Donald Trump’s impending Republican nomination will spur American Jews to back Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in greater numbers, say several pundits and pols.
Trump’s nomination will pull centrist Jews in the Democrats’ direction, said Greg Rosenbaum, chair of the National Jewish Democratic Council, a political lobbying organization.
“We think it would be very hard for thinking Jewish Americans to vote for Donald Trump,” said Rosenbaum. “We think a record percentage of Jewish voters will vote for the Democratic nominee.”
Trump’s victory in Indiana, which caused his opponents, Ted Cruz and John Kasich to drop out of the race, may also induce liberal Democrats to rally around Clinton, lest their support for her opponent Bernie Sanders strengthen Trump.
“Trump really scares the Democratic Jewish elite and also the rank and file,” said Kenneth Wald, a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “Fundamentally, Trump’s impending nomination has reinforced politically-engaged Jews to redouble their efforts. It may also be easier for them to coalesce around Hillary.”
Steve Rabinowitz, a Democratic consultant who previously worked for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, said that politically active American Jews have been reacting with a mixture of “shock and amusement” as Trump’s nomination becomes seemingly inevitable.
While some analysts have said that Trump has “wide support” among Hasidim, in Trump’s home state of New York, 77 percent of Jews in New York have an unfavorable view of him, a recent poll showed.
Still, Democrats shouldn’t underestimate Trump, Rosenbaum said.
“I would never underestimate Trump’s ability to campaign, to fire up large crowds with a message of exclusion,” he said. “I think we will have to work extremely hard on our side and we will not take anything for granted.”
Josefin Dolsten is a news fellow at the Forward. She writes about politics and culture, and edits the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.