ATLANTA CHAPTER REPRESENTED AMONG GRASSROOTS VOLUNTEERS

Phone-banking was an important component of the RJC’s efforts in South Florida. PHOTOS/Ray Bassett – Maddock Photography Signs supporting the Jewish vote for Mitt Romney were seen all over the Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Delray Beach areas.

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), energized by the role which Jewish voters will play in the upcoming presidential election, focused its recent efforts in the swing state Jewish communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

On Sept. 9 and 10, RJC members from all over the country traveled to Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boca Raton and other areas in South Florida, where they walked neighborhoods, made literature drops, waved signs at major street intersections and made calls from local phone banks.

Meanwhile, the RJC has been highlighting in TV and Internet ads interviews with Jewish Democrats who voted for Obama in 2008 and now have “buyer’s remorse.”

Why Now?

For years, the Democrats have been doing grassroots efforts like this in presidential, congressional, senatorial and local elections by recruiting supporters from other states to get out their message. The Republicans are now at it, sparked by research that shows a substantial portion of the Jewish community has shifted its allegiance away from Obama and the Democrat party: Recent polls indicate that Jewish support for Obama is still high but down from 2008’s figure of 78 percent to between 55 and 60 percent.

As such, the Jewish vote in the swing states is critical in the upcoming presidential election, and the RJC is seizing the opportunity to convince Jews to vote Republican. They are finding that many Jews are realizing that their vote for Obama in 2008 was a “feel-good” act, and many have since turned sour on the current President.

Why Jews?

One of the RJC’s missions is to dispel myths about conservatives and Republicans. For example, many Jews do not realize that the Republican party – Mitt Romney in particular – are strongly pro-Israel and insistent on Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital; conservatives have a place in their hearts for Israel because Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is the sacred homeland for Judaism and Christianity.

Why should Jews vote Republican and, in the Presidential election, for Mitt Romney? Our coalition asserts that Jews need to understand that the Republican platform is based on these fundamental principles (among others):

•    Pro-prosperity. A strong America is one in which people are working and prospering and in which government policies are promoting small business success. This should resonate positively in the Jewish community because so many Jews are small business owners.

•    Pro-job creation. There are 23 million Americans out of work, and Republicans recognize that this is unacceptable. Clearly this Administration has failed to kick-start the economy; if you count the reported 8.2 percent unemployment, add to that all those who have given up looking for work as well as those who are underemployed and have had to accept part-time employment, the real unemployment job statistic is closer to 15 percent. Romney’s pro-business experience and leadership will reverse this trend.

•    Pro-individual. A central Republican theme is that the power should not rest in an oversized, over-regulating government, but with a limited government which promotes individual freedom to realize the American dream through our G-d-given talents.

•    Pro-Israel. The security of Israel is paramount to the security of America and world Jewry, and Republicans believe that lack of leadership in the current Administration has contributed to the unraveling Middle East situation and the increasing threat from Iran.

•    Sound fiscal policy. The security of our country is inextricably tied to being free of debt so we can protect and defend the interests of freedom and have the resources to invest in needed education and infrastructure. The current Administration has racked up more debt than any President in history: Trillion-dollar deficits every year have driven the national debt to over $16 trillion.

•    Pro-freedom. And that includes freedom of religion. Yes, Republicans are pro-Judaism because they are for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

My Own Take

Having traveled to Boca Raton myself to participate in the efforts, it was uplifting to be around like-minded Jews and to play a role in the activities. I was joined early Sunday morning by many local Floridians, Jews and non-Jews who supported the literature drops, sign-waving and phone-banking; even more impressive, though, were the numerous participants who traveled from California, Texas and other more distant states.

After a long day of promoting the RJC’s message in West Palm Beach, Del Ray Beach and Boca Raton, we were joined by hundreds more Coalition members at a Republican Victory Event which featured Congressman Alan West, former UN Ambassador John Bolton and U.S. congressional candidate Adam Hasner.

It was a high-energy evening of fiery patriotic speeches, all pointing towards a final push during the next eight weeks to bring about a Republican victory in the November presidential and congressional elections.

Many people who would have previously sat on the sidelines – among them this author – are participating through the RJC to do whatever they can to elect Mitt Romney. In light of recent and ongoing developments in the Middle East, the Coalition will fine-tune its messages and continue these activities in Jewish communities until Election Day.

The goal is that, through these efforts, more Jews will realize that Mitt Romney and the party of Lincoln can better serve the interests of American Jews than the Democrats and President Obama.

Editor’s note: Andrew Floam is a member of the Atlanta chapter of the Republic Jewish Coalition. The views and opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of the Atlanta Jewish Times or its staff.

By Andrew Floam
For the Atlanta Jewish Times