August 20, 2019

2016 Election Blog #21: Jews and their Politics: Four Types of Voters Explore their Options

As I move around the country during this election season, I have encountered four different types of Jewish voters, each reflective of a particular mood. These political perceptions seem to permeate the larger society as well.

The Essentialist: This voter is essentially committed to supporting Hillary Clinton. These Jewish voters begin their argument with an overriding concern over Donald Trump and the possibility of his winning the 2016 campaign.  In turn, this cohort offers an array of reasons for embracing the Democratic nominee.

Bullish:  A small segment of American Jews are indeed “bullish” on Donald Trump, feeling that what he stands for is “necessary “ for America at this moment in time.

The Rejectionist:  Among millennials, in particular, but present elsewhere as well, there is an element of pushback. In their minds the system is rigged and the presumptive choices are problematic.  Many of these Jewish voices are Bernie supporters who are unhappy with the outcome and indeed uncertain what they will do in the 2016 election.  They struggle in part with the media and social network coverage of the campaign, seeking to find accuracy in reporting and truth amidst the sea of information that splashes before them.

No Way, No How: This category of voter is committed to preventing Donald Trump from becoming this nation’s 45th President.  They argue that this nation cannot tolerate the election of Mr. Trump. As some within this category will tell you, “we will go to the polls holding our noses as we vote for Hillary”.  Some may still be hoping for a viable third party candidate to emerge.  Similarly, a portion of this voting group is looking at the possibility of voting for either the Libertarian or Green Party candidate.

Dr. Steven Windmueller is the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. His writings can be found at