The American Jewish Community and the 2020 US Election
Soifer previously served as national security adviser for Senator Comma Harris now, the Democratic nominee for vice president and Joe Biden's running mate. She joins us now to talk about the role. Jewish. Voters play and how she believes. Democrats addressed. Jewish. Priorities please keep in mind. AJC. Is a five. Oh One C. Three not profit organization AJC neither supports nor opposes candidates for elective office and with that disclaimer Haley welcome thank you so much for having me. So let's start with the basics and Kinda, the horse race aspect of this how much of the American voting population identifies as Jewish? So the Jewish community in terms of the American population is about two percent, but we're actually about three percent of the electorate and we'd play an outsized role in. NHS for three reasons, we voted higher rates. On average Jewish Americans vote at a higher rate than. By about fifteen percents we also where we live correlates with wear our votes tend to matter even more we tend to live in swing states and a third reason which I'm sure we'll get into is that we overwhelmingly support Democrats in our view as Jewish Democrat organization that is especially or in terms of the outsize impact we have. So Haley Bernie Sanders in his speech on Monday addressed the many Democrats who really wanted him to be the nominee and many of them were Jewish are Jewish many of them have us on Israel, that don't jibe with the very pro Israel aspects of the party, platform. It really sounded like Bernie was calling on Democrats to unify despite their differences and I'm curious how the Party and its leadership have prevented Israel from becoming a wedge issue. Joe Biden has done an exceptional job in unifying the party around these critically important issues, including Israel and the platform that's been adopted at this convention exemplifies what is overwhelming democratic support for the US Israel relationship. Ebeidi s support a full funding for military. And Support of the STOORIKHEL alliance, it's the view of the majority of members of Congress that is the democratic mainstream media. So you emphasize what a majority of Democrats you certainly we've had concerns over the years about Ilan Omar had to leave. Is that kind of who you're thinking about when you say a majority of Democrats feel this way I should have said an over overwhelming majority you mentioned. Two. Members, of Congress, we currently between the House and the Senate head of over two hundred and seventy. So between those two members of Congress who we agree do not share our views on Israel and we've spoken out against them going back to before they were even elected. But between the two of them to over two seventy, we're talking about less than one percent of the Democratic members of Congress. They are very outspoken though they have expressed views with which we disagree and we've made that clear and that's why we're not supporting their re election and we don't share their views but luckily, their views are not shared by our party either look at the platform I mean the platform is the views of our candidate and the views of our Party and the platform could not be more clear in. Its support of Israel, what I the states to watch in this upcoming election and in which of those states could the Jewish vote really make a difference. When we look in elections, we always look at the last election as a baseline and we know that had Donald Trump not one Florida and either Michigan or Pennsylvania. He would not be president today and in those three states Florida Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Jewish vote alone could made up those margins. So when we looked to twenty twenty in this election, we are looking at the Jewish vote in those critically important states, my home state of Michigan Donald. Trump won by just ten, thousand, seven, hundred, and four votes. That margin could be overcome by the Jewish student population of Michigan in Michigan state a low. We are looking at the Jewish vote in those three critically important states but also states like Arizona and Colorado and Georgia, which in addition to being presidential swing states are going to be critically important in terms of the control of the Senate. Are you saying that the Jews in those swing states voted Republican or didn't vote at all did shoes in those swing states voted we know that Jewish voters do turn out and in twenty sixteen, it was no different than in previous elections choose turned out. But. We also know bat they turned out in support of Hillary. Clinton at about seventy two percents. If you look at the two thousand eighteen midterms Jewish voters supported Democrats at seventy nine percents. So we saw an increase, we believe that in twenty twenty, those numbers can continue to go up in terms of Jewish support for Democrats. So now we'll talk with your Republican counterpart on next week's episode. But from your vantage point, you said that most Jews identify with the Democratic Party why is that? So, choose have historically for decades defied overwhelmingly with the Democrats, the values that Jews hold dear tend to be those aligned with the policies supported by Democrats. So when it comes to domestic policies such as access to affordable healthcare and education ED and gun safety and ensuring that we are country welcoming the stranger and not enacting cruel and discriminatory policies toward immigrants and refugees. These are all key issues driving the Jewish vote. On those issues and more, that's where Jewish voters align with Democrats when it comes to foreign policy is well, we know that support of Israel is an issue that is important of course to Jewish voters and Mrs. Issue Where Democrats to our squarely aligned with the priority of Jewish voters, which is the support of the strong US Israel relationship, and in this election, we have a new issue. So all of those things have been constance. New issue in this election that is impacting the Jewish, vote in Support of Democrats and that is our rising insecurity as a community. We have seen an unprecedented rise in anti-semitic attacks targeting our community including the horrific attacks in Pittsburgh and Powei we know that seventy three percent of Jews feel less secure than they did years ago and over half of US blame. Donald Trump for that and that's because we've seen him embolden anti-semites white nationalist just last night he tweeted out support for an extremist group Hugh a non that has peddled conspiracy theories still on these issues especially when it comes to the security of our community. There's a clear choice in this election and Jewish especially do not believe that Donald Trump has the best interest of our community in mind he has Jewish family members. He's certainly been friendly to Israel is strengthened that relationship. So how does that square? There's no question. He has Jewish family members. He's also married and he's done said many misogynistic things. So that alone does not qualify him as what I would consider to be someone who's been particularly good for the Jewish community I look at the numbers and I look at the unprecedented rise in white nationalist propaganda or anti Semitic attack and the words that. Come out of his mouth better clear signs to anti-semites to racist to bigots that he is their ally whether it is identifying anti-semites white nationalist marching Charlottesville as very fine people or calling the extremists that marched in Michigan with swastikas very good people that was earlier this year or hiring someone recently, Sebastian Gorka who is affiliated with the Nazi party in Hungary? When it comes to Israel. Donald Trump. Has Been Long on symbolism and short on substance. Yes. He moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and we recognize that Jerusalem is, of course, the capital of Israel. But the substance matters and when you look at the record of Joe Biden who with President Obama finalized unprecedented historic thirty eight. DOLLAR AGREEMENT WITH ISRAEL PROVIDING FOR AID for the next ten years, and you look at the security issues that Israel faces. Actually Donald. Trump has not been that great for Israel.