JNS: Despite pandemic, pro-Israel political groups see success in campaigning ahead of November elections
By Jackson Richman, Jewish News Syndicate (JNS)
“We’ve seen a dramatic spike in the percentage of voters we’re able to directly connect with, compared to pre-COVID circumstances, which makes these modes of grassroots outreach even more valuable,” Republican Jewish Coalition spokesperson Neil Strauss told JNS.
As restrictions related to the coronavirus are being incrementally lifted nationwide, Jewish and pro-Israel political groups ahead of the November presidential elections have continued to conduct their business online since March, when closures first started.
While groups such as the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) have been hosting virtual events, like any other organization, the relatively new reality is causing them to shift strategy in terms of organizing and campaigning...
‘Conducting business digital has been beneficial’
On the other side of the aisle, the Republican Jewish Coalition has been campaigning to re-elect Trump and other Republicans, in addition to new GOP candidates to Congress. The organization’s National Victory Team “has been conducting extensive Jewish outreach after seamlessly transitioning to virtual grassroots efforts,” RJC spokesperson Neil Strauss told JNS.
RJC has so far “executed 11 successful National Days of Action, with hundreds of RJC volunteers participating across the country, supporting President Trump and the GOP,” he said.
Conducting business digitally has been beneficial, maintained Strauss, who cited his organization’s “increased ability to reach more voters at home” through “phone calls, text messages, email, digital, social media, etc.”
“We’ve seen a dramatic spike in the percentage of voters we’re able to directly connect with, compared to pre-COVID circumstances, which makes these modes of grassroots outreach even more valuable. Since March 1st, we have spoken to 106,968 persuadable Jewish voters in specific battleground states using our cutting-edge technology, our large investment in data modeling to discover Jewish voters—data no one else has—and the best volunteers in politics.”
Despite the millions of jobs lost and businesses shuttered due to COVID-19, the RJC’s political action committee, RJC PAC, has experienced “very strong” fundraising, following “a slight downturn” during the first few weeks that social-distancing guidelines were put into effect across the country earlier this year, according to Strauss.
“Fundraising for the RJC has similarly been quite successful,” he said. “What we are seeing from our members is that they are especially energized for this election.”
Strauss emphasized that “President Trump has been the most pro-Israel president in history. He has stood shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community to combat anti-Semitism, and he has delivered an economic climate that will prove ready to bounce back from COVID-19 and resume being the strongest economy in our lifetime.
“When faced with the reality of needing to re-elect President Trump, holding the Senate, and winning back the House versus the alternative of Democrat leadership, our membership has responded in a big way. Through this support, we have been able to maintain our commitment to putting forth our largest ever effort this election season.”
He said that Americans “will see our ads on TVs and devices, get our mailings, and hear from our staff and volunteers this year because our supporters have made that investment in us.”
Reaching out to all voters, including the less tech-savvy
Also important to note is that those without access to devise or high-tech apps won’t be shut out of the technological political campaign season, the aforementioned organizations told JNS.
“No matter where a voter may fall on the tech-savvy spectrum, almost all voters know how to use and operate a basic phone system,” said Strauss. “RJC is currently in the process of organizing special tele-town hall events featuring high-profile VIPs that even the least tech-savvy voters will be able to participate in.”
Additionally, continued Strauss, “streamlined programming, along with other grassroots outreach such as direct mail, will enable RJC to connect and appeal to all Jewish voters.”