‘Commentary’ says amount of US political money coming from Jews is ‘staggering’

US Politics
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I used to be shy about talking about Jewish money in the election process. But Sheldon Adelson has liberated us all. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin agrees that Jewish money is an issue, even if it makes Jews “cringe.” He says 1/3 of Democratic money, when the estimates have actually been closer to half or more– 60 percent, from the Washington Post.

Note the obvious corollary of this truth, per Commentary; Obama is making all these pledges of support for Israel because he doesn’t want to alienate the Democratic donor base. Tobin:

Estimates of the amount of money Jews have donated to American politicians, parties, and causes are even less accurate than the loose estimates of Jewish votes, but there is little question that the figure is staggering. It is impossible to determine precisely the grand total contributed to only presidential candidates by individual Jewish donors, but it may well be as much or more than one third of all Democratic money and a lesser though still impressive percentage of the funds raised by Republicans…

Nevertheless, even though Jewish votes are important, Americans should expect far more media attention paid to Jewish fundraising. Thus, the true audience for the Democrats’ massive effort to convince Jews that Obama has stayed true to Israel may well not be the Jewish electorate but the Democrats’ base of Jewish donors. Reports about how his stance on Israel may affect his ability to raise money for his reelection are mixed so far. Anecdotal evidence and quotes from fundraisers about declining enthusiasm for the president are everywhere. But the vast majority of Jewish bundlers for both parties are not typical swing voters. They are in fact the most intense partisans. Given the proven willingness of many liberal Jews to grade any Democrat’s performance on Israel on a steep curve, it may be that Obama’s fundraising will not be substantially affected.

By the start of 2012, it was clear that even if reports of the Obama campaign’s ambition to raise a billion dollars were unrealistic, the amount of donated money would be enormous, if not record-setting. The same might be true of his Republican rival. Neither party nor the vast array of independent committees assisting the candidates’ efforts will lack funds in 2012. 

Given the new freedom to spend money on advocacy as a result of Citizens United, one can expect that during the course of the 2012 campaign the question of the untoward influence of Jewish money will be raised repeatedly by Israel’s critics. This will make many Jews cringe, no matter where their political loyalties lie, but they should not shrink from defending the right of groups to highlight issues of importance….

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