12 May 2016
The Jews are a driving force for the left
Why are Jews so far left?
May 8, 2016
There is a mystery as to why Jews, the highest earning religious group, are a driving force for the left in American politics. Their voting pattern makes no sense, both because it goes against their interest, but also because it rests on implausible views of the free markets and foreign wars.
Jews are 2.2% of the American population. Compared to other religious groups, they make more money, are better educated, and have fewer children. According to the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, Jews are the highest earning religious group in America by a wide margin. Nearly one out of two members of the Jewish working population makes $100,000 or more. This dwarfs the national average. Fewer than one out of five working Americans make this much money.
They are the second most educated group (after Hindus) with more than a third having gone graduate work. They also have the lowest birth rate of any religious group.
There is a debate as to what drives these high incomes. There is likely a genetic component to it. Jews are a genetically distinct grouping. Nicholas Wade notes that members of any Jewish community are as closely related to each other as fourth or fifth cousins, which is about 10 times higher than the relationship between any two people chosen at random off the streets of New York City. According to Charles Murray and John Entine, Jews’ middle IQ range (107-115) is well above the average and on some estimates the range is even higher.
Jews are on average leftists. In every election since 1916, with one exception, they’ve given a clear majority of their vote to the Democratic presidential candidate. The one exception was the first Reagan election when they gave the Democrat (Jimmy Carter) a plurality of their votes. They gave roughly 80% of their votes to Barack Obama in his first presidential election and roughly 70% in the second.
Jews constitute 10% of the Senate and 9 of them are far left Democrats. The 10th is socialist Bernie Sanders. They also include some of the most grating-and-obnoxious people in politics, including Chuck Schumer, Rahm Emanuel, and Debby Wasserman-Schultz. They’re 6% of the House (26 representatives) are all are Democrats. They constitute a third of the Supreme Court and all three are lockstep leftist justices.
Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency claims that 2/3 of the Democrats’ funding comes from Jews. I should note that I cannot find an academic source to confirm that number.
Voting for Democrats harms their interests in several ways. First, the tax code is highly progressive in that the richer you are the more taxes you pay both as a percentage and total amount. So in voting for Democrats, Jews are, in effect, voting for higher taxes on themselves. The left’s relentless push to dramatically increase education spending and to transfer money from those with no underage children to those with them and punishes groups with fewer young children, such as Jews.
Second, the bane of Jewish success in the professions (medicine, law, and investment banking) is affirmative action and yet Jews continually support politicians that want to transfer educational positions from, on average, Asians and Jews with higher scores to blacks, Hispanics, and poor people with lower ones.
Third, it is clear that the Republican Party is far more supportive of Israel than is the Democratic Party (see, for example, the Obama administration) and yet Jews lavished money and votes on the latter.
One explanation for this far left political culture is that Jews view themselves as outsiders in American society and feel that the government protects outsiders. Alternatively, their left-wing views might stem from their having been concentrated in left-dominated urban settings, such as New York City and Baltimore. The problem with the first theory is that the same is not true for other outsiders who now vote Republican (for example. Mormons). The problem with the second is that it is unclear why they would have stuck to positions that are no longer in their interest.
A second explanation is that their sharp minds approve of the Democratic Party’s progressive ideas. The problem with this explanation is that the advantage of freedom over government control and capitalism over socialism is well-established and hence not something that bright people should be attracted too. Worse, their horrendous history in socialist countries (see, for example, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) and countries with authoritarian rulers (see, for example, Czarist Russia) should have taught them that too much government control is a danger to them. In any case, the childish positions of politicians like Bernie Sanders (massive increases in payroll and corporate taxes and a 90% tax rate on the rich) should not appeal to anyone over age seven. That is, their voting pattern is remarkably uninformed by empirical findings, morality, or their European history.
A third explanation is that there is a political ideology that has taken root in the Jewish psyche much as humor plays such a large role in their culture. The role of humor can be seen in the large number of comedians who were and are Jewish. This is in contrast to things such as professional sports where they are nearly absent. For example, surprisingly few Jews play in the NFL, NBA, and MLB, fight in the UFC, or win other prestigious athletic titles. I should note that a third of NFL teams and one half of NBA teams are owned by Jews. In some years, Jews are more likely to own one of these teams than play for them. Perhaps this embedded of ideology in the culture explains their voting pattern. It would explain the strange persistence of left-wing voting, even as the American left becomes increasingly hostile to their interests and, in fact, their country’s interest. It would also fit nicely with Jews’ historic leadership in other leftist causes such as the labor, civil rights, and the women’s movements.
This explanation is not very satisfying, but likely the best of the lot.