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The Jewish Population Study records nearly 500,000 Orthodox Jews in the area and another 220,000 Russian Jews, groups that share conservative beliefs and values. While Russian Jews have been wedged into the district that is likely to be won by Charles Barron, a radical Democratic Party bigot who has made his feelings about Jews clear, many Orthodox Jews have been wedged into the district of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who is not as vocal in her hostility, but who has also made her opposition to the Jewish State clear.
However, as the Orthodox Jewish population continues its dramatic increase, it will become impossible to turn them into uncounted votes imprisoned in districts set aside for African-American and Puerto Rican Democrats. And the day will come when not even the most aggressive gerrymandering schemes will prevent their votes from being counted.
The majority of Orthodox Jews in America live in the New York area and the transformation is being felt most keenly here. But in the long term it will be a national transformation that will fundamentally change what people regard as the political affiliation of Jewish voters.
Orthodox Jews have a birth rate that is three times higher than that of other Jews, Haredi and Hassidic Jews (often wrongly referred to as ultra-Orthodox), have 12 times as many children per household, and Modern Orthodox (who tend to be strongly pro-Israel) have 4 times as many children per household as Non-Orthodox households do. And so given time the American Jewish vote will start looking like the New York Jewish vote. And for the first time in a long time, that will be a good thing.
There are of course plenty of non-Orthodox Jewish conservatives. And there are Orthodox Jews who are not conservative. But the liberal establishment has been able to use the tilt of the Jewish vote to cement a politically liberal identity. That identity will become much harder to sustain with growing numbers of Jewish Republicans on the scene. It will lead to a political transformation for the Jewish community by removing the sense that voting Republican is a betrayal of a liberal communal identity.
Orthodox Jews will provide cover for Non-Orthodox Jews, who are hesitant about walking away from a communal identification with the Democratic Party, to switch their vote. And their pro-Israel positions (more than double that of the non-Orthodox) will end any hopes that J Street or Peter Beinart have of representing a Jewish anti-Israel majority.
Liberals have dramatically scaled up their attacks on Orthodox Jews, from a barrage of hostile media articles to attempts at infiltration by groups such as Uri L’Tzedek, but persecution has never been a match for the raw force of demographics. Smear campaigns, abuse articles and elitist sneering will not keep Orthodox children from being born, marrying and rejecting Democratic dogma.
These shifts will not happen overnight. The demographic trends will take a while to kick in, but they are already having an impact. The New York Jewish vote is a bellwether for the national Jewish vote. And the New York Jewish vote has made a difference before.
In 1946, Jewish voters shook the political landscape by electing Senator Jacob Javitz, the first Republican Senator from New York in 30 years. In 2046, a Republican Jewish base in New York may be capable of doing much more than that.
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