Why I’m a Democrat

This post is in response to the debate opened yesterday on whether Jews should vote Republican or Democrat, or which party is better for the Jews. To submit an article to this series, email stephen@gatherdc.org

The author of this piece wishes to remain anonymous.  The author is a former Hill staffer for senior Democratic members of Congress and still resides in Washington, DC.

Recently, I was challenged as to why, as an American Jew, I don’t look outside of “traditional” Jewish thralldom of the Democratic Party. I’ll answer that here: because on the Republican side I see a party that only cares about people from conception to birth; because I see a party that wants to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation; because I see a party that wants to keep gay people who love America from fighting in the armed forces; because I see a party that wants to criminalize behavior between two consenting adults; because I see a party that claims to be for fiscal discipline yet spends heavily on its priorities; because I see a party that has no problem taking campaign cash from foreign companies; because I see a party that has strayed far from the roots of its founder, Abraham Lincoln; because I see a party beholden to corporate interests; because I see a party that would tear down the wall between Church and State; because I see a party that wants to dismantle the 14th, 16th, and 17th Amendments; because I see a party that claims to want immigration reform and border control yet does nothing to punish the businesses that benefit from cheap labor; because I see a party that believes everyone for themselves is good economic and social policy; because I see a party that engages in intellectual dishonesty and listens to blowhards like Beck and Rush who stir the pot while lining their own pockets; because I see a party that claims to support the troops but tries to cut benefits to veterans when they return or deny them health care; because I see a party full of chicken hawks with no problem sending other people’s children to die in order to line the pockets of their donors (I could go on)…

Is the Democratic Party perfect?  No.  But in my eyes, it is the only real choice an American Jew has.  The Democratic Party’s philosophy is much closer to tikkun olam than the Republican’s “everyone on their own” motto.  It is a very Jewish concept to concern ourselves with the welfare of our neighbors, our community, and those less fortunate.

To me, as a Jew in America, voting Democratic is the only logical choice.

11 replies
  1. D
    D says:

    I find it interesting that the author has decided to hide behind the veil of anonymity, since he or she is essentially parroting the talking points of 90-99% of the young Jewish professional community, esp. here in the DC area. Maybe he/she chose it as an acknowledgment of their embarrassment for putting their thoughts in the form of a long-winded screed akin to a political attack ad, which denigrates the opposing side without giving many reasons as to why their own side is better?

    A good-natured and thoughtful debate is not fostered by someone whose opening salvo is none but a vitriolic rant. Next time, have the courtesy of acknowledging the ‘inconvenient truth’ that not all Republicans support the positions you’ve laid out for them. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and John McCain are at least three examples of Republicans who are known for taking stances contrary to the bulk of their party, regarding such issues as healthcare, campaign financing, etc.

    As a “former Hill staffer” as you’re described above, shouldn’t you have known and acknowledged that? Or has your time spent working with “senior Democratic members of Congress” rendered you incapable of uttering anything but the party line? By painting with such indiscriminate and broad strokes, you are exposing yourself as a hypocrite: ‘liberals’ (i.e., Democrats) are supposed to be more open-minded than ‘conservatives’ (i.e., Republicans), but you’ve shown yourself to march lock-step with the highly-partisan rhetoric of “if you’re not one of us, you’re our enemy.”

    That seems pretty closed-minded to me.

    Your highly endangered, constantly loathed yet consistently coveted, independent-minded voter (i.e., centrist).

  2. Moses
    Moses says:

    A well written piece, but I left thinking that the author is fan of the Democrat Party not for anything it stands for, but simply because the author does not like the Republican Party. (To add insult to injury the author basis their analysis on false pretenses and “info-tainers’ and not actual policy makers or elected officials).

    Over the years, there have been and continue to be many Jewish Democrats in Congress; but the highest ranking Jewish Congressman of all time is in the Republican Party – unfortunately, he is also the only Jewish Republican in Congress. We have more than enough representation in the Democratic Party, but the best friends Israel has seem to be from people who call themselves conservatives, Republicans and even…Tea Partiers.

    If you are happy with how Israel has been treated in the last two years by the United State government, then you should continue to vote for Democrat leaders and continue to support former President Jimmy Carter. But, if you are like me and feel otherwise – you might want to investigate what the Republicans are really about and how they differ from their portrayal.

    You can be a Republican and support gay rights. Watch Fred Karger’s forthcoming presidential race.

    You can be a Republican and be pro-choice. See Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential race.

    You can be a Republican because it is like a big tent with people of many different ideas – but all of the ideas center around responsibility and values – what could be more Jewish than that.

    Happy New Year

  3. Hate gets Hate
    Hate gets Hate says:

    Well that was a worthless rant against a stereotype. First I agree with the poster above. If you feel so strongly as to slander all those who do not give in to the Dems idea of what it means to be something other than a liberal, then sign your name behind it.

    The reality is that most of the situation with gays is more of a generational thing than an political one. African Americans in DC, and throughout the country were some of the biggest opponents of gay marriage. Younger people across the board could care less way gays do. To pretend independents and even young conservatives hate gays is just misleading.

    This same principle can be applied to both sides. Many on the left would be happy if Israel was wiped off the face of the earth. Would it be fair to say that the left wants Israel ruined? By this cowards logic of one person = a whole political party, I guess it would. Reality on the other hand would say that most people have much more moderate position, but its the radicals that yell the loudest.

    This is a really awful, divisive post that never should have been published. If you want to talk about the good that comes from the left, then do that, this is nothing more than DailyKos/MSNBC talking points.

