Democratic Lawmakers View Jewish Voters as ‘Path to Victory’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invokes Jewish concept of ‘tikkun olam’ in effort to mobilize voters ahead of November 8 elections, citing dangers to democracy and threat of antisemitism

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attending a bill enrollment ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday.Credit: ELIZABETH FRANTZ/REUTERS
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – Leading Democrats on Tuesday stressed the importance of the Jewish vote in the upcoming midterm elections, as the party looks to maintain its majority in both houses of Congress.

Speaking during the Jewish Democratic Council of America’s virtual “Path to Victory” rally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Jewish Democrats were instrumental in taking back Congress in 2020 and noted the importance of mobilizing and energizing millions of voters in the spirit of “tikkun olam” (the Jewish concept of healing the world through individual actions).

“Jewish voters will be our path to victory again this November and the stakes could not be higher,” Pelosi said. “Right-wing bigotry and hate, and specifically antisemitism, are now part and parcel of the explicit ideology of the Republican Party.”

The event marked the unofficial start of the final few weeks of mobilization ahead of the November 8 elections.

Reps. Brad Schneider, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Shontel Brown echoed the call for policy in line with “tikkun olam,” citing the need to combat extremism and pursue racial justice while protecting access to affordable health care, reproductive rights, combating climate change and preventing gun violence.

Josh Shapiro, who is running against Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election, invoked the Talmud while imploring supporters to take action. “Each of us has a responsibility to do our part to get off the sidelines, get in the game and get something done,” he said.

Rep. Adam Schiff, meanwhile, urged Jewish voters to “unite behind the candidates and causes that reflect our values as Jewish Americans. Let’s prove to the world that when democracy is in danger, Jews will always answer the call.”

Rep. Adam Schiff in Washington last July 21.Credit: Patrick Semansky/AP

Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Kelly – running in competitive Senate races in Colorado and Arizona, respectively – acknowledged how myriad issues were leaving people feeling hopeless, but called on Jewish voters to turn out considering what is at stake. Their comments were echoed by Reps. Kathy Manning, Lucy McBath, Ritchie Torres and Sean Casten.

Lawmakers acknowledged Jewish voters in general, and the Jewish Democratic Council of America specifically, as examples of a community rallying to boost voter turnout and enable members of Congress to legislate for common-sense solutions.

Rep. Jamie Raskin highlighted the deep historical ties between the Democratic Party and the Jewish community, noting how then-President Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel eight minutes after it was founded.

“Jews, as an often-persecuted minority throughout history, understand that the security and safety of persecuted minorities is at its absolute highest in liberal democracies that stand by the rights of everyone and the rule of law,” he said. He added that Democrats have long been the party of civil rights, women’s rights and the environmental movement.

Sen. Jacky Rosen, Reps. Tom Malinowski, Elissa Slotkin (both of whom are in highly competitive races), Ted Lieu and Don Beyer, as well as North Carolina Senate candidate Cheri Beasley, used their remarks to warn about rising antisemitism. They described this moment as a particularly dangerous time in history and said that the upcoming elections will determine who is empowered to fight back.

Sens. Sherrod Brown, Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Catherine Cortez Masto, alongside Reps. Katie Porter and Andy Kim, and Tim Ryan and John Fetterman (Senate candidates in Ohio and Pennsylvania) and Stacey Abrams, running for Georgia governor, lauded Jewish Americans for consistently being at the center of the fight for justice.

The lawmakers noted several legislative victories enabled by the Jewish vote, including bringing down the price of prescription drugs, fighting climate change, investing in infrastructure and strengthening veterans’ health care.

The Jewish Democratic Council’s event came days after polling found that American Jewish voters are largely in lockstep with the Democratic Party. The Supreme Court’s move to overturn Roe v. Wade and face down the threat to democracy are their prime concerns heading into the midterms.

Seventy percent of Jewish voters support U.S. President Joe Biden. A similar number said they would back a Democrat if presidential elections were held today, compared to 24 percent who would vote for the Republican candidate.

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