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“Conservative” Jewish Commentators Trash Trump

Don Rose 9 January 2019 No Comment

Dare we mix religion and politics? A generation of parents warned their kids not to discuss either in polite company–let alone intertwine them.

Nevertheless, we’ve heard plenty about Protestant Evangelicals and their unswerving devotion to Donald Trump despite his un-Christian personal behavior.


We also note that Jewish voters are the second most loyal Democrats after African Americans, with 70 to 80 percent of their votes going to Democratic presidential candidates since Bill Clinton in 1992. (African Americans vote about 90 percent Democratic, a number Franklin D. Roosevelt won among Jewish voters.)

But more than a half dozen of the most prominent conservative Republican columnists and commentators are Jewish–although they don’t necessarily focus through a Jewish lens. The exception is John Podhoretz, who inherited the editorship of Commentary, a journal of Jewish thought, from his father Norman–a former liberal who became a progenitor of neoconservatism.

Do any influence conservative Jewish voters?

A cofounder of neoconservatism was Irving Kristol, an ex-Trotskyist, who begat William, who promoted the movement as a columnist for the New York Times and cofounded the recently folded Weekly Standard with John Podhoretz. The Standard was considered the most influential conservative journal of our day–surpassing William F. Buckley’s “National Review.”

Podhoretz and Kristol, however, are staunchly opposed to Trump , joining a cohort of ardent Jewish conservatives in what’s known as the Never Trump movement. Check MSNBC or CNN and you’re likely to find one or the other on a panel with the liberal commentariat piling on poor Donald like the Bears’ defense smothering a quarterback.

You’ll also find panels with Never Trumpers such as the Washington Post’s token conservative Jennifer Rubin; the Atlantic’s David Frum, who coined “the axis of evil” as a speechwriter for George W. Bush; or Mona Charen, long a GOP operative and scribe, along with Bret Stephens, a former editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, now one of the Times’ conservative columnists.

The first conservative to brand Trump a fascist is Max Boot, a contributor to Commentary and the Standard, who was an op-ed editor of the Journal. He is so disgusted he has literally given up on Republican conservatism. David Brooks, another Times conservative columnist seems to be doing the same.

I mustn’t forget the late Charles Krauthammer, one of the most conservative and most respected of the lot, who was a powerful Never Trumper–but a regular Darth Vader to progressives like me.

Of course you don’t have to be Jewish to join the Never Trump club. Consider the youthful conservative S .E. Cupp or the elder George F. Will, both professed atheists with Christian backgrounds, and Charlie Sykes, a Catholic convert.

What intrigues me is whether those conservative Jewish public intellectuals will help reduce the 24 percent of the Jewish vote Trump got in 2016–if he is a candidate in 2020. Although Jews are a mere 2 percent of the population, the four states with the largest number of Jewish voters represent 127 of the 240 electoral votes needed to win–including all-important Florida which is 3.4 percent Jewish.

Light the menorah.

Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

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