    Didn’t we just have a meeting of thousands of young professionals and sane people about stopping the slander on both sides. Everyone came together to put sanity back into politics. This person must have never gotten the message. Just because you can say the meanest comment, doesn’t mean that your comments are correct.

  4. Open Your Eyes, People
    Open Your Eyes, People says:

    This “anonymous,” former Democratic Hill staffer seems to succumb to his/her own talking points. Instead of parroting nonsense upon which there is little to no factual basis, this person should consider the record, and the record demonstrates that the Republican Party, and not the Democratic Party, is better aligned with Jewish interests, especially with regard to Israel.

    The Democrats, as of late, are the party of anti-Israel criticism and critique, while the Republicans are the party that refuses to send mixed messages about its unequivocal support of Israel. Consider one example: the virulently anti-Semitic Goldstone Report issued before the UN. In November 2009, the House of Representatives voted to oppose endorsement of that report. Of the 36 votes against opposing endorsement (in other words, supporting the Goldstone Report), 33 were cast by DEMOCRATS. The roll call is available here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll838.xml.

    One need only look at the so-called leader of the Democrats, Obama, to find anti-Semitic sentiment. As a candidate, Obama peddled the image that he was an ardent supporter of Israel, but few Jews actually looked at his record, which spoke a quite different message. Indeed, Obama never signed onto any resolution recognizing Israel’s anniversaries of independence. Obama never endorsed Resolution 499, which called upon the Palestinian Authority to officially abrogate the ten articles in the Fatah Constitution that called for Israel’s destruction and terrorism against Israel. Obama never supported the Palestinian Compliance Act of 2006 and never signed onto Senate Joint Resolution 12, which recognized Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel before the United States recognizes a Palestinian state. Furthermore, Obama did not sign onto Resolution 292, which called upon then-President Bush to condemn anti-Israel sentiments expressed by Iran’s president. Obama’s post-January 20, 2009 conduct toward Israel demonstrates his virulent anti-Semitic sentiment, and that sentiment dangerously permeates into the party he leads.

    Quite frankly, with the sentiment expressed and held by Obama and other Democrats, it is almost like volunteering for a death march to align one’s politics with the Democratic Party. Perhaps the author should take the wax out of his/her ear and switch off NPR and CNN as doing so will open up a frightening reality: Jews and Israel under the Democrats, are not as safe as Jews and Israel under the Republicans.

    Remember, Jimmy Carter (Democrat) made peace between Israel and Egypt but turned out to be a virulent anti-Semite. His failure to broker a deal concerning Gaza haunts Israel today, and it is apparent that his efforts in 1977-79 were disingenuous. Bill Clinton (Democrat) made peace between Israel and Jordan but, in doing so, forgave all of Jordan’s debt. Yet, Jordan has never been held responsible for its participation in perpetuating (and, arguably, cause of) the Palestinian “problem.” By contrast, Nixon, Reagan, H.W. Bush, and G.W. Bush provided tangible, real support to Israel, with Nixon helping our nation survive the Yom Kippur attack.

    Before you’re quick to attack the Republican Party, read the facts. As a Jew, you owe it to yourself and to the survival of our people to do so.

  5. Zev
    Zev says:

    A more honest title for this piece is “Why I Don’t Like the Republican Party.” Bashing the other side, but failing to come up with their own ideas is so typical of many liberals that I don’t even need to elaborate on it.

  6. Stephen Richer
    Stephen Richer says:

    Two notes. 1) I love that everyone bashes him for writing anonymously and then proceeds to post an anonymous comment… 🙂 2) Where are the supporters? (presumably Dems?)

  7. Lurker
    Lurker says:

    Just wanted to say that I’m enjoying reading the back-and-forth discussion (well, mostly back-forth-forth-forth)(or is it forth-back-back-back?).

    And a quote from my father – “If you’re young and you’re not a Democrat, you don’t have a heart. If you’re older and not a Republican, you don’t have a brain.”

  8. Muktza
    Muktza says:

    Just read between the lines of this hateful typical democRAT; the reason so many Jews label themselves democrats is just because they feel they’re “better” than the average Republican (whose stereotype is a redneck with sub-average intelligence).

    • Jay Davee
      Jay Davee says:

      I find it humorous that you believe Republicans are stereotyped as “redneck with sub-average intelligence.” You actually couldn’t be father from the truth. Democrats are the ones standing up for the average Americans, middle and lower class. They’re the ones whose campaigns are funded by low dollar donors and those who can’t afford to write big checks. Check any Republican office holder’s finance reports, their campaigns are 60% funded by high dollar, over paid millionaires who know that the candidate will keep THEIR interests in mind and NOT the middle class American. I suggest you dig deeper. However, you won’t have to dig too far — tune into the current GOP presidential race, or here’s a little blog spot from http://www.opensecrets.org:

      “Overall, since he launched his re-election campaign in April, Obama has raised about $125 million. Thus, about 47 percent of his total receipts — nearly $1 out of every $2 raised — has come from a donor of $200 or less.” –

  9. Jay Davee
    Jay Davee says:

    I find this to be quite the read. Kudos to the author.
    I actually work for a Democratic candidate who stands PRO-Israel relations and has been very vocal about it.
    This may have seemed like an anti-GOP rank without facts and figures, but take any one of those issues mentioned and dig deeper yourselves. You’ll find the facts and figures needed to back it all up. Of that, I am sure.

    DEMOCRATS 2012


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