Many people were stunned by Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election. As the new president-elect constructs his cabinet, speculation continues to build about what his policies might ultimately be.
That’s hard to say. Campaign rhetoric, no matter how soft or harsh in tone, rarely evolves into a hard and fast political agenda. Trump isn’t a conventional politician, so this could end up being an unusual instance. I strongly doubt it, however.
Regardless, the political left and small fragments of the political right have reacted in a highly irrational manner. From violent protests to ridiculous hashtags such as #notmypresident, they’ve whined and complained about the election result. Well, guess what? Most conservatives were just as frustrated with newly elected Democratic presidents. Yet, they didn’t riot in the streets, but wished them well and looked forward to facing off against them in four years’ time.
That’s how democracy works, folks. Grin and bear it.
Indeed, Trump concerned some small “c” conservatives on the campaign hustings, myself included. He made many irresponsible and offensive comments, some of which he eventually walked back. He also doesn’t resemble either a conservative or Republican, and his non-ideological outlook continues to worry me.
Yet, I’ll give credit where credit’s due. Trump has acted more like a leader in recent weeks. He’s building bridges with Republicans he feuded with and handled his first face-to-face meeting with President Barack Obama in a professional manner. Most of his early cabinet picks have been good, in my opinion, and I look forward to seeing the final product.
Trump also realizes he has a massive opportunity to run a successful administration. He has a GOP-controlled Congress, a majority of governors and the ability to nominate the all-important ninth member of the U.S. Supreme Court. For a billionaire businessman and ex-reality TV star with no political experience, it’s a blessing in disguise.
Meanwhile, he received a lofty amount of support, including from some of the groups he criticized during the campaign. According to Edison Research for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News, he received the support of 90 per cent of Republicans, 48 per cent of independents, 41 per cent of moderates, 42 per cent of women, 29 per cent of Hispanics, 29 per cent of Asians, 52 per cent of Catholics and 24 per cent of Jews.
For this particular audience, the latter number is worth further analysis.
In a post-World War II context, Trump’s support from American Jews is quite good. It’s not as high as Dwight Eisenhower (40 per cent in 1956) or Ronald Reagan (39 per cent in 1980), but far exceeds Thomas Dewey (10 per cent in 1948), Barry Goldwater (10 per cent in 1964) and George H.W. Bush (11 per cent in 1992).
Trump’s 2016 total also equals George W. Bush’s 2004 total, and the latter is recognized, along with Reagan, as one of the most philo-Semitic Republican presidents.
Then again, should we really be surprised? Trump has long maintained close relationships with Jews, including political supporters such as Carl Icahn and Steve Wynn. He strongly supports Israel. His daughter, Ivanka, married New York Observer owner Jared Kushner and converted to Judaism, while his other adult children are either married to or dating people with full or partial Jewish lineage.
Meanwhile, a Nov. 14 JTA piece identified some Jews in Trump’s inner circle, including in politics (Boris Epshteyn, Stephen Miller, Michael Glassner), law (Jason Greenblatt, David Friedman) and business (Steven Mnuchin, Lewis Eisenberg).
In his victory speech, Trump said, “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.”
Jews will obviously agree and disagree with his policies. Yet it’s clear they have absolutely nothing to fear from a Trump presidency. And, if you start to think about it more rationally, neither does anyone else.