Since August 2019, Moment’s Jewish Political Voices Project (JPVP) has been following 30 politically engaged Jewish voters from battleground states. Here are the opinions of six of them. To read what our other participants have to say and more about the project, visit momentmag.com/jpvp.
JPVP provides the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed. These opinions do not represent the views of Moment. They are based on the voters’ understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
Hannah Rosenthal (WI-D)
In any election where there is an incumbent, it is always a referendum on the incumbent. In this case, we are living in Trump’s America, so this election is a referendum on the incompetence, corruption, dishonesty, hate-filled rhetoric and actions, lawlessness and economic collapse of Donald J. Trump’s presidency.
We are lucky to have a fabulous choice in Joe Biden. As vice president, he led our country out of the disastrous recession left by the Bush administration. He is competent and knows how the many systems of our country work, and how to use them fairly. Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act, finding solutions for families facing abuse and violence. He is honest; what you see is what you get. As we know, our international partners now laugh and pity us, but they look forward to Biden’s leadership on the world stage—they know him, know he can be trusted, know he understands the importance of alliances and international organizations. Biden is repulsed by the hate-filled language and ascendency of white supremacists. He announced his candidacy by condemning the anti-Semitism at Charlottesville and closed his acceptance speech condemning anti-Semitism.
With the understandable racial unrest in our nation, there is no one more suited who has the decency, compassion, know-how and empathy to deal with this intractable issue. He has had a plan for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and has promised to put it into effect on Day One of his presidency. Biden will bring stability to all this and will appoint the right people to form a strong team to move our country forward.
In Biden’s America, there will be thoughtful planning and problem solving, a belief in science, no children in cages, strong efforts at unifying our divided country, no name calling or ridiculous tweets. Unlike Donald Trump, he will take responsibility for the government he leads. Most profoundly of all, Joe Biden is a mensch. He is worthy of all of our support.
Robert Schwebel (AZ-D)
I will absolutely vote for Joe Biden and urge everyone else from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to do the same. Although portrayed by Donald Trump as left-wing, Biden has a moderate/corporate viewpoint closely aligned with mainstream Republican thinking. I supported Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders during the primaries. I’m disappointed by Biden’s lack of support for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, by his role in Clinton’s Crime Bill and his vote for Middle East wars. But I assure you I will vote for him because Trump must be defeated.
Trump threatens our health, environment, safety and democracy. He presents himself as a savior of the disgruntled population but shows himself to be most concerned with his self-interest and self-aggrandizement; he puts himself above the law and has fomented division and hatred by manufacturing and exaggerating the threat of external enemies, while cozying up to dictators. He appoints incompetent and corrupt cronies to high positions.
His impulsivity threatens us with nuclear destruction. He constantly lies and tries to distract from his failures and lawlessness–including his utter failure in response to COVID-19–with claims of conspiracy, hoax and fake news. He is ignorant and rejects science and legitimate journalism. He has turned the military on peaceful protesters and shown other dictatorial tendencies while harping back to some imagined, idealistic past—MAGA. Joe Biden will confront COVID-19 with science, improve healthcare, abide by the law of the land and return compassion and decency.
Stephanie Wudarski (PA-D)
I truly believe that everything is on the line this election, and that without Donald Trump being defeated, our democracy will not survive. However, my vote is not just an anti-Trump vote. It is also a pro-Joe Biden vote. He cemented this for me when he named Kamala Harris as his running mate, highlighting that he understands that our government’s leaders should look more like the rest of America.
Prior to COVID-19, there were times when I was concerned about Joe Biden becoming the Democratic nominee, mostly due to fear that his struggle to find his words through a debate or rally would be mistaken for weakness. I am glad he has been more forthcoming about his childhood stutter; and I also think that the fundamental nature in which campaigning has been changed this cycle gives an opportunity for Joe Biden’s leadership skills to shine. He may not be the leader I would have chosen, but he is certainly the leader we all need.
Michael Ginsberg (VA-R)
Trump midwifed the most significant breakthrough in Middle East peace in a generation: the UAE’s establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. Trump has focused on the true regional menace, Iran, rather than buying the conventional wisdom that if only Israel made peace with the Palestinians, all would be well.
Moving the embassy to Jerusalem created barely a ripple across the region, exposed the willingness of other Arab states to deal with Israel and demonstrated that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the skeleton key to Mideast peace. Democrats have become dangerously radical. They have not issued full-throated condemnations of the violence overtaking our cities.
They tolerate anti-Semites such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and welcome BDS supporters. Democrats have run all our major cities and their police departments for 50 years (the Giuliani-Bloomberg era in New York being the welcome exception), and the problems of the cities are the end stage of progressive Democratic governance. The Democrats promise to spend trillions of dollars on pie-in-the-sky, economy-killing ideological hobbyhorses, from the Green New Deal to Medicare for All.
Finally, I’m exhausted with Democrats’ endless flagellation of America and reframing of history to paint the country in the worst possible light. They only highlight America’s flaws— supposed “structural racism,” the 1619 Project, the destruction of monuments to America’s founding fathers. This country may not be perfect, but we have made extraordinary progress, especially in the last 50 years. In a world where real genocides and human rights violations are taking place, the Democrats’ view of the United States as incorrigibly flawed and racist is out of all proportion to reality, as the millions of immigrants clamoring to come to the United States demonstrate.
Ruth Kantrowitz (WI-R)
While we may look at Donald Trump and see a rude, inconsiderate jerk, we have a duty to look beyond the person and at his actions and policies. If we were voting on a new pope or moral religious leader, Trump would not even be in the running. In roughly 3.5 years, the list of accomplishments of the Trump presidency is greater than what other presidents achieved in four and even eight years, most notably with regard to Israel and its neighbors. Under Trump, the economy was thriving, and considering the circumstances, it’s doing surprisingly well.
Our military has been restored and is getting the respect it deserves. The media says Trump is racist, but online you can find personal stories that people of all colors write in support of him. The media says Trump is anti-LGBT, but those I know who are LGBT support him intensely. Rick Grenell is an openly gay man hired by Trump.Together, they are working to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. On the flip side, how can any Jew ignore what is happening in the Democratic Party? The anti-Semitism is blatant, even encouraged. Biden has been in office over 40 years and was the VP for eight. What did he do with all that time?
I do not agree with many Republican views—I support fully funded abortions (with parameters and limits), universal healthcare for people who work, or can’t for acceptable reasons, and death with dignity. I believe love is love and that is why I was a surrogate for a gay couple; I believe Black lives matter and that is why I do all I can to support my Black employees in building bridges out of their poverty mentality and why I am a foster parent to a Black child. My friend said it perfectly: “The anarchy, blatant disrespect for public property, the rioting, theft, looting and attacks on other citizens, police officers, historical monuments, and so on is all happening in Democratic-run cities and states. If Democratic leadership cannot control cities and states, how in G-d’s name do you expect them to be able to control and properly lead a nation like the USA? Vote wisely. This is not about Trump. This is about survival, the economy, security and the future of your country and planet.”
BUD Hockenberg (IA-R)
Seven things: Preserve our American Judeo-Christian Republic; reject ANTIFA BLM Trojan-horse Marxist anarchy.
• Law and order for American safety, unity and equality; not identity division and chaos.
• America’s security based on peace through strength; not the Obama/Biden 2015 Iran Agreement of weakness and surrender.
• 1776 constitutional freedoms; not 1619 fiction and cancel culture as a holiday from America’s historical exceptionalism.
• Personal achievement by responsible performance; not dependency on government.
• American economic independence and prosperity; reverse the Obama/Biden Chinese relationship and loss of American jobs.
• Expansion of the U.S.-Israel partnership; reject “the Squad” anti-Israel control of Obama/Biden