The political season before us will undoubtedly be filled with both opportunity and danger. In our first article I spoke to the very obvious Democratic misread of the current political landscape. I believe that conservative pundits have been correct in declaring that many liberals are “tone deaf.”
In my second article, I attempted to show that the Republican Party also needs to adjust its ability to hear. They must learn to sing in harmony with Tea Party activists, independents, and moderates. In addition, conservatives must master the art of governance during these next 24 months.
In this article, I want to suggest that conservatives and liberals will have a battle over two religious communities. The religious communities in question are the American Jewish community and the younger generation of evangelical Christians. The re-election plans of Democratic legislators and the current administration would effectively be torpedoed, if young evangelicals returned to their conservative roots and Jewish Americans lost confidence in President Obama.
How could this happen? Let’s start our analysis with the Jewish community. Tevi Troy of Politico wrote a compelling piece just two weeks before the midterm election. He reported that a major shift in Jewish loyalties had already begun. The changes in Jewish voter attitudes may not have been seen by the Democratic leadership to date, because most people have overlooked the implications of local races. For example, last year a shock wave hit New Jersey as Gov. Chris Christie captured 38 percent of the Jewish vote. Christie’s success shows that a Republican can compete against a Democratic opponent, if he is on his game.
In addition to the strength of local candidates, there are several trends which seem poised to affect the Jewish vote. The current national security debate has the potential to strike at the very heart of the Jewish community. First of all, many of my Jewish friends have remarked about the “disrespect” they believe he has shown to Israeli leaders. They chafe at the administration’s tolerance of terrorists and international bullies like Iran. They draw a sharp contrast between brilliant speeches and the art of leadership. As a result, many supporters of Israel have vowed not to vote for Obama again.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.