Republican Jewish Coalition

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What to Watch

November 2, 2020

One more day until Election Day 2020, and here is your update on the stories and trends to watch this week. Let us have your feedback at [email protected].

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Making the Argument for President Trump: Actions Count

Everybody knows that President Donald Trump says things – and tweets things – that aren’t “nice.” He’s brash, he’s loud, and he’s not a normal politician. But when it comes to voting for a presidential candidate, the key question is not: “What did he say?” It has to be: “What has he done?” When you look at President Trump’s record of action and accomplishment, the answer is clear. Vote for Donald Trump.

Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus explains why President Trump has his vote:

Throughout his term, Trump has demonstrated real leadership -- unbowed by political and elite opinion -- that Americans want and deserve from their president.

Trump has succeeded in lowering the national unemployment rate to below eight percent over the last five months, a feat that took the Obama/Biden administration nearly four years to accomplish following the Great Recession.

…Before COVID, Trump’s policies improved the wellbeing of the vast majority of Americans. The unemployment rate fell to historic lows, including record levels for Hispanic and Black workers. For the first time in recorded history, there were more available jobs nationwide than unemployed people to fill them. Ex-convicts, the disabled, and others on the labor market fringe were able to find work and meaning.

In 2019, middle-class incomes grew at the record rate of 6.8 percent – almost 50 percent more than during the entire eight-year Obama-Biden administration. And the poverty rate fell to its lowest level in 60 years.

Ari Fleischer, who served as White House Press Secretary to President George W. Bush gives the simple reason his 2020 choice for president is Donald Trump:

My choice in the 2020 general election is between a personally offensive outsider who signs good policies and a professionally offensive politician who will turn bad ideas into law. This is why I will vote for Trump.

Marc A. Thiessen says that Donald Trump is one of the best conservative presidents in modern history — if you turn the sound off. Thiessen touches on: Trump’s appointment of three Supreme Court justices and more than 200 judges in lower courts; the tax and regulation reforms that invigorated the economy; his action on criminal justice reform; the fight against sex-trafficking; the policies that have made the US an energy superpower; and the US targeting terrorists, standing up for human rights, and supporting our allies. And, Thiessen notes, “he is the first president since Ronald Reagan not to start a new war.” He concludes, “[A]s troubling as some of Trump’s words are, his actions matter more. And by that standard, the Trump presidency is among the best of my lifetime — with the mute button on."

Bethany Mandel was horrified when President Trump ran in 2016. She wrote then that a Trump win “would mean the ascendency of hate, and an America as unpalatable for Jews as much of Europe already is.” But now, she writes, “President Trump didn’t just exceed my very low expectations of what his administration would mean for the American Jewish community and Israel, but blew them out of the water… Four years ago, I was a committed Never Trumper. Now, I’m not – and I have no qualms anticipating Trump's re-election.”


Looking at the Jewish Vote

Farley Weiss looks at history and says that support for President Donald Trump among US Jews may be higher this year than predicted. He notes that  “when there is a discernible divide between the candidates concerning the issue of Israel,” the candidate more favorable to Israel will get at least a 10-point swing in Jewish support.

That’s not to say that many Jewish Trump supporters aren't hesitant to admit it. It can be hard to speak up when family and friends are vehemently on the other side:

“I have lost friends because of my support for the president,” Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition told me.

…“I have many friends who are Republicans who are afraid to admit it,” one Trump supporter told me. “They’re in the closet.”

Fred Zeidman, chair of the investment bank Gordion Group, and former chair of the board of trustees of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, isn’t shy about his support. But he wasn’t always a Trump fan.

Back in 2015, Zeidman met with Trump during the early stages of Trump’s 2016 campaign. But it wasn’t a good meeting: Zeidman told the future President he could not support a candidate who was openly hostile towards immigrants. It didn’t cohere with his role as chief steward of the Holocaust museum, Zeidman told Trump given how vital immigration was for European Jews during and after World War II. It also bothered him that Trump didn’t voice “pure support” for Israel at the time.

Four years later, Zeidman has changed his tune.

