Many of this year’s college graduates will cast a vote in a presidential election for the first time in November. If they are Jewish or Asian-American, as we are, the odds are that they will vote Democratic. Among Jews, 78% backed Barack Obama in 2008, and 70% did in 2012, despite a foreign policy that at best could be described as rough on Israel. Asian-American support for Mr. Obama grew between 2008 and 2012, from 62% to an even more lopsided 73%. What accounts for this overwhelming support for Democrats?
Several reasons are typically given for Jewish loyalty to the Democratic Party: President Harry Truman’s post-World War II support for Israel; the socialist tendencies brought by Eastern European Jewish immigrants; fear of Christian anti-Semitism; and the Jewish attachment to tikkun olam (literally, “repair of the world,” but often conflated with social action).
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