The Conservative Jewish scholar, Martin Himmelfarb once quipped that, "Jews earn like Episcopalians, and vote like Puerto Ricans". That quip is often quoted but little questioned, because in fact Episcopalians often vote like Puerto Ricans themselves.
As it turns out, Jews do vote like Episcopalians after all. And the Episcopalians are not alone. America's elite liberal Protestant Churches served as the model for liberal Jewish Temples, just as liberal Protestant clergymen served as models for liberal Jewish clergymen, who were essentially aping the manners and politics of their social betters. All together they form what is known as the Religious Left, liberal clergy committed to using government powers to enforce their conception of social justice.
There are of course a great many members of their congregations who disagree. Some sit by silently or dismiss this week's sermon on the need to help the stranger, who in this case is likely to be a Muslim or transgender illegal alien. Some take more aggressive action which is the situation that has resulted in the split within the Anglican Communion.
The premise behind Himmelfarb's assumption is that Jews earn like upper class Americans, but vote like lower class Americans. The problem with that premise is that upper class Americans actually often vote like lower class Americans. Liberalism is not practiced by a bunch of radicals huddling in a cellar over a handful of bombs somewhere. And even when it is, the radicals tend to be the sons and grandsons of bank Presidents, as in the case of Bill Ayers and Barack Obama. Liberalism is practiced by the upper classes, as much if not more so than conservatism.
That is why Conservatism appeals most powerfully to the economic ideals of the working class and lower middle class, while Liberalism plays on the sense of obligation felt by the upper class and upper middle class, and the entitlement of some in the permanent lower classes.
Liberals love to play on the idea that Republicans are party of the rich, but Bill Gates, the richest man in America, is a liberal who after retiring from Microsoft has dedicated his time to using his foundation to push his political views. Bill Gates incidentally comes from a Congregationalist family. The second richest man is Warren Buffett, from a Presbyterian family, who like Bill Gates made the inevitable transition to being an agnostic, and sits on the board of the Gates Foundation. And of course is a liberal. During the 2008 election, Buffett said that it would take a lobotomy for him to vote for a Republican candidate because of his views on social justice.
Gates and Buffett's views help define why America has become so liberal. Both men like so many of their peers believe in wealth redistribution. Accordingly both Gates and Buffett donated to Obama. And both men are putting their money where their mouths are, by donating the bulk of their wealth to charity. And such views and behaviors are far from uncommon among America's wealthiest. The problem is that they are imposing them on everyone else as well.
Modern liberalism would probably not exist without the Ford Foundation. Or George Soros' wealth. Or to put it more simply, it would not exist if the top 1 percent of wealthiest people in America, as well as in Europe, Israel and much of the Western world, did not believe that their countries should be reorganized into great socialist hives. And did not spend large portions of their wealth to do just that.
The problem is not that Jews vote like Puerto Ricans, the problem is that they vote like Episcopalians. That is that Jews have abandoned the working class and middle class roots of their grandparents, in favor of joining in at the elitist table of liberalism. In an endless session of fundraisers and dinners for the liberal cause of the month, and most of all for redistributing the wealth that they attained, but don't feel they have a right to.
The people who believe most in the American Dream are not the Gates' and the Buffett's, but the Joe the Plumbers... the working class people hoping to move up, and struggling with the byzantine bureaucracy, unions and taxes that some of the wealthiest people in America helped impose on them. It is that segment of America that works hard for a living, or that remembers what it is like to work hard for a living... that represents the real grass roots base of the Republican Party. And it is that segment that unleashes the ugliest class warfare backlash from liberal elitists, whether it is Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber.
Because there is class warfare in America, but it is a form of class warfare that thwarts the aspirations of those Americans trying to work their way up through hard work, by those who believe that sort of thing is an outdated relic that needs to make way for a socialist state. And paradoxically it is those Americans who have benefited the most from capitalism, who are doing the most to destroy it. For those who ask why Jews vote liberal, it may be much more pressing and important to ask the question, why Episcopalians who were America's elite vote liberal?