By William Madway & Jill Zipin
Many experts continue to see Pennsylvania as one of the key battleground states in the 2016 race for The White House (see “Inside 4 battleground states that could determine the 2016 election“). Although the Jewish community in Pennsylvania is small — 3.35% of the state’s population as of 2015, according to the Jewish Virtual Library — we very well could determine the outcome of the Presidential Election in the Commonwealth. And as Pennsylvania goes, so might go the country.
Hillary Clinton has strong backing from American Jews. Nationwide, Hillary leads Trump 61% to 19% among Jewish voters according to the AJC 2016 Survey of American Jewish Opinion. (See also an earlier “Philadelphia Jewish Voice” article: “Puzzling out the American Voter 2016.“) A major reason Secretary Clinton has such widespread support is because she exemplifies the values of the Jewish people. We seek leaders who are dedicated to the societal responsibilities embedded in Jewish law and teachings, such as equality for all, assisting the less fortunate, treating strangers with kindness, and alleviating the afflictions in our world.
Secretary Clinton has spent her adult years focusing on human rights, social justice, economic justice, and ending violence and oppression in America and promoting peace across the globe. Through his words and deeds, Mr. Trump has shown himself to be completely at odds with Jewish values. Consider his degradation of women, minorities, and the disabled; divisive, untruthful, hate-filled rhetoric; contempt for immigrants, refugees, and Muslims; fraudulent and unfair business practices, and callous disregard for the less fortunate.
When it comes to foreign policy, American Jews, by a more than 2 to 1 margin say that good diplomacy rather than military strength is the best way to ensure peace (see PRRI study of American Jewish Values). With her diplomatic skills and temperament, Secretary Clinton will seek to protect American interests and our allies and resolve conflicts without choosing war as her first option. The impulsive and thin-skinned Mr. Trump, who freely expresses admiration for the leadership skills of dictators, will make the world more dangerous and unstable. And Secretary Clinton’s preference for diplomacy does not mean that she is weak on defense; far from it. The way she has stood up to years of mistreatment by Congress and 18+ months of ridicule and bullying by Mr. Trump demonstrate her strength and fortitude.
Secretary Clinton is a strong and steadfast supporter of Israel. Her ability to build alliances will help make Israel safer and more secure. On the other hand, despite his pandering, Mr. Trump has sent mixed and confusing messages regarding Israel’s safety, security, and economic growth. He also has made no effort to discourage his anti-Semitic and racist supporters in the alt-right. Even worse, Mr. Trump recently uttered highly contemptible remarks accusing Secretary Clinton of “guiding a ‘global power structure’ that has rigged the economy against the working class…,” words that reminded many of the despicable rantings of anti-Semites (see “Trump Accuses Clinton of Guiding Global Elite Against U.S. Working Class“).
Experience, actions, and accomplishments are important characteristics to consider when deciding which candidate to vote for, and Secretary Clinton excels in all of these areas. But as important as these factors are, values matter even more. They inform and shape a leader’s positions and policies, and they are enduring. American Jews, indeed all Americans, can look to the future with hope and confidence with Secretary Clinton as our President, knowing she adheres to the values we hold sacred. Mr. Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he does not.
Article Courtesy of Democratic Jewish Outreach of Pennsylvania.