Tuesday 3 November 2020 presents American voters with a dilemma as they cast their ballots in one of the craziest elections in the history of the United States of America.
It also highlights serious deficiencies in the country’s electoral system which effectively excludes minority candidates and restricts voters’ choice to either Democratic or Republican party nominated politicians. With a very diverse population, it is an anomaly that only two political parties ever have any chance of attaining the Presidency and controlling or holding the balance of power in Congress and the Senate. No wonder that the frustrated pressure from many minority sectors is now building up and will without a doubt explode as they vent their displeasure at being disenfranchised no matter who wins or loses.
According to a recent report, five million voters are prepared to make legal challenges once the results of the election are announced. This means in effect that the legitimacy and integrity of the ballot are already in doubt.
Traumatized Hilary Clinton supporters have been challenging the legitimacy of the Trump Presidency for the last four years. Now it seems that if Trump wins this time around, Democrat supporters will again not accept the outcome. Likewise, if Biden wins, Republican objectors will be out in force.
This polarizing of the population before election day has occurred does not auger well for a civilized and calm post-election scenario. In fact, it predicts chaos, riots and mayhem.
Instead of fresh and younger faces, American voters are being forced to choose between two geriatric candidates for President. One is the oldest ever who often seems confused and the other is a mere four years younger who when he goes off-script is like an errant rocket. The Vice Presidential backups also do not inspire great confidence with one beholden to extreme progressive socialist ideologies and the other overshadowed by Twitter storms from his leader.
What does this unsettling scene mean for American Jews in particular and Israel in general?
Nothing good I am afraid whichever way you look at it.
With incitement and acts of violence against Jews increasing to alarming levels the prognosis is bleak, to say the least. If Biden loses, the progressive socialist Israel haters who are taking over the Democratic Party will be out in force looking for a convenient scapegoat. Everyone and everything from international Jewish conspiracies to shadowy Mossad plots will be candidates for targeting. Regardless that over 70% of Jews stick with the Democrats come hell or high water they will still nevertheless be suspect. If Trump loses, the neo-Nazi and ultra-right-wing lunatics will blame the Jews.
Riots, anarchy, violence and mayhem will follow whatever the outcome and the pity is that the vast majority of American Jews do not want to acknowledge this reality. It is a tragedy that the lessons of the recent past are so quickly forgotten but that is what happens when assimilation takes hold or a misplaced belief in “it can’t happen here” prevails.
With a proliferation of lethal weapons in the hands of criminals and extremists and given the current escalating break down in law and order combined with defunding demands for law enforcement the prospects do not seem positive.
Jews in the USA register over 70% support for Biden. Jews in Israel on the other hand express about 70% support for Trump. This contradictory fact is not as puzzling as it sounds when you analyze the reasons.
Ever since American Jews fell in love with FDR they have been almost genetically wired to support the Democrats. Reviving the country after the Great Depression and introducing many worthy social programmes no doubt contributed to this love affair.
However one has to wonder why they stuck with a President who refused to give sanctuary to desperate Jews fleeing Nazi Europe and whose party supported segregation in the Deep South for so long.
The demographics of the Party are changing and whereas once upon a time support for Israel was a given even when the White House and State Department veered in a different direction, nowadays there is a slow but steady decline in support for the Jewish State.
Veteran politicians who knew the lessons of the Shoah years and whose appreciation of what the centrality of Israel means to Jews, are either retiring or being pushed out. In their place are many for whom Israel is a red rag, part of some colonialist and racist enterprise and therefore any Jews who stand up for the Jewish State must be viewed with suspicion and hostility. In the cancel culture now enveloping the USA anyone who does not acknowledge Israel as having been born in original sin is tainted with racist guilt.
Concurrently with this development is the galloping assimilation now decimating vast swathes of the US Jewish community. Combined with a lamentable lack of Jewish education and therefore identification, the transformation of the Democratic Party presents no problem for those already distanced. That is why one now hears calls from disengaged Jews for the dismemberment of Israel and doubts expressed as to why the country is needed at all. Logically, according to their warped world view, if the Promised Land already exists from “sea to shining sea,” who needs another one in the territory promised to us so many millennia ago?
In contrast, the Republican Party has become more supportive of Israel and the Jewish People’s struggle to resettle and rebuild our ancient homeland. For all his faults, Trump has gone where no other President has ever dared to go before. His recognition of Jerusalem, the Golan, Judea and Samaria as legitimate parts of our nation has unleashed hitherto unachievable results. For the very first time, the Palestinian/PLO extortion campaign to milk the world for endless dollops of cash, to use the refugees as captive pawns, to keep them with the help of UNRWA as perpetual refugees and brainwashing them with poisonous Jew and Israel hatred has been exposed. As a result, some Arab and Islamic countries have been emboldened to reach out and make peace with Israel.
Israeli Jews when looking at all these developments can only arrive at one conclusion. They can see all the former Clinton and Obama “experts” waiting in the wings eager to once again peddle the same past failed and disastrous policies. Abbas and colleagues are salivating at the prospect of having the money taps turned on again and the State Department revert to its usual policy of turning a blind eye to each and every Palestinian Arab rejection of peace and promotion of terror.
Moral equivalence between rocket and murderous terror and Israel’s responses to protect its citizens will once again be the order of the day as will hypocritical condemnation of “disproportionate force.” The Mullahs of Tehran can hardly wait for a Democratic White House, Congress and Senate to lift sanctions and resume the flow of protection money again. All enemies of a genuine Israel/Arab/Moslem peace will rejoice as the UN and its agencies resume with the full support of a Biden Administration its endless passage of resolutions against us. We won’t be the only ones out in the cold again. The Gulf States and Saudi Arabia also look with dread at what the next four years may portend.
Is it, therefore, any wonder that 70% or more of Israeli Jews support Trump? It may not be politically correct as far as the rest of the world is concerned but that is the reality.
Tuesday 3 November promises to be a fateful day not only for the USA but also for its friends and foes elsewhere. Strap in tight for a rough ride ahead.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.