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The Biden campaign needs to figure out a way forward, so I asked my Post Opinions colleagues Shadi Hamid and E.J. Dionne: Is there any way Biden can convince these frustrated voters to stick with him?

💬 💬 💬

Alexi McCammond: Hi, friends! I’m struck by the spate of negative headlines in the last few weeks alone regarding President Biden’s troubles with Arab American voters (and others!) over his support for Israel. Obviously, we have, like, nine months until November, but I’m curious whether you think he can do anything to reverse course with these frustrated folks.

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Shadi Hamid: I’m struck by it, too. And honestly a bit mystified at how bad the Biden team has handled everything related to Arab and Muslim American voters. There was a Politico piece last week about how the Biden campaign was basically writing Arabs off in Michigan and focusing on finding alternative paths to victory.

E.J. Dionne: Good to be chatting with you both, and I trust we can model mutual understanding and respect that is so often absent from conversations on this topic. In the short term, the politics of the situation are very tough for Biden. He faces twin challenges: from Arab and Muslim voters, particularly in Michigan, and from younger Democrats, whose views on issues related to Israel and Palestinians are very different from his.

Alexi: And they refused to meet with the campaign manager when she showed up in Michigan. 😬

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E.J.: I agree with those who have argued that Biden needs to use his standing with Israelis to make the case to them for negotiations with Palestinians and a way forward. Biden’s task is to bring the fighting to an end (he is trying to do that in the negotiations around the release of hostages) and begin a peace process that culminates in negotiations for a two-state solution.

Shadi: Yes, he can do quite a bit to reverse course. In my own writing on this topic, I haven’t asked for a whole lot. I try to be realistic. Biden isn’t going to get “woke” and become pro-Palestine anytime soon. But he can at least be a bit more balanced and put more pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But, perhaps most important, rhetoric matters. And Biden has just been incredibly insensitive when talking about Palestinian suffering, almost as if he doesn’t see them as human beings equally deserving of dignity and protection in a war zone.

Alexi: Yeah, Shadi, the rhetoric has been uncharacteristically cold. Especially when he bills himself as the consoler in chief!

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Shadi: Yes, console us, dear president!😀

E.J.: On that Politico piece, Shadi: I don’t think Biden is writing off Arab voters in Michigan, for reasons I offered above. But given the hostility to Biden in the Arab community now, it would be political malpractice not to plan for alternative coalitions.

Shadi: Fair point. But I have trouble imagining this level of disrespect toward other members of the Democratic coalition, whether they are Hispanic, Black, young women, etc. A big part of the Arab disaffection toward Biden is about this sense of disrespect, that he can’t even be bothered to take our concerns seriously.

Alexi: Biden is in a tricky position because polls also show that something like 40 percent of Americans think Israel should continue on with its war.

Shadi: Are there really that many pro-Israel Democrats who are going to shift their support for former president Donald Trump if Biden puts more pressure on Netanyahu to be less destructive in this war when it comes to civilians? It just seems to me that this single-issue voter is largely hypothetical.

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Alexi: 🍿🍿🍿

E.J.: Early on, Biden was focused (for what I think are understandable reasons) on the horror of Oct. 7. But I agree that it is essential for him (and everybody) to show real concern over civilian deaths in Gaza and genuine empathy for those who are suffering.

Shadi: But as E.J. correctly notes, this isn’t just about Arabs or Muslims. Arabs are a sort of proxy for a deeper disaffection among young voters. The recent NBC poll was really striking in this regard. Only 15 percent of young voters approve of Biden’s handling of the Gaza war.

E.J.: Shadi, I think Biden not only has room to move toward what you called a more balanced policy. It’s where he is moving now. The status quo isn’t just bad for Palestinians. It’s also not working for Israel.

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Shadi: I sure hope so, but seeing is believing. We’ve been hearing about Biden moving toward a more balanced policy for quite some time now, and it just hasn’t quite happened. Netanyahu isn’t dumb. He knows that he can get away with bad behavior because the Biden team hasn’t made clear that there will be any consequences for Netanyahu.

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Alexi: 🔥 Curious what you guys think about the chances of Biden’s critics not casting a vote or electing not to vote for a presidential nominee?

Shadi: I can tell you that the vast majority of my Arab and Muslim American friends are saying either privately (to me) or publicly that they’re likely to abstain. Most of them are progressives and Democrats who are genuinely frightened about the prospect of four years of Trump. But for them, it’s above all a matter of conscience and whether they feel they can be true to themselves and their convictions if they pull the lever for Biden, who they feel has betrayed them.

