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In a civil election, does Judaism teach that one should vote for Jewish candidates over non-Jews? What if the voter supports the other candidate's positions on every other issue much more?

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    Why might you think that you should support a candidate whose positions you oppose just because the candidate happens to be Jewish?
    – Seth J
    May 28, 2013 at 19:44
  • @SethJ, I wouldn't, but that's just my unsupported guess at an answer.
    – Daniel
    May 28, 2013 at 19:45
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/79071
    – msh210
    Jan 15, 2017 at 22:08

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The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains in different sources, for example in Sichos Kodesh 5740 (vol. 2, p. 337) that we must base our chose of election solely on Torah-terms so to speak. Hashem does not stand on the voting ballot. Yet, we can decide which candidate has a program/acts in accordance with Jewish Law. We therefore must ask ourselves "is this candidate beneficial for the Jewish Law and an advancement for mitzvos?" (see also: Sichos Kodesh 5736 (vol. 2, p. 40), Sichos Kodesh 5735 (vol. 1, p. 150).

On 20 Menachem Av, 5741, the Rebbe met with different government-officials, including people that were running for office in the city of New York. After meeting with these people, the Rebbe met with "just an ordinary" person, not running for everything. Yet, the Rebbe emphasised that he has maybe the most important office:

You have a very special office. To spread Judaism around you

So, in a civil election. Must we only vote for Jewish candidates? Well, according to the above, the most important criteria is to look at the bigger picture. Does the candidate spread Judaism, does he act according to Jewish Law, is he an "advocate" for the Jewish people? That are the most important factors that needs to be taken into consideration when voting.

In "A Chassidisher Derher" (edition: Elul 5777, p. 29 "How should you cast your vote?") this concept is enriched with the following words:

Disregarding all other calculations and choosing the king is the surest way to achieve spiritual and material success.

In a letter (dated 24 Sivan 5711), the Rebbe emphasises on the fact that:

it is both a holy obligation and privilege for all those who are G‑d-fearing and who revere the word of G‑d to participate in the elections, both [to vote] themselves and to influence others to do so. They should vote for the party that is most G‑d-fearing. Not one vote should go to waste. (emphasis mine)

Another important principle is that the party and its leaders, must realise that they need :

to place the interests of observant Jewry as a whole above the imagined gains for their parties and establish a united front after the elections at the very least (letter from the Rebbe, dated 22 Tammuz 5711).

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