‘Yalla Brandon!’: How the Jewish Vote May (Finally) Be Changing

The Epoch Times:

Maybe I should have called this article “Yalla Brandon at the Kosher Cattle Call” but too many readers would have no idea what I was talking about.

“Yalla Brandon,” as former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer explained during a press gaggle at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership conference in Las Vegas (the former White House press secretary is on the board of the organization), meant “Let’s go, Brandon” in Hebrew.

We had all been hearing a lot of “Let’s go Brandon’s,” mostly in English, during the conference speeches from a group of around one hundred Southern California college students (UCLA, Cal State Long Beach and so forth) bussed in from Los Angeles for the event and seated near the back at tables labeled “Young Adults.”

Their jubilant cries were soon taken up by the other six hundred or more older attendees during a barn burner speech by Sen. Ted Cruz, filling the mammoth ballroom at The Palazzo with a literal cacophony of chandelier-shaking “Let’s go Brandons” with most of the audience jumping to their feet. It was like a football game in a Vegas hotel.

From his sour expression, the New York Times reporter sitting next to me in the press section was not amused.

As for the “Kosher Cattle Call” that was a phrase used by Fleischer and RJC executive director Matt Brooks during that same gaggle. For many years, this event has been used as an early try-out for aspiring Republican presidential candidates. It was again, this time with possibly more import, since the Jewish Republican group has grown, seemingly exponentially, since the days I covered some of their events for PJMedia around 2008.

Change?

I will come back to my evaluation of this year’s “cattle call”—yes, all, or almost all, of the usual suspects were there, including frontrunner Donald J. Trump via video—but first I will turn to my headline assertion “the Jewish Vote May (Finally) Be Changing.”

Yes, this might be wishful thinking. Back when I was a kid in New York, the joke went “Jews dress like Brits but vote like Puerto Ricans.” (The Puerto Rican vote may be changing too.). But there was evidence, both actual and anecdotal, that Jews are beginning to move right.

The actual evidence comes from the very recent Virginia gubernatorial election. (It was referred to triumphantly by almost all speakers.) According to a flash poll from the American Jewish Congress, fully 37 percent of Jews voted for Glenn Youngkin. That constitutes a roughly ten percent gain for Republicans in the Jewish vote, a significant number in this time of close elections and likely instrumental in pushing Youngkin over the line in that narrow contest.

If you factor in the numerous Northern Virginia Deep Staters of Jewish background who would rather commit hari-kari than vote Republican (they could be fired from their government jobs after all), it’s an even more significant number.

Also worth thinking about is just how few people of any religion or ethnicity ever change their voting patterns or views. Many, if not most, people are even afraid to consider it because of the potential alienation of friends, family, and employers.

Taken in that context, ten percent is actually a lot.

This Republican trend should continue because the American Jewish community is becoming increasingly orthodox—they’re the ones that have babies— as the secular intermarry and identify less with Judaism or any religion. The orthodox largely vote conservative.

Survey

My own, admittedly very anecdotal, survey of the attendees, I submit was also at least interesting and arguably evidentiary in its own way. I took the opportunity to ask those at the conference whether they had seen any movement in their communities.

Their answers were often hilarious. Conservative Jews, at least, are still funny in this age when comedy, except Dave Chappell, is nearly dead.

I got an indication of that with the first couple I spoke to, West Coast Florida retirees to whom, like the others, I promised anonymity.

With these two my question ignited a Bickerson’s-type argument straight out of the old Jackie Gleason show. As Floridians, they assumed I was actually asking about their highly-regarded (controversial to some) Governor Ron DeSantis, causing the wife to exclaim emphatically, “Liberal Jews hate him more than anybody!” The husband just as immediately took umbrage, defending the Jewish people and vehemently insisting liberal gentiles hated Gov. DeSantis at least as much. The argument went on with no resolution in sight as they skipped over my initial question entirely.

Also amusing was a conservative lawyer from Brooklyn who told me his liberal wife, after decades, had finally given up on the Democratic Party due to the Biden Administration’s behavior toward Israel. He acknowledged this was an improvement in their marriage.

A man who attended a synagogue in New York’s West Village whose congregation was, not surprisingly, somewhere to the left of Trotsky, said that he doubted any of the members were really changing deep down, but for once they were shutting up about politics.

Evidently embarrassed by the current administration’s incompetence on all fronts, they had stopped their endless rants and adopted silence. He hoped it would last more than two weeks. Several others told me similar stories of new-found quiet. They seemed relieved.

In all, my survey broke down about 70-30 in favor of those who had seen movement, some of it significant like the lawyer.

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