Forward Thinking

Bad Night for the Jewish Echo Chamber

By Jay Michaelson

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American liberals are deservingly jubilant. Our standard-bearer has been reelected, liberal heroes such as Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren have won their elections, and marriage equality triumphed in all four states where it was on the ballot. And while Congress remains divided much as it was in the previous term, important trend lines show the fragility of right-wing coalitions between white men, Christian conservatives, and other minority groups. As America grows less white and less rooted in the previous century’s values, this election bodes well for 21st century liberalism.

Statistically speaking, most Jews are likewise rejoicing. According to our best data, the Jewish political needle barely moved in 2012. Most Jews remain socially liberal, and either believe that President Obama is a strong supporter of Israel, or don’t rank that issue atop their personal-political agendas.

Meanwhile, hawkish-on-Israel candidates lost across the country: Josh Mandel to Sherrod Brown and Joe Walsh to Tammy Duckworth. That dog just don’t hunt anymore. It’s not that these elections were referenda on Israel, of course. There are other, more important, issues – and in some cases, the purported differences between the candidates were illusory. But then, that’s part of the point.

For some establishment Jews, this may feel like a rude awakening. The many professional Jews who regard “Barack Hussein Obama” as some kind of existential threat to Israel may be scratching their yarmulked heads. Likewise those Americans living in Israel who voted disproportionately for Romney. Why are American Jews so obstinate? Why can’t we see? Have we lost our love of Israel?

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Lena Dunham: First Time (Voting) Should Be Special

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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Sarah Silverman isn’t the only funny Jewish lady making suggestive political videos for Obama.

Now comes Lena Dunham, creator of the buzzy HBO show “Girls,” with a video about her first time…voting.

“You want to do it with a great guy,” Dunham says. “You want to do it with a guy who brought the troops out of Iraq.”

Unlike the Silverman videos, which were produced by the Jewish Council for Education and Research, a super PAC, the new Dunham video is out from the Obama campaign itself.

The mildly suggestive video has drawn some criticism from Republicans online. In a widely quoted tweet, Breitbart contributor wrote: “How could a president with two, young blossoming daughters release an ad as disgusting as this[?]”

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What Readers Think About the Election

By Jane Eisner

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With so much attention on the Jewish vote in this presidential election, the Forward this week asked readers to register their thoughts in three successive polls. We don’t pretend that this web-based exercise is as valid as whatever Gallup or CNN does in the field, nor is our analysis up to Nate Silver’s standards.

But even though ours was not a scientific survey — more a chance to read the minds of readers outside our usual newsroom bubble — the results pretty much confirm the conventional wisdom.

Forward readers agree far more heartily with President Obama’s foreign policy opinions than with Governor Romney’s.

They care most about the economy and health care.

And they say that Jewish issues will affect their voting decisions, but only so much.

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The Forward's Election Poll: Jewish Issues

By Forward Staff

What do you think about the presidential election? We want to hear your opinions on a number of topics, so answer today’s question. We’ll have a new question waiting for you each night this week and a final roundup blog post on Friday.

In our second question, we asked readers which issues matter most to them in the upcoming election. Respondents ranked health care and the economy as the issues that were most important to them. Lagging behind in third place was Israel.

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