Trump's Most Loyal Supporters Are Orthodox Jews. Here's Why
While the Jewish community is often considered extremely liberal, the vast majority of Orthodox Jews in the United States approve of Trump and oppose impeachment, according to a new poll from the Jewish international news outlet Ami Magazine. Orthodox Jews also overwhelmingly trust Trump and the Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to combatting anti-Semitism. This support makes a great deal of sense given Trump's record on Israel, his opposition to the Iran Deal, and his support for religious liberty.
Ami Magazine's Jake Turx explained the difficulty of gauging political opinions among Orthodox Jews. Polls routinely underestimate the size of the Orthodox Jewish community — a 2013 Pew study claimed that only 10 percent of Jews identify as Orthodox, despite an intermarriage rate between 0 percent and 2 percent and a birthrate as high as 6.4 children per woman.
"To be fair, if a mainstream polling company decided to go through the hassle of compiling a national database of Orthodox Jewish contacts, they would likely find themselves frustrated by how many callers refuse to participate, not including those who hang up in the middle due to the insensitive wording of a question," Turx wrote. "That’s why Ami Magazine’s recent poll provides such a valuable service. Each of the respondents identified as either ultra-Orthodox/chareidi, Modern Orthodox or traditional Orthodox. Some 5.4% of respondents preferred not to say."
Orthodox Jews have supported Trump since the election, but the numbers have skyrocketed as the president builds up a record on Israel. Fifty-four percent of them said they voted for the Republican in 2016, according to the American Jewish Committee. One year into his presidency, 71 percent of Orthodox Jews supported Trump— before he commuted the sentence of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In a 2018 Tri-State area poll commissioned by Ami Magazine, 82 percent of Orthodox Jews said they would vote for Trump in 2020.
The latest poll numbers are even more eye-popping. A full 89 percent of Orthodox Jews said they approved of the job Trump is doing as president, while only 5 percent disapproved and 6 percent were undecided. An even larger majority (91 percent) said they did not think the president should be impeached, while 5 percent said he should be and another 4 percent said they were not sure.
An even larger majority (92.5 percent) said they trust Donald Trump and the Republicans more than Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats (1.5 percent) when it comes to fighting anti-Semitism.
When asked "Which of the following presidents do you feel accomplished the most for the security of Israel?" the vast majority (82.5 percent) chose Donald Trump. Another 9.5 percent preferred Ronald Reagan, while far fewer chose George W. Bush (4.5 percent), Barack Obama (1.5 percent), George H.W. Bush (1 percent), and Bill Clinton (1 percent).
Yet these Orthodox Jews who love the president are not all Republicans. Only 39.5 percent of them identified themselves with the GOP, while a full quarter (26 percent) identified themselves as Democrats. The others were Independent (16.5 percent) or not registered (18 percent).
In 2008, Rush Limbaugh encouraged conservatives to register as Democrats to help Hillary Clinton and bloody up Barack Obama's path to the nomination. Some of these Democrats may be conservatives engaged in subversion — although it also seems likely the president has won a few converts.
"Why do Orthodox Jews support Trump?" Turx asked. "Ask 100 people and you will receive answers as diverse as Orthodox Jews themselves. You might hear about his recognition of Jerusalem, record-high economic numbers, fighting against religious persecution around the world, the eradication of ISIS, decertification of the Iran deal, the release of Mr. Rubashkin, prison reform, standing up to the United Nations, border security, appointment of conservative judges and issuance of executive orders that promote religious liberty—among other things."
"The fact that he expelled the last living Nazi from America and was the first president to publicly honor Holocaust survivors at a formal White House event doesn’t seem to have hurt his popularity either," Turx added.
Democrats' dalliances with the anti-Israel — and increasingly anti-Semitic — Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement may have seriously hurt their chances with Orthodox Jews.
"What really stood out was that although 26% of respondents identified as Democrats, most of them said they didn’t trust their own party when it came to fighting anti-Semitism," Turx noted. "It would appear that repeated instances of House Democrats refusing to sufficiently condemn anti-Semitic trope-peddlers in their ranks, as well as an upsurge in anti-Israel/pro-BDS rhetoric among certain party members, hasn’t gone over too well with this demographic, whose high visibility renders them even greater targets within the most targeted minority in the United States."
Anti-Semitism has grown on the left, as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) filed a bill to support the BDS movement — comparing Israel boycotts to boycotts of Nazi Germany! Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — leader of the "squad" of which Omar is a member — endorsed Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, despite his party's struggles with openly anti-Semitic candidates. Oh, and her "squad" kept silent when Palestine outlawed LGBT activity in the West Bank, despite their loud condemnations of any social conservative in the U.S.
Many in the media will likely ignore this eye-catching Ami Magazine poll. After all, it runs contrary to the left's favorite narrative that Trump is an anti-Semite. The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center rushed to blame the president for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, even though he hated Trump. When Trump announced his executive order to protect Jews on college campuses from the increasing threat of anti-Semitism, his foes rushed to compare him to Adolf Hitler.
Orthodox Jews see through the smoke and the partisan vitriol. They like the president's record, and they know just how absurd it is to compare this champion of Israel and the Jewish people to the man who targeted six million European Jews for death.
Just as Democrats alienated evangelical Christians by demonizing their faith and pushing LGBT anti-discrimination laws that will curtail their religious freedom, so they are alienating Orthodox Jews by condemning Trump as anti-Semitic while sidling up to anti-Semitism themselves. If this poll is accurate, Orthodox Jews are even more devoted to Trump than evangelical Christians are. How long before Democrats accuse Jews of worshiping the "BAD ORANGE MAN"?
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.