The New York Times asks, “Are Liberal Jewish Voters a Thing of the Past?” We can hope so, but the article offers no evidence, mostly just muddled tropes and non sequiturs pointing out some of the out-of-the-mainstream cultural practices of New York Hasidim (who constitute a subset of Orthodox Jews), and not-really connecting the dots to not-at-all answer the headline question.
Among the non sequiturs in the article are references to the group’s “stances on. . . the role of women” and “anachronistic way of life.” In the Times‘ worldview, this makes them obvious Republicans. It’s true that American Orthodox Jews tend to be pro-life and supportive of Israel, but, on the other hand, they also hold views that would traditionally align them more with the left. The article cites their “tendency to vote in blocs according to the wishes of a sect’s grand rabbi, who often makes his choices based on pragmatic rather than ideological reasons.” Sounds like many other urban constituencies whose “pragmatic” demands end up feeding big government.
The ultra-Orthodox population in Israel defies comparison to any American political force. It tends to benefit from big government, such as welfare and privileges like exemption from the armed forces for religious study. Some live in collectivist communes and some are anti-Zionist. Small political parties representing the community have seats in the Knesset. To the extent that New York ultra-Orthodox Jews seek analogous opt-outs from public education and “public health” laws (like prohibitions on certain circumcision practices mentioned in the article), and a special role for religious authority in criminal justice matters, it is not at all clear that this would make them less liberal in terms of U.S. politics. Perhaps they would gravitate towards a libertarian political force, though it’s just as likely that they would use their influence to establish themselves as yet another “embattled minority” (to use a quote concluding the article) seeking the patronage of the local government. The latter seems to be the case today in New York, and the article offers no data on the group’s voting patterns or political views in general, other than citing a few very specific lifestyle issues around which they’ve successfully lobbied.
The ultra-Orthodox community’s tenets bear a good deal of resemblance to those of Muslims, who voted 85% for Obama in 2012.