Picture of Raphael J. Sonenshein

Raphael J. Sonenshein

Raphael Sonenshein: The New Politics of Immigration

Few issues in American politics are more contentious than immigration. So, it was noteworthy that last week in a speech at American University in Washington, D.C., President Obama called for a new determination to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Jerry Brown’s Uphill Climb

We all know that California is a blue state, with two Democratic senators and a record of favoring the Democratic presidential candidate in every presidential election since 1992. Barack Obama won California by more than 2 million votes. But the governorship has tended to be more red than blue.

The Rahm Emanuel Show

It was a very strange sight. There in The Washington Post was an article by reporter Dana Milbank making a case that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s excellent advice has been ignored by a naïve President Barack Obama and that Emanuel is the great unappreciated asset of a collapsing administration with a weak staff. Several other stories followed with the same theme, including a laudatory column by right-winger Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times, another article in the Post and yet another in The New York Times going off on the rest of the staff. While Milbank swore that Emanuel was not his source, it was obvious to anyone who knows how the Emanuel media network operates in Washington that the chief of staff’s “people” inspired this clumsy public relations blitz.

How Obama can get Democrats together, productively

I have been feeling angry and alienated as I watch the Democrats in Washington fritter away their electoral mandate. I’ve been asking why Barack Obama can’t be more like Harry S. Truman. I’ve been watching the party’s fortunes cascade downward toward an electoral catastrophe in November.

Jewish Voters, Obama and Health Care: Trouble Ahead?

The latest Gallup poll indicates that in September, President Obama’s approval rating held steady at 52 percent. He has dropped from the stratosphere into the rough-and-tumble territory of normal politics. Among Jews, his support level is still a healthy 64 percent. While Jews are still far more pro-Obama than whites in general (who are at 44 percent), Jewish backing of the president has declined from their 78 percent vote for him in November and their 83 percent approval rating in January.

Dems Need Muscle for Health Care Reform

Over the last 30 years, the great majority of Jewish voters have maintained their support for the Democrats. Jews are integral to the party’s current leadership in Congress and in the White House. And that party now faces its greatest opportunity in a generation to remake health care policy, and also its greatest challenge.

Jews in Congress Are Making Things Happen

In 2009, the new U.S. Congress has the largest Jewish representation in its history, with 31 members of the 435 in the House of Representatives and 13 senators of the 100. More than a third of all Jews who have ever served in the U.S. Senate were in office as 2009 began.

Q&A with Karen Bass: Life in the Hot Seat

Political analyst and Jewish Journal columnist Raphael Sonenshein interviewed California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass at the Jewish Journal offices on May 29, 2009, as California faces a dire budget crisis. She talks about her background growing up among Los Angeles’ Jewish community, her background in community organizing and her rise in California politics.

California on the Edge: It’s Leadership Time

We all know our state is in fiscal trouble. Local governments, school districts, universities, service providers to the needy and disabled are all bracing for an all-out assault from Sacramento.

Jews and Latinos: The Political Future

Many years ago, a conservative commentator, frustrated that Jews continued to vote largely for Democrats, said it best: “Jews live like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” That sentence nicely captures the odd fact that Jews and Latinos, often quite different in their socioeconomic positions, have much in common politically.


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