Protesting, Policing and Politics: Will Our JPVP Voters Find Common Ground?
Two weeks have passed since the death of George Floyd and protesters continue to take to the streets. We asked our Jewish Political Voices Project (JPVP) participants their thoughts on the protest as well as the looting and police response. It’s important to note that these are the opinions of our voters, and while their analysis may not always be correct and is sometimes based on fake news, this is what they hear and believe based on what they see in their communities.
While almost everyone agrees with people’s right to protest, the reaction to how protesters have been treated amid some of the chaos varies widely. According to Republican Lou Weiss of Pennsylvania, “police response should have been faster and stronger” while Democrat Beth Bendheim from Virginia says, “seeing first-hand how the police are overreacting really bothers me.” Most JPVP voters were not in favor of ‘defunding police’ but had different ideas on how to reform police departments. When asked about the leadership shown by Donald Trump and Joe Biden and how this crisis might affect the November election, opinions varied as well. Amongst Republicans, Iowa’s Harlan “Bud” Hockenberg feels “the current events will motivate independent voters to support Trump as the law and order candidate.” Ohio Republican Andrew Smith thinks the opposite: “It has solidified my view that Trump is simply not up to the job of being President,” he says. On the Democratic side, Stephanie Wudarski of Pennsylvania feels “Joe Biden has risen to the occasion,” while Michigan’s Stuart Baum thinks that “Biden needs to own up to how he helped create this problem.” Iowa Democratic city council member Janice Weiner says, “it will take us real-time to change society and its institutions.” Republican voter Ruth Kantrowitz from Wisconsin sums it up: “There needs to be a country-wide movement to sit down and break bread between cops and residents, blacks and whites, different religions, and political parties. Everyone needs to gain respect and learn to listen.”
Read the latest interviews with our voters to learn more about their thoughts on protesting, policing, and politics in America.
Harlan “Bud” Hockenberg (IA): ‘Systemic Racism Is an Antifa Fiction to Destroy America’
Janice Weiner (IA): ‘It’s Not About the President—it Is About the Country and Systemic Racism’
Stuart Baum (MI): ‘The Institution of the Police is Broken and Must be Upended’
Ariana Mentzel (MI): ‘Trump Is an Agitator and Spokesman for Fascist Thinking and Brutality’
Mark Goldhaber (NC): ‘How Will Joe Biden Reach Across the Political Landscape to Encourage Me to Be Willing to Vote for Him?’
Andrew Smith (OH): ‘I Do Not Feel the Criminal Behavior of Even a Few Bad Cops is Characteristic of Policing Generally’
Nancy Santanello (PA): ‘Protesting Is the Bedrock on Which America was Founded’
Lou Weiss (PA): ‘Law and Order are Attractive Things to Most People’
Stephanie Wudarski (PA): ‘Protests Are Aimed at Changing the Societal Contract Between Citizen and Law Enforcement’
Alan Zimmerman (VA): ‘I Think It Is Important for People to Get Out There and Be Counted on This Issue’
Beth Bendheim (VA): ‘I Give Lots of Credit to the Younger Generation’
Hannah Rosenthal (WI): ‘What We Need Now, Urgently, is Leadership, Competence, and Empathy’
Ruth Kantrowitz (WI): ‘Everyone Needs to Gain Respect and Learn to Listen’
Eliot Strickon (WI): ‘My Pet Rabbits Have Handled the Crisis Better Than Trump’