Mark Goldhaber (NC): ‘Trump’s Position on Iran, I Think, Is Very Good’
Mark Goldhaber (67), a Republican from Raleigh, NC, is active in the Jewish Federation and AIPAC. He previously worked for a Republican member of Congress and the National Republican Congressional Committee, and he was a Reagan appointee to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. His wife is a Democrat and he’s a Republican, which they’ve “dealt with happily for 35 years.”
Which three issues do you care about the most in this election?
I care a lot about the strength of the economy, because it means that young people can get jobs. Right now, the lowest quadrant of economic earners is finally seeing some improvement economically. Also, when I see the rise of anti-Semitism, I get very concerned. (My late mother was an Auschwitz survivor.) And there is a rise in anti-Semitism around the world, even within the United States. I want a candidate with a strong bipartisan pro-Israel position. When I think about the universe of candidates, ironically, the one major candidate who is Jewish is, from my perspective, the least pro-Israel—that would be Senator Sanders.
What personal traits are you looking for in a candidate?
It would be nice to find somebody who I thought genuinely wasn’t just going after the base. In other words, President Trump focuses on a conservative base. And I look at this not just at the presidential level, it’s how I think about Senate candidates. To me the Senate election is probably more important in some ways than even the presidential. I’m looking for people who I think are consensus builders, because I don’t see much consensus building. When you actually get out and talk to people who have significantly different political viewpoints, if you really talk to them, there are shared values. It just seems to me like the shared values of our society get crushed under identity politics. I would like all of my elected officials to be positive enablers. And you don’t have much of that today.
Do you think Trump embodies any of those traits?
When I look at a leader, the tone from the top is very important to me. And the President’s tone does not always reflect my values. Yesterday’s (October 2nd’s) press conference was far from presidential. I felt sorry for the President of Finland. But there are many, many really good things this current administration has done. And I think it gets lost in all the noise. Supporting the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem—I think that was great. Trump’s position on Iran, I think, is very good. Many Jewish voters across the spectrum struggle with this because they don’t like the president. But in my case, I think there’s lots going on within the administration that has been very, very good. And I don’t want to lose sight of that.
Are there any positions that would make a candidate unacceptable to you?
The idea of the government taking over large sectors of the economy, like health care. I believe in smaller government. I tend to be a much more market-oriented kind of individual.
Would you ever consider voting for a Democratic candidate?
I don’t know yet. The most interesting Democrat to me has been Andrew Yang, because of his background. I think some of the greatest challenges we have to figure out, in a period when artificial intelligence is taking over more of day-to-day activities, is how to incorporate American values of hard work. Yang talks about a guaranteed income, which from a policy realm is something I find interesting. He is somebody that understands the changing world that we’re in, and how to deal with it.