E.J.: If Biden is serious about beginning a real peace process that aims at securing both Israeli security and Palestinian self-determination (and I think he is), the politics improves. And he needs to move sooner rather than later.

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🙅🏽‍♀️ 🙅🏽‍♀️ 🙅🏽‍♀️

The next word

It’s not easy to quantify anger, but it’s clear that a growing number of Arab and Muslim Americans are ready to ditch Biden in November over his administration’s role in the Gaza conflict. As Haroon Moghul wrote for CNN, “A second Trump presidency would be difficult, even harrowing. But I believe the United States can survive four more years of Trump. I’m less certain we can survive four more years of so-called good guys who act so clearly otherwise.”

But Biden is facing a bigger problem here: Polling from the New York Times found that nearly 75 percent of 18- to 29-year-old voters disapprove of the way he has handled the attack on Gaza. Among registered voters of the same age group, they now back former president Donald Trump by a six-point margin; last summer, they supported Biden by 10 points, the Times reported.

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“One might think a president with Joe Biden’s experience would perform well in a foreign policy election. So it’s surprising that his approach to the wars in Gaza and Ukraine … instead appears to be endangering his reelection,” Mark Hannah wrote for the Los Angeles Times.

For some people, the senseless killings of Palestinian civilians has earned Biden the nickname “Genocide Joe.” I never would have guessed that young voters would care so much about a foreign policy issue such as this, but the growing anger suggests to me that this isn’t about our national security measures; it’s about humanity and compassion.

The president and those close to him consistently hear from protesters demanding a cease-fire. Biden has been interrupted in Virginia, Michigan and South Carolina; a Muslim state representative from Delaware interrupted Vice President Harris’s public remarks at a December holiday party to ask why she wouldn’t support a cease-fire; and Samantha Power, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, was publicly confronted about the issue last month. Let’s not forget that tens of thousands of people joined mass demonstrations around the country demanding a permanent cease-fire last year. It’s hard to dismiss that as insignificant.

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Something real is happening, even if it’s difficult to capture in polling. Maybe the Biden team will use the conversations they say they’re having with folks who disagree with the administration’s policies to inform a new strategy. It seems fear of Trump 2.0 won’t be enough to guarantee victory.

🖥️ 🖥️ 🖥️

r/Politics

After my birthday last summer, I joined the subreddit r/AskWomenOver30. Earlier this week, user bettytomatoes shared some good news there: “I just got a notice from my loan servicer that my loans have been forgiven. I’ve been paying them for over 20 years — apparently that’s the cut-off now? All part of the ‘American Rescue Plan.’ I’m stunned. I had $20,000 to go. I thought I’d be paying it forever.”

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President Biden has refused any demands for a cease-fire in Gaza, and it’s costing him the support of many Arab and Muslim Americans across the country. In Michigan, Arab American leaders have been organizing people to abstain from voting for Biden in their state’s Democratic primary or to select “uncommitted” instead.

The Biden campaign needs to figure out a way forward, so I asked my Post Opinions colleagues Shadi Hamid and E.J. Dionne: Is there any way Biden can convince these frustrated voters to stick with him?

Alexi McCammond: Hi, friends! I’m struck by the spate of negative headlines in the last few weeks alone regarding President Biden’s troubles with Arab American voters (and others!) over his support for Israel. Obviously, we have, like, nine months until November, but I’m curious whether you think he can do anything to reverse course with these frustrated folks.

Shadi Hamid: I’m struck by it, too. And honestly a bit mystified at how bad the Biden team has handled everything related to Arab and Muslim American voters. There was a Politico piece last week about how the Biden campaign was basically writing Arabs off in Michigan and focusing on finding alternative paths to victory.

E.J. Dionne: Good to be chatting with you both, and I trust we can model mutual understanding and respect that is so often absent from conversations on this topic. In the short term, the politics of the situation are very tough for Biden. He faces twin challenges: from Arab and Muslim voters, particularly in Michigan, and from younger Democrats, whose views on issues related to Israel and Palestinians are very different from his.

Alexi: And they refused to meet with the campaign manager when she showed up in Michigan. 😬

E.J.: I agree with those who have argued that Biden needs to use his standing with Israelis to make the case to them for negotiations with Palestinians and a way forward. Biden’s task is to bring the fighting to an end (he is trying to do that in the negotiations around the release of hostages) and begin a peace process that culminates in negotiations for a two-state solution.

