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Biden’s Biggest Threat in the Upcoming Elections Isn’t His Shaky Memory But the War in Israel

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A war torn Gaza
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Last week, a special counsel report again drew attention to Biden’s age and shaky memory. President Joe Biden forcefully responded to those questions in a brief White House address on Thursday night.

As he walked away from the pulpit, there were questions about the ongoing war in Gaza. “I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza, in the Gaza Strip, has been over the top,” Biden said in his response.

He then made another one of his famous gaffes, referring to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the “President of Mexico.” He also spoke about efforts to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. And his desire to bring a “sustained pause in the fighting.”

“There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying,” said Biden. “And it’s got to stop.” This is a big shift from the early days of the war when Biden forcefully supported Israel.

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However, nearly 30,000 Palestinians are already in their graves, and there’s a looming threat of famine and disease in Gaza. So, the president has become a more vocal critic of Israel’s conduct. The shift is a result of the situation in Gaza and the protests from Democrats back home.

Pro-ceasefire protesters have been a great nuisance at Biden’s events in recent months. Democratic lawmakers in Congress have also become increasingly critical of Israel’s war effort. 

Some progressive Democrats are likely to oppose sending more aid to Israel altogether. However, they remain a minority voice in the party’s upper echelons. Among rank-and-file Democratic voters, the situation is worse and could threaten Biden’s chances of being reelected in November.

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According to one recent poll, 50% of Democrats believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. Several Democrats who believe that may be willing to support Biden anyway. But a sizeable portion may refuse to support Biden’s reelection.

In Michigan, pro-ceasefire activists are urging Democratic voters to choose “uncommitted” over Biden in the upcoming primary. They also say they’ll withhold their support for Biden until he changes his stance on Israel.

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Michigan has a disproportionately large Arab and Muslim population. And with Biden only narrowly carrying the state in 2020, Democrats declining to back the president could give Trump his coveted win.

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Democratic leaders argue that a Trump presidency would be far worse than Biden’s. However, those voters may not rally behind Biden without a significant change in US policies toward Israel.

“It should not be the Biden administration asking his core constituency to support him because he is the lesser of two evils,” said Layla Elabed, the campaign manager for the “Listen to Michigan” effort.

“President Biden himself, by failing to call for a ceasefire, is on track to deliver the presidency back to Donald Trump and his white supremacist buddies,” said Abbas Alawieh, a spokesperson for Listen to Michigan.

The issue is much more serious in Michigan. However, Biden faces a lesser version of it in states across the country from voters who are personally connected to the conflict and from progressives.

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Many expect the election result to be close. In such a scenario, even just a few thousand voters per state choosing to leave the top of the ballot blank or not showing up could have a major impact.

Polling shows that voters are concerned about Biden’s age. However, the issue is less likely to carry high salience in the upcoming election. After all, most voters already know this about Biden.

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