Steven R. Rothman
Steven R. Rothman

GOP’s election efforts are more of a threat to Jews & America than The Squad

Former U.S. Congressman Steven R. Rothman

Would America still be a safe place for all Americans, including American Jews, if the United States was to become a country where the person who lost the presidential election could be installed as our president anyway?

The answer for most Americans is no.

Today, 53 percent of the Republican Party believes that Donald Trump won the 2020 election and that Trump, not Joe Biden, is the actual president — even though neither belief is true.

Just a few weeks ago, on May 30, 2021, Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, a convicted felon later pardoned by Trump, addressed a QAnon conference in Dallas, Texas. Flynn was asked a question: “I want to know why what happened in Myanmar” — where that nation’s military overthrew their duly elected government in a coup — “can’t happen here,” In the United States. “No reason,” Flynn responded. “It should happen here.” He went on to proclaim: “Trump won! He won! He won the popular vote, and he won the Electoral College vote.”

The Republican state legislatures in Georgia, Texas, and Florida are enacting laws that would allow those state legislatures to overturn their presidential and other election results, even if those results were not found to be fraudulent and were certified by that state’s Board of Elections and the state’s Secretary of State.

And we remember January 6, 2021, when Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to have the Republicans in Congress ignore the states’ electoral college votes, as well as the popular vote, and declare Trump as the winner of the 2020 election — even though Trump lost.

So I ask my fellow Jewish Americans: Don’t you see that the anti-democratic, authoritarian efforts and direction of today’s Republican Party pose the greatest threat to our liberty and survival here in America?

Jews, having been banished, tortured, and killed by the millions over the millennia, have found a safe haven in the United States. We now make up 2 percent of the U.S. population.

So many other persecuted, tormented, and economically oppressed peoples have been blessed to become Americans as well. We all came here because in America, unlike virtually any other country on Earth, the rule of law and the hope for an ever-more-perfect Union provides us with our best chance for equal justice and equal opportunity for all.

Our best hope against persecution and tyranny is our democracy, not an autocracy.

The bedrock and irreplaceable foundation of that democracy is that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, now more than ever, grant us a vote that will be counted.

But today’s GOP and its efforts to overturn the results of valid elections are threatening the sanctity of our votes all across America.

Some would answer that they understand the GOP threat to the acceptance of the electoral winners, but they simply love Donald Trump.

They don’t care to think about what would happen if the next person who did not win the presidential election but might be installed as our president if these Republicans have their way, could result in a leader who chooses to scapegoat certain groups and engage in corruption and self-enrichment, as historically has been the case with autocrats in world history.

A few even claim that the six-person “squad” of Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, and Cori Bush present an equal or greater threat than the GOP.

But the Democratic Party is not the one denying the results of the presidential election or seeking to give state legislatures the power to overrule their state’s election results.

And don’t forget that the House Republicans have their extremists, too, including Reps. Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, Louis Gohmert, Lauren Boebert, Chip Roy, and Devin Nunes—many of whom have made racist or anti-Semitic statements and have supported the actions of white supremacists.

It is well-known that the vast majority of the American Jewish community works hard to help candidates who will honor our nation’s commitment to equal justice and equal opportunity for all.

Our community also strongly supports candidates who will stand with America’s most important strategic ally, the Jewish State of Israel, which has often and accurately been referred to as “the West’s aircraft carrier of freedom and democracy” in a sea of totalitarian and religious extremist regimes bent on regional and world domination.

Even if you believe that Trump would be a better president than Biden, isn’t it more important to not overturn the results of a lawful election and thus preserve America’s democracy?

Until recently, I thought the answer to that question was self-evident. But for today’s Republican Party, that is not the case. And that’s not good for the Jews or any other Americans.

It is up to all Americans, including the Jewish community, to speak out, write about, and take action to stop the Republican Party from taking steps to deny the winners of our elections from taking office and their legitimacy in office.

And while the Squad members are not significant players in the Congress or in the Democratic Party, let us still hold them and the extremists in the Republican Party accountable for their statements and their actions — at the ballot box.

Steven R. Rothman of Englewood, New Jersey, served eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1997 to 2013).  He is the former Bergen County’s Surrogate Court Judge and Englewood Mayor.  He has been a licensed attorney for the past 43 years.

About the Author
Hon. Steven R. Rothman served eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 9th Congressional District of New Jersey (1997 to 2013). He is an attorney of 43 years and formerly served as the Bergen County Surrogate Court Judge and Englewood Mayor. He resides in Englewood, New Jersey.
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