Unless one has been living in a cave, on some other planet, in some other galaxy, in another time warp zone, everyone knows by now that Democrats got badly defeated last night—using some terrestrial terms, President Obama described the Republican victory as a “shellacking.”
However, a persevering, optimistic observer will find some silver linings, some slivers of good news if he or she looks hard enough.
I found one this morning and from a surprising source.
Admitting that last night’s results “aren’t pretty” and acknowledging that they represent “one of the starkest shifts in partisan political fortunes in a century,” JStreet and JStreetPAC do find a sliver of good news in the way that American Jews voted and in the role Israel played as a political issue during the recent election season.
According to “data from first-of-its-kind election night polling of American Jews”:
The American Jewish community took no part in this shift, remaining a fundamentally liberal and progressive constituency and deeply suspicious of political conservatives, of the Republican Party, and of the Tea Party movement.
The data also show that in two key elections in the Illinois 9th Congressional District and Pennsylvania Senate race, efforts to drive Jewish votes away from Democrats through fear-mongering and smears over Israel failed once again.
JStreetPAC adds a couple of “quick reactions to the developing results” and promises many more in the next few days:
JStreetPAC and its slate of endorsed candidates fared well in the face of a staggering economy and the most toxic political atmosphere in recent memory.
Overall 46 of 61 endorsees won or are projected to win their races, including 84% (46 of 55) of House incumbents we endorsed this election cycle.
The PAC also shattered its own goal for 2010 fundraising, directing over $1.5 million to pro-Israel, pro-peace candidates, raising more than 250% of what we did in 2008 and securing our place for two cycles running as the largest pro-Israel political action committee in America.
Finally, JStreetPAC describes how American Jews voted in 2010:
American Jews remain a solidly liberal and progressive constituency, voting largely Democratic — despite predictions from conservative activists, pundits and political observers about how the Jewish community was going to vote Republican this cycle because of President Obama’s peace efforts.
The partisan and neoconservative attack ads targeting pro-Israel, pro-peace candidates over Israel failed to change the way American Jews voted in the 2010 Congressional elections.
In order to prove this, JStreet commissioned three polls on the American Jewish vote in the 2010 Congressional Elections and how Israel did or did not play a role in deciding how Jews voted.
The results from these polls can be viewed here.
According to JStreetPAC:
The American Jewish community stood its ground as a fundamentally liberal and progressive constituency in the midst of a huge Republican wave election. American Jews remain strongly supportive of President Obama and his Middle East policy, as well as the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement’s positions on the Middle East.
J Street is a non-profit (liberal—according to Wikipedia)advocacy group whose stated aim is to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israel conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. Its Political Action Committee (JStreetPAC) “was founded to give voice to the majority of Americans who favor a new direction for American policy in the Middle East and to reward American political candidates for their courage and leadership on our issues.”
There are probably conservative Jewish advocacy groups with slightly different aims and perhaps widely differing claims. I am sure those with some knowledge about them will share such with us.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.