporter of Israel, Schumer, like many Democrats is now between the proverbial rock and a hard place. If he backs Obama’s Middle East agenda, he loses the support of New York’s Jewish voters; if he objects to Obama’s foot-in-mouth escapades, he risks repercussions within his own party. Although Schumer has been openly critical of Obama’s stance on Israel in the past, as election day approaches, he has avoided making statements about the administration’s position.
That may bring Schumer’s primary allegiance into question, but there’s no doubt as to Obama’s. This isn’t the only time he has thrown Israel, and consequently Jewish voters under the bus and it won’t be the last. Voters of all faiths should remember that when they enter the voting booth in November. Obama has toned down the rhetoric during his campaign, but the fact remains, he has abandoned Israel. In so doing, he has not only turned his back on an ally, he has insulted the Jewish voters who supported him.