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January 24, 1992 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-01-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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REID

Jews Jump On
Clinton Bandwagon

JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

E

xactly how was Bill
Clinton anointed the
Democratic presiden-
tial frontrunner in the Jew-
ish community?
The answer seems
wrapped up in the curious
ways in which the media, po-
litical insiders and Ameri-
can public opinion interact
to generate political momen-
tum.
Weeks before the first
primary, pollsters and the
media's presidential pro-
gnosticators have tentative-
ly agreed that the Arkansas
governor is the Democrat
with the best chance of
unseating George Bush.
That trend has been
amplified in the Jewish
community.
"It's very strange that he
has emerged so early as a
favorite," said American
University political scientist
Allan Lichtman, a specialist
in presidential politics. "But
the Jewish community is
looking for a winner this
time. It's been a long time
out in the cold, and it's seen
as very important to back a
winner."
Professor Lichtman sug-

Gov. Clinton:
"Looking for a winner?"

gested that Gov. Clinton's
depiction as the Democratic
front-runner is multiplied in
the Jewish community,
which generally takes a
more pragmatic view of pres-
idential politics than other
groups.
It also doesn't hurt that
the governor has attracted
some leading members of the
pro-Israel establishment in
Washington, including
David Ifshin, general
counsel to the American
Israel Public Affairs Com-
mittee (AIPAC) and Monte
Friedkin, a leading Dem-
ocratic fund raiser.

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32

FRIDAY, JANUARY 24, 1992

Sometime in the next few
months, Congress will have
to reauthorize an important
section of the voting rights
act, and some Jewish groups
are quietly working to
assure that the political
rights of minorities are pro-
tected.
Section 203 of the act re-
quires certain provisions for
voters whose command of
the English language is lim-
ited. In states and localities
with a high proportion of
residents who do not speak
English, governments must
provide registration infor-
mation in the languages
used in the communities.
They must also provide
voting assistance.
Although the rest of the
voting rights act needs
reauthorization early in the
next century, the foreign
language provisions must be
re-approved this year.
The American Jewish
Committee wants quick ac-
tion from Congress on the

reauthorization. It also
wants some changes in Sec-
tion 203 that would expand
the number of people
covered by the provision.

Because of the way
jurisdictions covered by the
law are defined, some com-
munities with large ethnic
populations, such as New
York and Los Angeles, are
excluded from the act, said
AJC legislative director
Judy Golub.
Instead of the current re-
quirements that five percent
of a community belong to a
single-language minority,
AJC is lobbying for an ab-
solute numerical threshold
that would increase the
number of people with access
to voting assistance in their
native languages.
"This has always been a
multi-cultural, multi-lingual
culture," Ms. Golub said.
"This is has been one of our
strengths — and these new
people want to vote."

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