PHILADELPHIA - Both Republican and Democratic parties have experienced deep divides over the course of the 2016 primaries, which began last February.
Many in the Republican party still struggle to rally behind their candidate, Donald Trump and within the Democratic camp, disillusioned Bernie Sanders voters have been chanting “Hell no DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary” outside the Wells Fargo arena in Philadelphia, where the party’s national convention is taking place.
An ABC News/Washington Post
poll released earlier this month showed that 58 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the choice between the presumptive nominees. Clinton is seen as “too willing to bend the rules” and Trump as biased against women and minorities and “unqualified for office”.
As far as the Jewish community is concerned, according to the infamous 2013 Pew Research Center study on American Jewry, 70 percent of American Jews identify themselves as Democrats or leaning Democratic and only 22 percent line up with the Republican party. In addition 8 percent keep themselves out of the two party system.
Among these 8 percent, some Jews have turned to a third option: Libertarianism.
Thirty-five years old self-employed financial planner David Warshaw told The Jerusalem Post
he has decided to vote for Libertarian presidential candidate for 2016: Gary Johnson.
“I like him a lot. I don’t think he is a very strong libertarian candidate, but there is no way I can vote for Hillary Clinton,” Warshaw told the Post
. “I hate her character. I mean, how many scandals can a person have? And Trump, he is so unpresidential and I just don’t believe him.”
The Libertarian viewpoint focuses on individual liberty. It suggests that the size and intrusiveness of government should be reduced and citizens should be able to decide how to live their lives without any impositions from the government. In addition, according to libertarian philosophy, all taxes should be cut.
In the United States, the Libertarian Party constitutes the third largest party. It was created in December of 1971 and aims for “a world where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, a world of peace, harmony, opportunity, and abundance,” as it explains on its website.
“Hillary wants me to live my life the way she thinks is moral, Trump wants me to live my life the way he thinks is moral,” Warshaw explained. I’m not going to look at my kid and say that I put Hillary in power or Trump in power because it was a lesser of two evils. That’s like saying: ‘who do you want to vote for? Stalin or Hitler?’.”
Warshaw was drawn to Libertarianism after hearing candidate Ron Paul speak while he ran for President in 2012.
“Republicans didn't speak to me, I found them to be very socially intolerant. Democrats didn’t speak to me, something just felt very uncomfortable with their ideology,” he explained. “Ron Paul said things that I had never heard a politician say. I didn’t know who this guy was but he was making sense to me.”
“We’ve had a 150 years of republicans and democrats taking turns. And what has happened under both administrations? We have a welfare entitlement state, we have a warfare state, we have about 19 trillion dollars of debt, we are enslaving future generations,” Warshaw said. “We need to get the guns out of people’s faces. If your plan for utopia is so good, it shouldn’t be mandatory. Let me choose that.”
Rafi Farber, who moved to Israel in 2007 and now lives in the settlement of Karnei Shomron, also supported Ron Paul during his campaign, but told Post
, he believes the very idea of government is wrong.
“I don’t believe in government at all. I don’t like any government,” Farber explained. “I see any government as a group of people who just take money from private citizens and just keep it for themselves and pretty much use it to bomb other countries or spend our money on whatever they think will get them votes and maintain themselves in power.”
Farber also admits he does not see much difference between republicans and democrats.
“They just want to spend money on different things but I don’t want them to spend money at all. I’d rather people spend their own money,” he told the Post. “The way I see it, it doesn’t matter if Hillary or Trump are president because either way America is gonna go bankrupt and then there is not gonna be anymore money to give to anybody.”
While for both Farber and Warshaw the economy and taxes are the main issue of concern, they also agree with the Libertarian stance on foreign policy.
According to the Libertarian platform, foreign policy should “emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements.”
The party believes the US should not intervene in any foreign issues, including military and economic aid, both of which Israel benefits from.
David Warshaw said that while he donates money regularly to Israeli charities, he agrees that the US should stop it’s financial aid to Israel and other countries.
“I would rather cut off all foreign aid, we have our own domestic issues that we must address here and I believe Israel is strong enough to defend herself,” he said.
“The US should not give money to anybody,” Farber added. “If the US government is going to steal money from it’s citizens, some of them who don’t want anything to do with the middle east, and just gives it to the Israeli government, it creates resentment.”
“America and Israel could be much better allies if they didn't pay off each other with other people’s money,” Farber continued.
Gilad Yehuda, another Libertarian Jew who said he will be voting for Gary Johnson and the Libertarian party this upcoming election also believes that “Israel has got to stand on its own two feet.”
“I do wish that Israel would refuse the US's aid,” he said. “I believe that Uncle Sam interfering with Israel's decisions is hurting her sovereignty.”
“Militarily, Israel will do just fine without the aid,” Yehuda added. “But more importantly, there's the moral argument. I don't see why a gentile single mother from Alabama has to have her tax dollars sent to Israel.”
Gilad Yehuda told the Post
that while in this election he seriously considered voting for a major party for fear that his vote wouldn’t count, he realized that voting for a candidate that doesn't represent him properly is actually a vote wasted.
“So I will stay true and vote to keep government out of our bedrooms and out of our wallets,” he explained
Both David Warshaw and Rafi Farber, also believe that the principles of Judaism and Libertarianism are closely linked.
“Jews are the people of the book, the people of morality,” Warshaw said. “As Jews, we care for tikkun olam, fixing the world. We care about doing the right thing and this seemed moral to me.”
“Judaism and Libertarianism are essentially the same thing because Judaism was founded on the idea that people should not be slaves,” Farber further explained. “That’s the entire center of everything, the exodus from Egypt for example. One group of people should not be telling another group of people what to do.”
Gilad Yehuda, Rafi Farber and David Warshaw all told The Jerusalem Post
that they often feel it is difficult to have conversations about their views with others.
“All the cities I've lived in Israel, Vancouver Canada, NYC, Berlin Germany, are all very liberal, and it's hard to say you think government spending should be cut drastically, or that law abiding citizens should be allowed to carry guns,” Yehuda said. “I never get into a political argument unless I know that I have the time to make a complete argument. These ideas are sometimes hard to swallow, so you have to be careful when and where you dive into them.”
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