Aaron Weissman: Fighting for Democracy

"Are we going to revert to some sort of authoritarian, strong-man-proto-monarchy ideal, which some of the Republicans seem to want?"
By | Apr 16, 2024
JPVP 2024
Aaron Weisman

This interview is part of Moment’s Jewish Political Voices Project. To learn more about the project, click here. To see our other participants, click here. To see all posts from Aaron, click here.

Age: 52
Occupation: Restaurateur

Location: Great Falls, MT
Party Registration: Independent
Jewish Denomination: Reform
2020 Vote: Joe Biden
Current 2024 Vote: Joe Biden
Family: Married, two adult children
News Sources: Great Falls Tribune, Billings Gazette, The Electric (local blog), Apple News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times,The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, Slate

Do you think whoever wins the election will be a true measure of the popular will?

I speak as someone who spent his adult life until 2016 as a Republican. Claims that the last election was stolen are absolutely illegitimate in my mind. I would say that this is probably one of the most difficult elections that the country has faced since the 1860s, and it’s going to be very difficult to see how we can come together as a country. If we’re going to be one, we have to agree on certain ground rules, parameters, and I don’t see that coming even close to fruition.

This is really an election for the soul of the country. Are we going to stand for the ideals of pluralism and democracy that have been the bedrock of our country at least since the 1860s, if not the 1770s? Or are we going to revert to some sort of authoritarian, strong-man-proto-monarchy ideal, which some of the Republicans seem to want? There’s only one real choice in my mind, and I’m going to be holding my nose voting for Biden.

Are you concerned about the economy?

There are a lot of concerns about the economy. Interest rates are high. I’m in the business community, and there’s a lot of discussion about, “well, I’d love to expand my business, but I’m not taking out a loan at these rates,” which is probably necessary to get rid of inflation. I buy all sorts of products that are a whole lot more expensive than they were in 2019.

The inflation that we saw in the last couple of years is really the result of Trump’s policies, which were just propped up by Biden’s policies. And I understand a lot of that is post-pandemic, and it was going to happen no matter who was president. I do think that Biden did a pretty good job keeping us out of a recession.

Do you think Biden has accomplished much during his presidency? 

I think he actually has had a lot of accomplishments, and I don’t think he’s getting credit for any of them. I mean, we had a minor recession, which probably should have been a bigger recession. The infrastructure bill was something that, my whole adult life, presidents have been trying to pass. I think those two accomplishments are pretty huge. And I don’t think he’s getting any credit for any of that. 

What has been your response to October 7 politically?

Well, the October 7 attack was really a gut punch. I haven’t fully processed my thoughts. Do I think that the Netanyahu government is doing everything exactly right? Absolutely not. Do I think they’re doing many things right? No, I do not think so. But does Israel have the right to defend itself? Yes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.