Election 2012: Jews likely to be key players

Posted On January 12 , 2011
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Category - Opinion
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STEVEN WINDMUELLER

Steven Windmueller

NY Jewish Week

The 2012 presidential election campaign has begun. Suspecting that the incumbent is vulnerable, Republicans are already beginning to position themselves to carry this campaign to voters early and often against the Obama Administration.

Jews will be seen as a key target for this effort. Several core factors will define the Jewish connection in this campaign cycle. Accessing early campaign money and embracing the Israel connection represent two elements that will be seen as pivotal the 2012 campaign and to Jewish support. Both parties, and more directly aspiring candidates, will be looking for financial assistance as a way to launch and to build their campaigns and to garner political endorsements.

Jews are seen as significant political funders. In the past Jewish donors have generated as much as 45 cents of every dollar raised by Democrats and provide a growing base of support for Republican candidates. As one commentator has suggested, “the primary emphasis in the Republican Party has not been to win Jewish votes but to attract major Jewish giving and, at a minimum, to deprive Democrats of that giving.”

Jewish donors have generated

as much as 45 cents of every dollar

raised by Democrats

and provide a growing base

of support for Republicans

Political funds are secured through outright gifts to politicians, contributions made to PAC’s, and support for political parties or commitments provided to advocacy organizations and political interest groups. As there are likely to be a number of candidates entering the presidential sweepstakes, there will likely be a “multiplier effect” as Jewish supporters aligned themselves with particular individuals spreading out Jewish financial and voter support.

In light of the shift during this recently completed election cycle to convert support for Israel into a campaign advantage, Republicans are likely to exploit the current tensions between Jerusalem and Washington as a tactical benefit to their political agenda.

In the past bipartisanship around Israel was an accepted political axiom, now it is more likely that both parties will seek to portray their record of support as evidence of their “special connection” to the Jewish State. As both parties position themselves for the next Presidential campaign, there will be a concerted effort in both camps to promote the Israel card and to mobilize political interest in their respective campaigns.

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