In late summer, 2015, a number of red state Senate Democrats were in a position to help long-time friends and allies in the pro-Israel community by standing against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), President Obama’s now-scrapped Iran nuclear deal.
Democrat Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Robert Menendez (N.J.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) joined every Republican senator in opposing the deal. Red state Democrats like Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) supported the deal. Swing state Democrats like Florida’s Bill Nelson and Michigan’s Gary Peters looked delegation after delegation of Jewish and pro-Israel constituents in the eye – people who, in many cases, had been with them from the beginning of their political careers – and did the bidding of the White House instead. Senators we thought were our friends – New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey’s Cory Booker, Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey, and too many others – proved to be anything but.