Pence Out-Of-Step With Jewish Voters

Mike Pence's pro-Israel credentials are more in line with the GOP's religious right and evangelical base than with the overwhelming majority of American Jews. 

The Indiana governor, who Donald Trump is expected to pick as his running-mate, is a genuine right wing ideologue and has the record to prove it. That should help Trump among arch-conservatives and some in the GOP establishment  who consider Trump too volatile and unreliable.

Trump and Pence will be running on a platform that retreat's from past Republican support for Palestinian statehood –Republican George W. Bush was the first president to endorse it.  That should be no problem for Pence, who on a recent trip to Israel rejected a request for a private meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, or for some of the party's mega-wealthy Jewish donors like Sheldon Adelson who oppose the two-state solution.

Pence, 57, will also be a big hit with social conservatives and the religious right who consider him one of their own doubted Trump's sincerity on their issue. That means he won't help Trump bring in any Jewish support outside the usual hardline GOP.

He should be able to help Trump raise more money from wealthy Republican Jews, but he's unlikely to bring in many Jewish votes. At the same time he will help cement mainstream Jewish support for Hillary Clinton. 

He may say all the right things about supporting Israel, but they are what the pro-Likud right wing wants to hear, not the Jewish mainstream, which is overwhelmingly pro-Clinton. He is unlikely to change that.  Washington Post's conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin has predicted that Clinton could get 90 percent of the Jewish vote this year.

His domestic issues record as a six-term congressman and governor for the past three years show he is also very much out of step with the mainstream Jewish community on social issues, notably LGBT rights, same sex marriage and abortion access.

He has opposed banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and voted against expanding health coverage and rental assistance for low-income families. 

In the name of religious liberty, he signed a law permitting business to refuse to serve or hire gays, lesbians and others based on their gender identification or religious beliefs. 

He has been an opponent of same-sex marriage both in Congress and as governor.  He also opposed repealing "don't ask, don't tell" in the military.

Trump's selection of Pence to be the latest vice presidential candidate from Indiana since Dan Quayle saves the governor from what has increasingly been shaking up to a losing bid for reelection. He brings to the ticket a Capitol Hill veteran, a governor and a conservative ideologue.

He criticized Trump's Muslim ban as "offensive and unconstitutional," but that was last December.  Look for him to change quickly.

He won't be as exciting – or as abrasive —  as his two top Veep competitors – Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie — but more reliable, more likely to do what Trump wants and not go off the reservation.  

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.