Beth Bendheim (VA): ‘Mostly, I Want Somebody That’s Going to Beat Trump’
Prior to working in the financial industry, Beth Bendheim (50), a Democrat from Richmond, VA, held public relations and marketing positions in the sports world, including with a North American cycling race originally sponsored by Donald Trump and known as the Tour de Trump. She was also the development director for the Jewish day school in Richmond. Bendheim was active in the 2018 Virginia congressional campaign of Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who defeated incumbent Republican Dave Brat.
Why is Elizabeth Warren your top choice right now?
I just like her. I like what she has to say and she’s a go-getter. She’s not quiet. She speaks the truth. I think she’s just really likeable and has had plans since the very beginning about what she wants to do.
Are there any other candidates that appeal to you?
Bernie’s got all these ideas. I’m not sure I’m a Bernie supporter, but he definitely has plans. And he keeps putting himself out there and listening to people. I love that about him. I wish more of them had that kind of stamina. But I don’t think he’s winnable against Trump. Some of these candidates, maybe it’s something old- fashioned in me, are just so young. They’ve got time. I am surprised about Buttigieg. I didn’t realize he was so religious. But there’s so much discrimination against LGBTQ communities. Beto O’Rourke was in Richmond a couple months ago and I went with my son to see him. I just really like him. I knew he spoke Spanish. I just loved hearing it from a leader. I just thought that was so cool.
What issues are most important to you?
Health care, women’s choice and gun violence. Those are my top three, even though I care a lot about everything else. Mostly, I want somebody that’s going to beat Trump and I want to hear concrete plans. By no means am I a Republican, but I do want to know how this stuff is going to be paid for.
Is a candidate’s position on Israel important to you?
I’m an American first. I believe in the State of Israel and I know Israel needs help all the time. But I don’t want the help the evangelical Christian conservatives are spewing. I can’t stand Iran—it scares me to death. And I was disappointed Obama lifted economic sanctions against Iran. But Israel has so much support around the world, I just don’t think that’s going to change.
Does religion affect your political views?
I absolutely think it does, in the sense of tikkun olam and repairing the world and kindness. I think being Jewish I have always identified as a minority. And I’ve always had feelings and compassion towards other minority populations. I feel that stems from my Jewish values.
What traits would turn you off in a candidate?
Mine would definitely be ethical violations. I’d be concerned about PACs donating to them and who they surround themselves with and lobbyist money. Elizabeth Warren, of course, has made a big point of saying that she’s not going to take any PAC money or any big-donor money, which appeals to me very much.
Is politics a source of tension in your family?
We are a liberal family and a talkative political family. The only thing we do not agree on is Israel, believe it or not. My brother is very staunchly against Israel, because of what he feels Israel has done to the Palestinians. So, the only fights we have are when it comes to Israel.
Do you support impeachment?