In the previous issue, Moment asked whether Jews, who have historically voted disproportionately for Democrats, should should still do so. Former Representative Steven Israel said yes; former Senator Norman Coleman said no. Here, they respond to each other’s arguments. Read the original debate here
I respect Norm Coleman, but in his comments he repeats the demonstrably false talking point that the Democratic Party has moved to socialism. In fact, our primaries selected the most centrist of the candidates, Joe Biden. Furthermore, the midterm election in 2018 added dozens of moderate Democrats to the Congress who flipped Republican seats. So the Democrats actually expanded the middle, while Donald Trump hijacked the GOP to the extreme right by endorsing virulently anti-Semitic fringe candidates and refusing to disavow the poisonously bigoted QAnon, Proud Boys and other threats to Jewish well-being in America. No wonder so many moderate Republicans endorsed Joe Biden.
Steven Israel served as a U.S. representative from New York from 2001 to 2017. He is director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University.
I agree with Representative Israel that it should be about tikkun olam. Tikkun olam, however, isn’t simply about saying nice things; it is about doing good in this world. President Trump and Republicans have spent the last four years bringing peace to Israel and the greater Middle East; that is tikkun olam. President Trump was the first U.S. president in 40 years not to bring our country into a new war; that is tikkun olam. Republicans built an economy that lifted up Americans of all backgrounds; that is tikkun olam. The Jewish community is seeing this, and that is why they are slowly but steadily becoming less tethered to the Democratic Party.
Norman Coleman served as a U.S. senator for Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. From 1994 to 2002 he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition.