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The Last Resort: Trump and the Jewish Vote

Al Vorspan
August 30, 2016

by Albert Vorspan


trump-israle-parade-592x420The pundits are scoffing at you for playing musical chairs with your campaign manager, but I think you are very clever and, indeed, I suggest that you switch campaign managers daily to one specially qualified to awaken a sliver of the voting population that you need to resurrect ASAP. Now that you have done your repair job on the African-American vote, you should move on to other recalcitrant voting blocs like Latinos, veterans, women, and Jews.

I was an official in the organized Jewish community for forty years and was once even a candidate for the US Congress from a heavily Jewish district. I lost but I still know a thing or two about harvesting the Jewish vote. First, we must face reality: Jews have voted Democratic in every national election since FDR (he started the New Deal; you can look it up on Wikipedia). The only president who came close to winning the Jewish vote was Eisenhower, but that was because many Jews thought “Ike” was Jewish.

Second, you have a real leg up because of the ovations you received when you addressed AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, especially when you pilloried President Obama and then thundered your conviction that nuclear war is a much neater solution than a negotiated settlement with Iran. You also have the support, piddling though it might be, of a Republican Party that had the finesse and khutspe to bring Bibi Netanyahu (prime minister of Israel; see Wikipedia) to address both houses of Congress without saying boo to the President of the U.S.

My advice is play the Bibi card as heavily as you can. Could you arrange for a photo of you and Bibi swimming at Trump Tower or sitting on a tank? Also, cultivate Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign affairs chief, because his ideas about what to do with the Palestinians are practically the mirror image of your plans for Mexicans, Muslims, and immigrants! Note, by the way, that the Israelis already built their wall, but, rather stupidly, paid for it themselves.

I URGE YOU to be a bit more careful about commenting on various notorious bigots and especially anti-Semites. Forgive me for saying this, but it was a strategic mistake for you to hesitate and stumble when you were asked about David Duke and the KKK. You should have said, “I don’t know anything about the guy but he can’t be all bad if they made him a Duke!”

Such comments would help the campaign build outward from your known strengths.

As for Jewish supporters, we can count on your lawyer Michael Cohen, but not your former lawyer Roy Cohn, who is dead, as you may know. We can count on the casino meyvn Sheldon Adelson but we’d have to do research checking out his wife’s preferred candidate and you’d have to endorse his idea of setting off a nuclear bomb in the Iranian desert to impress the Ayatollah. Hopefully the winds would not be blowing towards Jerusalem, because that would probably piss off Adelson.

Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Jews are really not in play, but modern Orthodox Jews can’t help being impressed that Ivanka was converted by the distinguished Rabbi Lookstein and that her family keeps the Sabbath and other Jewish traditions.

There are other ways to tap into the rich reservoir of Jewish religious tradition -- like re-inventing the holiday of Purim so that Ivanka is the beautiful heroine Esther, you, of course, are the heroic Mordecai, and Obama is Haman. Or Passover, where Obama becomes Pharoah, you become Moses, and the slaves are white poorly educated males who are stuck in the pyramids for generations with nothing but matzo and the Second Amendment to sustain them. (See if you can find an old copy of Your Neighbor Celebrates if these ideas aren’t clear. Or ask Ivanka. Or invite me to Trump Tower.)

A key to your rebound is to double down on the evil of Obama, who was actually born in Nigeria and founded ISIS in Iraq. He also founded, and I mean founded, Boko Haram, which in French means too many harems and in ulpan Hebrew means eat something already. Also, hit Obama with the shocking report that he sponsored, through Hillary’s emails, the outbreak of zika in Miami Beach, which everybody knows is the second Jewish homeland (rather than Orlando or Daytona Beach, which are more goyish -- see the next paragraph on Yiddish advice).

Lastly, you should pick up a few New York City Yiddish expressions which have become part of NYC jargon. For example, when you debate Hillary, you could interject that she needs to stop kvetching about global warming and while you’re at it, tell her and her meshugene husband Bill to stop with the shnorring already and get out of the foundation business once and for all. And to stop calling you a ganef!

I await your tweet.

Albert Vorspan is the senior vice-president emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism and former director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. He was integral in the establishment of the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC. He is the author of several books on Judaism and social justice, as well as a number of books of Jewish humor published by Doubleday.