Election Day is less than a week away. As much as we may find politics distasteful, it is important for all of us to participate in the process. The crucial decisions that will impact on our lives, from the security of Israel to our safety here, will be made by the people who are elected this coming Tuesday.
While the election is still a few days away, I can already tell you what the results in Queens will be. Joe Biden will carry Queens and New York handily. The Democrats will sweep every office in Queens.
The result of the Presidential election will be decided in a few battleground states. Controls of the US Senate will be determined by a few closely contested races. Control of the House of Representatives will depend on a few swing districts.
While the Presidential race will draw the most headlines, control of Congress is equally important. It is Congress that appropriates funds and passes laws. The executive decisions of one President can be undone by another. It is acts of Congress that have the force of law.
Presidents have come and gone. Some have been more supportive of Israel, some less so. The one constant in the US-Israel relationship over the past 78 years has been support for Israel in Congress.
When public officials believe that their party has a monopoly on virtue and that their opponents are enemies to be defeated, it is a sign of narrow-mindedness and arrogance. When Congress is closely divided and each party insists on complete victory, the result is gridlock. The challenges facing us are not addressed and people loose faith in our government and our institutions. Elected officials who are committed to bipartisanship and put country ahead of party can learn from each other and work together for the benefit of all of the people.
One thing that the extreme left and the extreme right share in common is contempt for Jews. A polarized Congress and a polarized country are dangerous for our community.
Neither party has a monopoly on virtue. Neither party should be demonized. It is in our best interest to have Senators and Representatives from both parties who are supportive of Israel and committed to putting country above party and working to promote bipartisan solutions to the challenges that face us.
There will be elections in 49 other states on Tuesday. The Senators chosen will have the same vote as Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The Representatives will have the same vote as Grace Meng and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A number of those races are up for grabs, and the results can have as much impact on our community as the results here in Queens.
The good news is that we have the ability to make a difference in those races. We actually can do more to influence the results in other states than we can in Queens.
A key to success in any close election is the get-out-the-vote drive. This involves candidates identifying their likely supporters and making sure they vote. Making phone calls to voters before Election Day and on Election Day is a crucial part of any get-out-the-vote drive. COVID-19 is limiting the ability of campaign volunteers to canvass door to door. In this election, phone calls are more important than ever. Many of the most important Senate and House races will be decided by a margin of less than one vote per precinct. Bringing out just one more voter in each precinct can mean the difference between victory and defeat. This means that anyone with a cell phone can have an impact on any Congressional race anywhere in the country. By devoting just one hour of your time in the week leading up to Election Day and on Election Day itself, you can bring out that one vote in that one precinct that will re-elect a Senator or Representative who supports Israel and is committed to putting country above party and willing to work across the aisle to benefit all Americans.
The bad news is that Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are hard at work. Their supporters have already made 26 million calls promoting their agenda. Last week they held an online session to train even more of their supporters to make calls to swing districts throughout the country. That is what we need to counter. We can’t do it alone, but we need to do our part.
I am focusing on two Senate races and two House races, where incumbents – one Democrat and one Republican, with solid pro-Israel records and a commitment to bipartisanship – are facing tough re-election challenges. Your help, by making phone calls or sending text messages on their behalf, can make the difference in re-electing these outstanding public officials.
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Senator Collins is a founder of the Commonsense Coalition, a group of eight Senators committed to working across party lines. She has consistently been rated as the most bipartisan Senator. She has won her past races by large margins but incurred the wrath of Democrats nationwide for voting to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Contributions to her opponent have poured in from across the country.
Senator Collins opposed the Iran deal, opposed UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which claimed that Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria have no legal validity, supported moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and the Taylor Force Act, which states that no American funds can be given to a Palestinian entity that rewards terrorists or their families.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins co-sponsored the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act that provides $3.8 billion in annual security assistance to Israel. She opposes BDS and co-sponsored two bills to fight discriminatory boycotts against Israel.
To volunteer for Senator Susan Collins, go to susancollins.com/contact_the_team.
Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama)
Since winning a Special Election in 2017, Senator Doug Jones has built a reputation as a voice for reason in the turmoil of modern Washington, working across the aisle to find common ground on issues like health care, wages, and true equality for all.
When many other Democrats wavered, Senator Jones supported the Strengthening America’s Middle East Security Act, which strengthens Israel’s security and allows state and local governments to divest their assets from entities that boycott Israel.
Senator Jones supported the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act.
To volunteer for Senator Doug Jones, go to: onealabamaaction.com.
Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania)
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is the Vice-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans who have come together to build consensus and find common ground to solved problems. The Lugar Center has named him the most bipartisan Congressman in history.
Brian Fitzpatrick learned about the importance of Israel for America’s security while working for the FBI to combat terrorism. He serves on the Middle East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism. He is a strong supporter of the US-Israel relationship and co-sponsored legislation to provide security assistance to Israel and to sanction Iran and Hezbollah.
He has said, “Israel has been and continues to be, a steadfast ally of the United States and a beacon for freedom and democracy in the Middle East. As one of our closest security partners, the United States will not allow Israel to be isolated. Together we will continue to strengthen our relationship and promote peace and stability throughout the region.”
Representative Elaine Luria (D-Virginia)
Elaine Luria served in the Navy for 20 years, commanding a combat-ready unit of 400 sailors providing assault craft to support the US Marine Corps. Having launched jets off the deck of an aircraft carrier to strike terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, Elaine Luria knows what it means to fight for America’s security – and for Israel’s.
First elected to Congress in 2018, Representative Luria was able to get four of her bills enacted into law and is rated as the fourth most effective member of the House of Representatives, rare achievements for a freshman legislator.
A member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Representative Luria showed her commitment to bipartisanship when she was one of three Democrats to stand by President Trump when he signed the Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism. She recently co-sponsored an amendment included in the National Defense Authorization Act that would require an investigation of Hezbollah’s influence on the Lebanese Armed Forces to ensure that we closely track and monitor the actions of governments that support terrorist groups and threaten the United States and Israel.
She has said, “My stance is that Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East. That relationship helps maintain the relative stability of the region, and we have established a long-standing relationship in support of Israel. It’s very important that we find every opportunity to continue strengthening that relationship.”
You don’t need to limit yourself to the candidates I have focused on. There are good members of Congress across the country who face tough races and need our help.
For Senate races, go to jewishpoliticalguide.com to find information on every Senate race.
For House races, go to proisraelamericapac.org/page/candidates to find a list of pro-Israel Representatives facing tough races. Then go to problemsolverscaucus-gottheimer.house.gov/members. Anyone who is endorsed by Pro-Israel America Pac and is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus is someone worth supporting.
If you do volunteer to make phone calls for a candidate, you will probably find that most of the people you call will not answer. Many of those who do answer will not want to discuss politics and may hang up the phone on you. Do not be discouraged. Your role is to get out that one vote in that one precinct that can make the difference.
There is one more thing to remember. Winning an election is only the means to an end. We are working to strengthen America, Israel, and the Jewish community. While it is important to do our shtadlanus, we know that in the end there is only one Ruler of the world. My prayer on Election Day morning is that Hashem should bring an end not only to the mageifah but to the galus, with the coming of the greatest political leader of all, Mashiach ben David.