For Republican Jews in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential campaign season, the decisive factor in supporting a candidate seems to be the likelihood of beating Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to JTA. org. Although Clinton has yet to officially announce her candidacy, her running as a Democratic Presidential candidate is almost a foregone conclusion. Jewish Republican see Hillary Clinton as a “vehicle for Obama’s foreign policy, ” according to a source for the Republican Jewish Coalition, and this foreign policy has been perceived as to blame for a rift between the U.S. and Israel in recent years. “Whoever proves they can beat Hillary Clinton, win and repair our relationship with Israel I think will get the majority of Jewish support, ” said the source.
However, a majority of Jews supported President Obama in the last election, and is that all the more reason Jewish Republicans feel that the ability to beat Hillary Clinton is more important than ideological consistency on other issues. While the ability to woo Jews in large numbers away from the Democratic Party may seem like a pipe dream, it seems more likely if the GOP candidate is electable, if perceived as more moderate.
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Many are keeping their eyes on the candidate Sheldon Adelson will back. The casino mogul spent a fortune on Newt Gingrich’s campaign in 2012 before finally supporting Romney. Florida-based attorney Joel Hoppenstein thinks Jeb Bush has the right stuff, not only to beat Hillary Clinton, but on Israel, “He (Jeb Bush) has an instinctive feel for Jewish issues. He has a lot of Jewish friends. He’s very comfortable around Jewish people on an personal level.” There is a feeling of unease about Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who has yet to announce, despite his support for Israel and proposed bill to defund the Palestinian Authority because, until only recently, he was pushing a non-interventionist policy similar to that of his father, Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has stated his intention to run and is planning to visit Israel later in the year. The trip would be his first in four years. Walker says there have been requests that he visit the country and he responded that “he will probably try to find a way.” Last year, Walker spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition.