Jewish donors to the Republican Party are abandoning their party’s nominee, Donald Trump, "at a stunningly high rate," writes the American political forecasting website FiveThirtyEight.com.
Jews are one of the most pro-Democratic constituencies in American politics, though Jewish support for the Republican Party has grown in recent years, particularly among the ultra-Orthodox and those dissatisfied with Obama’s handling of Israel. A recent poll conducted by AJC indicated that 76 percent of Jewish voters are leaning towards Hillary Clinton.
Of the some $160 million that Jewish donors gave to the nominees of the two major parties during the 2012 election campaign, 71 percent went to President Barack Obama and 29 percent went to Mitt Romney’s campaign, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. That ratio was largely indicative of the subsequent Jewish vote.
In the current campaign, 95 percent of the money donated by Jewish benefactors has gone to Clinton, with Trump receiving only 5 percent.
The website says that Trump is a "problematic" figure for American Jews, due to his anti-Semitic supporters and the dubious tone of some of the material emanating from his campaign, his religious intolerance and opposition to refugees and his inexperience in foreign affairs, including towards Israel.
That said, American politics has become increasingly partisan, with most Jewish Republicans – including mega-donor Sheldon Adelson – lining up behind Trump, despite their misgivings.
Despite Jews making up only some 2 percent of the population of the United States, they make up a much larger share of campaign contributions. "A big swing in their donation behavior is probably more consequential than a big shift in their voting behavior."
Policy disagreements are only one of the reasons Jews dislike Trump. More important, according to FiveThirtyEight.com, is the question of cultural and social identification. "If Jews perceive that the kinds of people who support Republicans are not like themselves, then they will update their identification with the party.
"To be willing to donate to and affiliate themselves with a party, a person needs to look at the other people supporting that party and think, 'Those are my people.' For Jews, Trump-aligned Republicans appear to be very much not their people."
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