President Donald Trump hopes to win over some Jewish voters in Florida in what is expected to be a close re-election battle in 2020, though his rhetoric on Israel is pushing them even further away, the Miami Herald reports.
Trump last week said American Jews who vote for Democrats were disloyal to Israel. He also questioned their smarts, saying "any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."
Jews represent 4% of the voter population in Florida compared to 2% nationally. Since 1968, though, Jewish voters have voted on average 71% for Democrats – and 68% of Jews in Florida supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Strategists say Trump cannot afford to lose any more of the constituency, even if its slight.
"To move the vote by 1% when you've got 4% of the population, you're talking about a 25% swing. That's not realistic," Democratic pollster Jim Gerstein said. "But the larger dynamic right now is that we do have data from the Trump presidency among Jews, and what we see is that, as hard as it is to move the Jewish vote to make it even more Democratic, we witnessed some movement in 2018 in that direction."
Jewish voters vote less based on religion and more on partisan identification, so Trump's disloyalty claim reminds some of an anti-Semitic trope, reports NPR.
"This loyalty claim or disloyalty claim is actually a centuries-old anti-Semitic idea that dates back to European monarchies," said Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace. "This idea that Jews are somehow disloyal to or have more loyalty to an entity outside of the state to which they live."
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