Axios: Republican Jewish Coalition fires first shot of 2020

By Jonathan SwanAXIOS

The Republican Jewish Coalition will today launch its first attack ad of the 2020 campaign — an inflammatory spot titled "Shanda" (Yiddish for "shame").

  • The ad accuses leading 2020 Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders of being anti-Israel, citing their threats to withhold aid to Israel unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government changes its behavior.

Why it matters: The RJC, which is backed by billionaire GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, has spent millions over the past two presidential elections, leading the Republican Party's outreach to Jewish voters. In April, the RJC board authorized its largest ever campaign budget: $10 million.

  • "This isn't our parents' Democratic Party anymore," said RJC executive director Matt Brooks, referring to the ad. "What's happening to the Democratic Party is a disgrace, a shanda, and a potential disaster for our community. We want American Jewish voters to understand what's at stake in November 2020."

The big picture: Jewish voters overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. It's both a historical trend and a stubborn fact that infuriates Trump.

  • The president has said Jewish voters ought to support him because of what he's done for Israel — such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
  • Trump has said that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats show either "a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty," and he told RNC donors earlier this year that "Democrats hate Jewish people."

Details: The RJC is initially committing only a small amount — $50,000 — to this first digital ad buy, which Brooks calls "the first salvo in our multimillion-dollar effort to help President Trump and Republicans running for Congress in 2020."

  • The RJC's 2020 goal, per a person familiar, is to identify every Jewish voter in the battleground states, contact them and then turn out as many as possible to vote for President Trump and Republicans.
  • The RJC is currently hiring its battleground state field staff and plans a launch event in Florida later this month, according to this person. See the RJC's first ad of the 2020 campaign


This article was published by Axios on November 4, 2019.