Did Obama/Pelosi Just Hand Over the Florida 2016 Election To GOP?
M. Joseph Sheppard
President Obama could have played it diplomatically, or even courteously, but, as is his wont and as he is not running for re-election, chose to snub Benyamin Netanyahu. Since President Obama is the lamest of lame ducks having to live with an opposition controlled Congress there is no point in going into whatever psychological reasons drove him to act as he has.
What is at stake here rather, apart from of course the very existence of Israel, are the 2016 presidential elections (which may also have similar ramifications if Obama’s actions have not fully jeopardized Israel by then).
The reality of Electoral College numbers are such that if the GOP loses Florida they have lost the election. If they win it they still have to win some other key states but are still in the hunt. Obviously demographics are a major factor in how Florida goes on election day. In 2012 President Obama won the state by 50.01 to 49.13 (74,309 votes) which is a landslide compared to Bush versus Gore in 2000. The point clearly is that Florida can be won by a hairsbreadth either way, and spells doom for the GOP if lost.
Every ethnic group in Florida is vital, but for the GOP the substantial Jewish population,+636,000 and at 3.3% more than 50% higher than the national average, is key. It is key because of the historic fluidity and movement to the Republicans (President Obama received 69% of the Jewish vote (down from 74% in 2008).
Nationwide, from an all time high of 90% for Roosevelt in 1944 to 80% for Clinton in 1992 the shift to the GOP is marked, with President Obama having received 69% of the Jewish vote in 2012. The trend from leftist solidarity, Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs received an astonishing 38% of the Jewish vote in 1920, to conservative middle class economic and social voting considerations is gathering apace.
If there is anything that might accelerate this clearly evolving historic process it could well be the threat to the very existence of Israel. Surely Prime Minister Netanyahu would not take the massive step of accepting an invitation to address a joint session of Congress, with all the political ramifications involved, unless he thought there was substantial substance to the perceived threat from a nuclear weapon capable future Iran. It is not a step too far that this perception would also be keenly seen by the Jewish American voting community.
President Obama’s clear snub of Netanyahu, the reported 55 democratic lawmakers who chose not to attend his address and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarkable outburst, point markedly to the Jewish community as to who is the true friend of Israel. If it is a matter of degree it can be put this way. “The GOP is 100% supportive of Israel and can be relied upon completely. The Democrats are publicly committed to Israel but the depth of that commitment and the reliability of its support is open to conjecture.”
If this percentage of commitment scenario was related to e.g. foreign aid or weapon delivery of the Palestinian question then there is room for debate. But if, in the final analysis it pertains to a nuclear weapon capable Iran and the possible destruction of Israel there is no room for debate, not the slightest, not one iota.
If this reality strikes Jewish voters in Florida as something that has to be supported at the ballot box, then just a swing of under 1% will deliver the state to the GOP in 2016. The other state that then needs to fall is Ohio, with a swing of just 2.98 where, reflecting historic trends, the Jewish vote for Obama in 2012 was 69%.
With President Obama’s truculence, the existential threat to Israel, Netanyahu’s plea and the overwhelmingly positive Republican response to it, and statements like this from Pelosi “I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech — saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.” The Democrat’s, especially in the persons of the President, House Minority leader and 50 lawmakers may have just handed Florida, and the presidency to the GOP-for Israel’s sake one can only hope so.
The question that follows is “who amongst the potential Republican candidates has shown the greatest commitment to Israel”. Only one had 60,000 people turnout for a speech in Miami and wears the “Star of David” which may be a pointer and the final connection to the winning of Florida.