A top GOP strategist and pollster for newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning that New York Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, “will pay a heavy price” at the polls next year if they don’t break with President Obama’s policies on Israeland reject any deal he makes with Iran.
“Hillary Clinton, [Sen.] Chuck Schumer, [Reps.] Nita Lowey, Steve Israel, Jerry Nadler, Eliot Engel and others are about to get a whole new wave of pressure from Republicans on whether they agree or not with Obama on Israel,’’ New York-based national GOP pollster and strategist John McLaughlin told The Post.
“You’re going to have Republicans running for president, the Senate, for Congress next year supporting Israel and pledging to abrogate any deal Obama makes with Iran and challenging the Democrats to do the same,’’ said McLaughlin, who runs McLaughlin and Associates with his brother.
McLaughlin, who was with Netanyahu at the Israeli leader’s Jerusalem home the night of his victory earlier this month, said the GOP push would be especially powerful in heavily Jewish voting areas in the city, Westchester and Long Island.
“A lot of New York Democrats are going to have to decide if they back Israel, our strongest ally in the world, or a White House that has made a mess of the Middle East and threatens to do to Israel what they’ve just done to Yemen,’’ contended McLaughlin.
“Security is going to be the top issue during the presidential race next year and if President Obama continues to appease Iran, look weak in the face of terrorism, and jeopardize the security of Israel, the Democrats in New York and nationally will pay a heavy price,’’ he continued.
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox said the issue of Israel “means we can win the Jewish vote in New York City in 2016. This issue is going to make for some very exciting races.’’
McLaughlin, whose clients include the Republican National Committee, six sitting senators and 22 members of Congress, predicted that Clinton would soon announce her campaign for president and then eventually break with Obama’s Middle East policies — but only after it was too late for the president to back another Democratic candidate against her.
“I believe Hillary is not speaking out now against Obama’s policies because she fears the president will back one of the possible candidates against her, like [Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth] Warren or [former Maryland Gov. Martin] O’Malley,’’ said McLaughlin.
He also predicted that Schumer, in line to become the new Senate Democratic leader if he wins re-election next year, would soon be on a “collision course’’ with Obama, as Schumer is torn between his support of Israel and his obligation as top Democrat to back the White House’s agenda.
“Chuck is going to have to choose, too,’’ McLaughlin said.
Meanwhile, Republican congressional hopeful Dan Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney, has already made criticism of Obama’s Middle East policies an important part of his special-election campaign against Democratic City Councilman Vincent Gentile.
And one of the leaders of the effort to force Democrats to oppose or stand with Obama will likely be recently elected Long Island US Rep. Lee Zeldin, a strong supporter of Israel and the only Jewish Republican in Congress, said McLaughlin.
Schumer’s emergence as the all-but-certain successor to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who on Friday announced plans to retire, could be “Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare,’’ despite their being close political allies, said a top Democratic strategist.
“The image of Chuck and Hillary running the Democratic Party is going to alienate anyone west of the Hudson River and east of Albany,’’ said the strategist.
“It also creates a major headache for her in a Democratic primary, where voters are increasingly energized by other potential candidates, like Elizabeth Warren and Martin O’Malley.
“That’s because it makes the party look like a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street,’’ where Clinton and Schumer have long enjoyed good relations, the strategist said.
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