During the recent brouhaha over David Duke's endorsement of Donald Trump some people noted that while Louis Farrakhan had not formally endorsed the billionaire candidate, the Nation of Islam leader had spoken favorably of him. Farrakhan was particularly pleased that Trump, whose campaign is self-financed, was not currying favor with Jewish donors. To my knowledge, no one asked Trump to repudiate Farrakhan's praise, but if he hasn't done so with words he now does so by action. Claiming a schedule conflict, Trump says he'll skip the next Republican debate -- and thus will kill it, since Gov. Kasich says he won't attend just to debate Sen. Cruz -- in order to address AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. Granted, this isn't the same thing as putting on a show of Zionist devotion to impress Sheldon Adelson, but while Trump may not need any Jewish donor's money, he obviously feels a need to nail down the Jewish vote. Apparently they're the one group other than white Christian males that he dares not alienate.
For what it's worth, AIPAC routinely invites all major-party presidential candidates to its annual conference. Hillary Clinton also will be there, while Senator Sanders has not yet confirmed his participation. Since the AIPAC conference is a three-day event there are openings for Cruz and Kasich to appear also, but their plans are unclear. Cruz probably is the most fanatical Zionist of the remaining candidates, having notoriously walked out of a gathering of Christian refugees from the Middle East, whose cause he normally champions, when they booed Israel. Sanders is the only Jewish person in the race but is non-observant. Kasich is a critic of President Obama's stance toward Israel. What Trump will say is hard to predict, but it's easy to say at this point that he'd rather have a podium to himself than debate his rivals again. I wonder, however, what his populist base would say if either of Trump's rivals had the guts to state plainly that he'd rather perform for the Israeli lobby than test himself against them. If his base leans toward Christian Zionism, seeing Israel's existence as part of God's end-times plan, there probably isn't much to wonder about.