Forward Thinking

Bad (Election) Year for the Jews

By Nathan Guttman

  • Print
  • Share Share
getty images
Krysten Sinema

Jews had a bad year in terms of winning seats in Congress, falling from 39 members in both chambers in the 112th Congress to only 32 in the next one.

We pretty much predicted this outcome. But with the breakdown of the new Congress by religion, which was carried out by the Pew Forum it becomes clear that Jews fared worse than any other faith group in the 2012 elections.

“The biggest decline is among Jews,” the research states, falling from 7% of Congress before the elections to 6% in the upcoming Congress which will be sworn-in in January.

Catholics stand out as the religious groups making the greatest gains, with 161 members in the 113th Congress, compared to 156 in the 112th, a trend that may be linked to the increased clout of Latino voters.

Catholics and Jews are all over-represented in Congress compared to their share in the population. This is especially true for Jews, who hold 6% of the House and Senate seats while only having a 2% share of the American population, Episcopalians who are also only 2% of the population and make up 7.2% of Congress and Presbyterians (8.1% of Congress and 3% of population.) Pentecostals, on the other hand, are under-represented and there are no members of Congress that are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The 2012 election did bring, however, more religious diversity to Capitol Hill, with the first ever Hindu (Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard,) and the first Buddhist in Senate (Mazie Hirono, also from Hawaii).

According to Pew, there’s also first-ever member of Congress to describe her religion as “none.” That would be Arizona Democrat Krysten Sinema, an aethiest, who is also the first openly bisexual representative. In a completing-the-circle twist, Sinema beat two Jewish candidates in a Democratic primary to get a shot at the seat.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: pew forum, jewish, hindu, congress, buddhist, bisexual, aethiest, Krysten Sinema, religion

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.