by the Forward

After Donald Trump Win, Can GOP Jews Unite Behind Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz?

(JTA) — Donald Trump won big on Super Tuesday, but fell short of the clean sweep some predicted.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won three states and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., won one, Minnesota, and performed better than expected in another, Virginia, where he came in second to Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, have yet to win a single state in the GOP contests.

Does the Jewish GOP establishment favor Cruz or Rubio?

They say familiarity breeds contempt. Both Cruz and Rubio are youthful sons of Cuban immigrants who have at times been propelled by the Tea Party.

Cruz made the case Tuesday night that it’s time for Rubio to clear out. “After tonight we have seen that our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten that can beat and that will beat Donald Trump,” he said in a Houston area rally, noting that his three wins brings to four his total victories in the nomination contest.

But Rubio wasn’t budging.

“No matter how long it takes, no matter how many states it takes, no matter how many weeks and months it takes, I will campaign as long it takes and wherever it takes to ensure that I am the next president of the United States,” he said in Miami.

Where are the Jews lining up? Rubio remains a favorite of pro-Israel conservatives. Witness the spin in the day-after column by Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post columnist who is something of a bellwether for the pro-Israel subset among Republicans.

“The premise of Cruz’s speech was that he was the only candidate to have beaten Trump. One problem: Just a short while later, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) won Minnesota. Moreover, Rubio has come in ahead of Cruz in not only Minnesota but in states in which neither won (Vermont, Virginia and Massachusetts, not to mention South Carolina and Nevada). Even in a state Cruz once banked on winning, Georgia, Rubio edged him out for second place. It sure seems like Rubio, especially with Cruz out of the race, would be the strongest candidate against Trump in states yet to come, including Florida, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey (some now want Christie to resign, so he may not be the best Trump surrogate there) and other states outside the Deep South,” he wrote.

Additionally, a major pro-Israel Rubio backer, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, is reportedly involved in the establishment of a political establishment committee aimed at stopping Trump.

On the other hand, Cruz, who just weeks ago was lumped with Trump as the bane of the GOP establishment, is beginning to attract mainstream attention as the best chance to stop the real estate billionaire. That’s true too among the party’s most prominent pro-Israel contingent. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., perhaps the senator closest to the pro-Israel community who once likened Cruz and Trump to different modes of violent death, now says he can stomach Cruz, if it means stopping Trump.

Cruz also posted a list of “Jewish leaders” who have endorsed him. These are routine for campaigns, and in this case, as in many others, the list includes folks whose “leadership” seems limited to their appearances on such lists. There are, however, some notable inclusions: Sarah Stern’s group, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, has been funded by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who reportedly is wavering between Cruz and Rubio. Ben Chouake is the president of one of the biggest pro-Israel PACs, NORPAC. And Michael and Barbara Ledeen have been deeply involved for decades in shaping Republican foreign policy.

This story "After Donald Trump Win, Can GOP Jews Unite Behind Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz?" was written by Ron Kampeas.


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