Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Progressive and Conservative Narratives Regarding the Jewish Vote

According to Lincoln Mitchell, they're both wrong:

The conservative hope that Jews will begin voting Republican in substantial numbers, thus demonstrating the increased diversity of the Republican Party, has led conservative pundits, journalists and others to overstate Jewish support for the GOP and to try to spin, or more accurately, create, the story that Jews will not vote for Obama. This, however, is not the only reason that this notion gets the support it does in the media more broadly. Progressive rhetoric also downplays Jewish support for the Democratic Party and for the left more generally.

The progressive narrative regarding the Jewish vote is as misleading as the conservative one. This narrative describes the Democratic Party as building its base on multi-racial support and lower income whites. This is an appealing and logical narrative, but less than empirically accurate. Latinos and Asians, while at times key parts of the Democratic coalition, do not consistently support the Democratic Party in proportions comparable to Jews. Lower income whites are more accurately described as swing voters who generally split their vote between the two parties, or evince a slight preference for the Republican Party. Saying that the Democratic Party base is a coalition of African Americans, Jews, gays and lesbians, and other liberal whites is more accurate, but is presents an image of the Democratic Party that may not be appealing to key swing voters. More notably, recognizing this means recognizing that the broad progressive coalition that many on the left would like to see, has not yet come to fruition.

Read the whole thing.