“[President Trump] has unequivocally proven to be the best president Israel could ever have imagined,” Zeidman said during a phone interview from Houston, Texas, where he lives.

“I served in the George W. Bush administration and I knew of his unwavering support of Israel from long before he was president. But even he could not pull off the things that Donald Trump has managed to pull off through his leadership style, as unique and gruff as it might be.”

Zeidman pointed to peace agreements the Trump administration helped forge between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. “Then you think about the fact that Israel’s best friends now are the same countries that once wanted to destroy her? All of this is the result of the table laid by Donald Trump.”

Given President Trump’s record on Israel and his achievements here at home, RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks believes that President Trump will do better with Jewish voters this year than the 24% of the Jewish vote that he got in 2016, and he may come close to the 31% that Ronald Reagan got in 1984.


How the RJC is Getting Out the Jewish Vote

You’ve seen our emails inviting you to make calls from your home as part of our get-out-the-vote effort this year. (Click here to sign up for our last big push of 2020!) An article in the Forward this week gets into the details of what we’ve been doing:

“Voter lists and grassroots outreach is the least sexy part of any campaign, but it is arguably the most important,” said Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

If you’re on one of these lists, some campaign groups even know whether you’ve received an absentee ballot and whether you’ve returned it — allowing them to tailor messaging in the final days of the election.

… Brooks doesn’t claim to have a perfect list — but he says it’s close. After years of using generic lists, like those provided by the Republican National Committee and the Koch-funded company i360, Brooks said his group decided to create its own custom file for this year’s election.

He said the Republican group assembled “all the right propeller heads” — a team of data scientists, demographers and statisticians — to laboriously refine voter rolls to more accurately match religion.

That included tactics like searching for voters who lived within 1.5 miles of Orthodox synagogues in battleground states on the premise that observant Jews are both more conservative and usually live within walking distance of synagogue.

Unlike the Jewish Democrats, RJC canvassers do ask voters their religion, Brooks said, and since creating its own custom list 75% to 80% of voters they reach are Jewish, up from just 20% to 25% in previous years.

He believes that despite the high upfront cost, the organization has “cracked the code” and its new list will pay dividends in future election cycles, allowing its Jewish message to reach more Jewish voters.

For example, the group used its database to promote a video on Facebook touting President Trump’s record on Israel and was seen more than 250,000 times by voters in the crucial swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona this summer.

The Forward also did a feature article about one of the RJC’s volunteer callers. Here is his story:

For the last six weeks, Phillip Richmond’s schedule has been as follows: An early morning workout at the gym, breakfast while catching up on the news, then three hours of phone banking for the Republican Jewish Coalition to support the re-election of President Donald Trump.

“After about three hours your voice gets tired,” Richmond explained. “But you just gotta do it.”

Richmond, 73, has been volunteering with the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) three to four days a week since April. But he’s since ramped up his efforts. He now makes calls to battleground-state voters every day of the week from his home office in Sarasota, Florida.

Richmond’s primary goal is to educate and inform people about the issues and facts he believes the mainstream media doesn’t give the President credit for, and particularly for Jewish issues he cares about. Since the beginning of the election cycle, Richmond has made over 5,000 calls.

“It’s too important,” Richmond said. “[Trump’s] reelection is critical for the future of our country, Jewish community, and for Israel.”

Have YOU voted yet? Make sure you vote! And if you voted by mail, make sure your vote was received and counted. You can use this interactive tool to learn how to check the status of your ballot. 


Be Part of the RJC Action!

Our amazing RJC volunteers have made over 650,000 voter contacts for this election cycle, and this week we’re pushing to make 50,000 more contacts - and you can help! No matter where you are, you can make calls from home and help us reach out to potential Jewish voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, and Georgia, key battleground states of the 2020 election cycle.

Today and Election Day are National Days of Action. We're encouraging Jewish voters to get out and support President Trump and our terrific GOP candidates for the Senate and House.

Please join us! Every call makes a difference!




Republican Jewish Coalition | 50 F Street, N.W., Suite 100 | Washington, DC 20001
202.638.6688 | [email protected]