Is this man the next US president?
chances are, but it would be foolish to write him off. Texas is a strong base from which to launch a bid for national power, and his social and religious conservatism should give him some decent appeal among important sections of the electorate.
But will that same religious conservatism prove counter-productive among other groups, particularly Jews who, though small in number (less than two per cent of the population), can be important electorally in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida? Much depends on whether Perry and other such candidates come across as divisive or inclusive.
It seems unlikely there’s much to worry about on that score. Most Christian conservatives in the US have good relations with their Jewish compatriots, and they’re strongly supportive of Israel. “My faith requires me to support Israel,” Perry averred in 2009.
That kind of talk could tip a portion of the Jewish vote in a Christian conservative direction, should Perry or someone like him get the candidacy.
Given the deep disappointment among many US Jews with President Obama’s attitude to the Jewish state, Republican strategists are certain to make a pitch for their votes, 78 per cent of which went Democrat in 2008. Never say never in America. An appeal to Jesus might just swing it for the Jews. Robin Shepherd is director, international affairs, at the Henry Jackson Society and owner/publisher of The Commentator
Republican candidate Perry asked for Jesus to save America