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What to Watch

October 12, 2020

Election Day 2020 is just 22 days away, and here is your update on the stories and trends to watch this week. Let us have your feedback at [email protected].


Top News from the Week:
Amy Coney Barrett

The Judiciary Committee hearing on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court began this morning. She is an outstanding nominee:

  • The American Bar Association rated her “well qualified,” its highest rating;
  • She graduated top of her class from Notre Dame Law School;
  • She clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia;
  • She has extensive experience across private practice, academia, and public service;
  • She served 3 years on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals;
  • She has earned widespread bipartisan respect, for eg., every full-time member of Notre Dame Law School faculty wrote in support of her confirmation to the Circuit Court in 2017;
  • As a mother of seven, Judge Barrett would be the first mother of school-aged children ever to sit on the US Supreme Court.

Judge Barrett’s opening statement at the hearing demonstrates that she is a principled person who is dedicated to the law. She said

Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society. But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will try to cast aspersions on Judge Barrett’s religious faith. Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, in a New York Times op-ed this weekend, writes that Amy Coney Barrett’s religious beliefs and practice should be irrelevant to her fitness to serve on the Supreme Court. He writes that some of the articles written about her, “insinuate that her religion marks her as out of the mainstream, or unable to serve fairly as a Supreme Court justice.” He continues

Traditional Jews in America who read these broadsides against Judge Barrett can easily imagine similar ones about themselves. We might wonder what the reaction would now be were a member of our own religious community appointed to a position of prominence. After all, the Jewish liturgy’s expressed aspiration, in an existence filled with injustice, is “to fix the world through the kingship of God.” We believe ourselves bound by a covenant to other Jews, and many of our observances mark us as different... Like Muslims, Sikhs, and other minority faith communities, we dream of our daughters and sons experiencing American equality without suffering for their beliefs. We continue to… work for an America where what Justice Kagan said about her grandparents will be true about our grandchildren: that their Jewishness, “strange as it may seem to some, would prove no barrier to their accomplishments.”


RJC in the News

When President Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus, it was just one more crazy thing making 2020 a most unusual election year. RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks addressed this uncertainty in an interview with the Jerusalem Post:  

Matt Brooks, the executive director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, told the Post that “no one could tell with certainty that they know how the events of the last week may impact this election. The one thing that is certain about this election and trajectory is the uncertainty.”

Brooks noted that polls in some key states remain closer than the national numbers, and that the race is competitive. “You have to take all these outlier polls, the very favorable and the very negative polls with a grain of salt,” he said.

He also said he feels similar to 2016, when Trump won the election despite a majority of polls that indicated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was leading the race. “I think there’s a lot of volatility left in the coming weeks,” Brooks continued. “This has been a chaotic election and a bit of a roller coaster. And we just don’t know for sure how it’s going to come out. It’s hard to predict with certainty the outcome of any event in this environment. So, to the extent that people are making declarations that the diagnosis had this effect or that effect, nobody really knows. My sense is – fasten your seat belts, because it’s going to be a wild ride to the finish line.”

Asked about the high numbers of infections within the White House, including diagnoses of the first lady and many senior advisers, Brooks said “it’s unfortunate, and we hate to see it, and we hope everybody has a speedy and complete recovery, but it’s no different than what we see when there’s an outbreak on a football team or a baseball team or in any kind of situation where people are working closely together and this virus rears its ugly head.”

The RJC is working hard in several key battleground states, reaching out to persuadable Jewish voters and encouraging Republican voters to cast their ballots. Florida is a particularly important state this year, as the Jewish News Service reports:

For the Republican Jewish Coalition, which seeks to re-elect Trump and Republicans down-ballot, this means reaching out to Jewish voters in “Florida, Florida, Florida,” the organization’s executive director, Matt Brooks, told JNS.

The Sunshine State is home to an estimated 650,000 Jewish residents.

…While RJC’s “significant focus” is on the presidential race, the organization has also been “involved in independent expenditures to help several [U.S. House of Representatives] and [U.S.] Senate candidates who we’re supporting, and we’re about to announce another independent expenditure for a different race that we’re going to jump into,” said Brooks.

The RJC has endorsed 70 candidates, including Trump.

…Although Biden is expected to win the Jewish vote, Jewish Republicans, including the RJC, expect Trump to receive an increase in the Jewish vote and even win the largest percentage of the Jewish vote for any GOP presidential candidate to date.

At the same time, RJC PAC is also having record-breaking fundraising.

RJC’s political action committee, RJC PAC, has spent almost $1.48 million between January 2019 and August 2020, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). It’s been a “historic” and “record-setting” fundraising year for the RJC, affirmed Brooks.

In case you were wondering when the “craziness” of this election season will be over, Salena Zito at the Washington Examiner has some bad news: it won’t end soon, because the underlying issues that led to President Trump’s election in 2016 have not been resolved. Share this article with friends who think that if only Trump stops being President, the disruption, chaos, and social unrest will end.

Recommended Reading



Be Part of the RJC Action!

RJC volunteers made 18,995 Jewish voter contacts last week! We are reaching out to potential Jewish voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, and Georgia, key battleground states of the 2020 election cycle.

Congratulations to Philip Richmond from Sarasota, FL, who won a 2020 Volunteer Raffle Prize. Great work, Philip! 

Reminder: For every 1,000 calls made to targeted Jewish voters in key battleground states, volunteers will receive 1 raffle “ticket” to enter the prize drawing, and will receive a $100 AmEx gift card.

Join us this week on Tuesday, October 13, and Thursday, October 15, to continue our Jewish voter contact calls. Every call makes a difference!



Republican Jewish Coalition | 50 F Street, N.W., Suite 100 | Washington, DC 20001
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