victories and defeats | Jewish General

Anyone who gets 175,484 votes in the House of Representatives elections in Vermont, a state with just 645,000 inhabitants, can speak of a great success. Democrat Becca Balint received more than twice as many votes as her competitor Liam Madden and gets Vermont’s only seat in the lower house of Congress with 61.7 percent. That’s a great achievement.

It’s not a normal victory, because Vermont was the only US state that had never sent a woman to Congress. This is quite embarrassing for a “Blue State”, ie one in which a majority of candidates are elected from the Democratic Party. So Becca Balint makes history. Doubly so, because the Democrat is also the first openly homosexual person to enter Congress for her state.

Deutschland Balint was born in Germany in 1968, in an American military hospital in Heidelberg. Her grandfather, a Hungarian Jew, was murdered by the Nazis. Her father left Hungary in 1957 and emigrated to the United States.

Becca Balint herself has previously been a member of the municipal assembly in Brattleboro, a town of 12,000, and a senator in the Vermont state legislature.

The state has only about 20,000 Jewish residents. Jews therefore do not play a major role as voters. This is different in states like New York, California or Florida. The Democrats had to write off the latter state this time. The Jewish Democrats Eric Lynn and Alan Cohn also lost the House of Representatives elections here.

SURVEY In general, there is a strong pro-Democrat bias among the Jewish electorate in the United States. According to two separate polls released shortly after the election, 65 to 74 percent of all Jewish voters voted for Democratic candidates.

Even more interesting is the question of which issues were most important to them. The results of one survey show that the main issues at stake are abortion rights and the state of American democracy.

Of course, many Jewish Americans also pay close attention to candidates’ positions on Israel. This is another reason why the election victory of Democrat John Fetterman in the state of Pennsylvania was significant. The American-Israeli relationship is important to the future senator. He repeatedly said it must be protected as well as supported and nurtured. Fetterman advocates that the United States continue generous military aid to Israel.

COMMERCIALS In Pennsylvania, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) tried for the first time to slow down a Democrat who is far left: Summer Lee, with many election commercials. AIPAC diagnosed her with a “dangerous perspective” on US-Israeli relations. But despite significant funds invested, Summer Lee won against Republican Mike Doyle by 55.7 percent.

A success story, at least from the point of view of many Jews, partly makes up for this failure. Josh Shapiro, previously Pennsylvania Attorney General, becomes the 29th Jewish governor in United States history. The Democrat had spoken openly about his Judaism during the election campaign. His victory was important, also because his Republican opponent Doug Mastriano is said to have close ties to anti-Semites within his own party.

Jewish voters tend to vote for Democratic candidates.

Successes by Jewish politicians have also been reported from upstate New York, where both Jewish and non-Jewish voters tend to vote for Democratic candidates. Chuck Schumer, who has been in the Senate since 1999, defeated his Republican challenger Joe Pinion with 55.9 percent. It’s not a stunning result, but it makes him the longest-serving senator that New York, a state of around two million Jews, has ever had. Schumer can continue as majority leader.

Schumer’s party colleague Kathy Hochul will remain governor of New York. She stands for moderate approaches and a tightening of gun laws. From a Jewish perspective, her success is interesting news, partly because her Republican challenger, Lee Zeldin, is Jewish, supports Trump, and has been financially backed by one of America’s most prominent Jews: Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, and his Ronald S. Lauder Foundation.

Further south, in Virginia, the Jewish Democrat Elaine Luria lost the House of Representatives election to her Republican competitor. Luria, a former naval commander, has never hidden her Jewish heritage. She is best known for serving on a House Committee on the Jan. 6, 2021, US Capitol coup attempt by former President Donald Trump. Elaine Luria has been known to vehemently criticize “anti-Israel” MPs in her own party. So their defeat is not good news from a Jewish point of view.

TRUMP The midterms and the gubernatorial election were barely a week ago when Donald Trump pushed himself into the limelight again on Tuesday evening. He had previously announced that he wanted to make a “big announcement”. Now it’s official: Trump wants to become the first US president to be re-elected after a hiatus. He promised to make America “great and glorious” again. Despite his previous administration’s Israel policy, a large majority of Jewish voters would certainly refrain from voting for Trump.

However, it is questionable whether he will actually become a Republican presidential candidate. Because he first has to assert himself against competitors from his own party, including at least one who could be dangerous to him. Ron DeSantis, who won Florida’s gubernatorial election by a landslide, is believed to be able to outperform the former president as a candidate for the White House. However, a direct and official announcement of a candidacy is still pending.

Trump’s former deputy Mike Pence, an ultra-conservative and devout Christian, also has ambitions. In an interview with ABC, he said he and his family are considering running for president. He at least hinted at what he thinks of his former boss Trump: In the future, the United States would “make a better choice” than Trump. It’s been a long time coming, but that realization seems to be spreading among Republicans now.

Many of the Jewish Americans who vote Republican tend to see the party as more willing to support Israel, including militarily. On the other hand, this is obviously not the only criterion for American Jews. Otherwise they would not vote for a majority of the Democrats.