Not too long ago, there was “Jeb!,” Chris Christie “Telling it Like it Is” and even the distant memory of Bobby Jindal “For President.” On the other side of the aisle, there was Lincoln Chafee’s “Fresh Ideas for America,” and Jim Webb’s “Leadership You Can Trust.”
The Republicans started the campaign with a bevy of some 17 candidates to about six on the Democrat side.
Donald Trump’s Republican lead position is, for many of us, quite a surprise. Some even find the entire Trump narrative cartoonish and outlandish. On the Democrat side, there are those of us who are also surprised that Senator Bernie Sanders has posed a threat to what seemed like a coronation for former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Never before has the average citizen had such access to polling, candidates’ positions on key issues, quotes and debate analyses. The circus that is the primary election field are holding more interest than seemingly ever before. And this year, the forming battle on the GOP side between Trump, Cruz and Rubio is heading into what could be as significant a Super Tuesday (March 1) as we’ve had in recent memory. And while the field is smaller on the Democrat side, Super Tuesday could be a defining moment in the Clinton-Sanders matchup.
The bottom line is the amount of information available to us should be seen as an asset in our choice for president. For many of us, the only issue is where a candidate stands on Israel. But certainly there are other major issues that Jewish voters need to examine.
We’ve had candidates who have promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We’ve had candidates such as Clinton who are underlining their support of a two-state solution. We even have Sanders, a Jewish candidate who has generally a good voting record in the Congress on issues impacting Israel, but that same record hasn’t always been 100 percent in Israel’s favor. Candidates such as Cruz and Rubio have talked about reversing President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Candidate Cruz has found shared interests from some Jewish voters and Evangelical Christian voters. And as we know, Donald Trump even took on the Pope, and it didn’t seem to negatively impact his numbers. On Israel, he has said that he wants to remain “neutral” for now. But of course, he has also said he “loves” Israel.
And then there’s John Kasich, who doesn’t seem to want to drop the gloves with any opponent. And Dr. Ben Carson, a righteous man who at one time was calling Israel’s sworn enemy Hamas “hummus.” Some of us dearly hope that former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg will throw his hat into the ring.
So we all have a job to do now. We need to surf the Internet, watch the debates and town hall meetings, get involved in the process. There are choices, there is information. We have time, but still there’s urgency here, because with issues at play such as health care, the threat of terror, the migrant problem, growing European anti-Semitism, the U.S. economy and so much more, we need to not just show on Election Day. We need to know on Election Day.