Shadi: Yes, he can do quite a bit to reverse course. In my own writing on this topic, I haven’t asked for a whole lot. I try to be realistic. Biden isn’t going to get “woke” and become pro-Palestine anytime soon. But he can at least be a bit more balanced and put more pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But, perhaps most important, rhetoric matters. And Biden has just been incredibly insensitive when talking about Palestinian suffering, almost as if he doesn’t see them as human beings equally deserving of dignity and protection in a war zone.

Alexi: Yeah, Shadi, the rhetoric has been uncharacteristically cold. Especially when he bills himself as the consoler in chief!

Shadi: Yes, console us, dear president!😀

E.J.: On that Politico piece, Shadi: I don’t think Biden is writing off Arab voters in Michigan, for reasons I offered above. But given the hostility to Biden in the Arab community now, it would be political malpractice not to plan for alternative coalitions.

Shadi: Fair point. But I have trouble imagining this level of disrespect toward other members of the Democratic coalition, whether they are Hispanic, Black, young women, etc. A big part of the Arab disaffection toward Biden is about this sense of disrespect, that he can’t even be bothered to take our concerns seriously.

Alexi: Biden is in a tricky position because polls also show that something like 40 percent of Americans think Israel should continue on with its war.

Shadi: Are there really that many pro-Israel Democrats who are going to shift their support for former president Donald Trump if Biden puts more pressure on Netanyahu to be less destructive in this war when it comes to civilians? It just seems to me that this single-issue voter is largely hypothetical.

Alexi: 🍿🍿🍿

E.J.: Early on, Biden was focused (for what I think are understandable reasons) on the horror of Oct. 7. But I agree that it is essential for him (and everybody) to show real concern over civilian deaths in Gaza and genuine empathy for those who are suffering.

Shadi: But as E.J. correctly notes, this isn’t just about Arabs or Muslims. Arabs are a sort of proxy for a deeper disaffection among young voters. The recent NBC poll was really striking in this regard. Only 15 percent of young voters approve of Biden’s handling of the Gaza war.

E.J.: Shadi, I think Biden not only has room to move toward what you called a more balanced policy. It’s where he is moving now. The status quo isn’t just bad for Palestinians. It’s also not working for Israel.

Shadi: I sure hope so, but seeing is believing. We’ve been hearing about Biden moving toward a more balanced policy for quite some time now, and it just hasn’t quite happened. Netanyahu isn’t dumb. He knows that he can get away with bad behavior because the Biden team hasn’t made clear that there will be any consequences for Netanyahu.

Alexi: 🔥 Curious what you guys think about the chances of Biden’s critics not casting a vote or electing not to vote for a presidential nominee?

Shadi: I can tell you that the vast majority of my Arab and Muslim American friends are saying either privately (to me) or publicly that they’re likely to abstain. Most of them are progressives and Democrats who are genuinely frightened about the prospect of four years of Trump. But for them, it’s above all a matter of conscience and whether they feel they can be true to themselves and their convictions if they pull the lever for Biden, who they feel has betrayed them.

E.J.: If Biden is serious about beginning a real peace process that aims at securing both Israeli security and Palestinian self-determination (and I think he is), the politics improves. And he needs to move sooner rather than later.

It’s not easy to quantify anger, but it’s clear that a growing number of Arab and Muslim Americans are ready to ditch Biden in November over his administration’s role in the Gaza conflict. As Haroon Moghul wrote for CNN, “A second Trump presidency would be difficult, even harrowing. But I believe the United States can survive four more years of Trump. I’m less certain we can survive four more years of so-called good guys who act so clearly otherwise.”

But Biden is facing a bigger problem here: Polling from the New York Times found that nearly 75 percent of 18- to 29-year-old voters disapprove of the way he has handled the attack on Gaza. Among registered voters of the same age group, they now back former president Donald Trump by a six-point margin; last summer, they supported Biden by 10 points, the Times reported.

“One might think a president with Joe Biden’s experience would perform well in a foreign policy election. So it’s surprising that his approach to the wars in Gaza and Ukraine … instead appears to be endangering his reelection,” Mark Hannah wrote for the Los Angeles Times.

For some people, the senseless killings of Palestinian civilians has earned Biden the nickname “Genocide Joe.” I never would have guessed that young voters would care so much about a foreign policy issue such as this, but the growing anger suggests to me that this isn’t about our national security measures; it’s about humanity and compassion.

The president and those close to him consistently hear from protesters demanding a cease-fire. Biden has been interrupted in Virginia, Michigan and South Carolina; a Muslim state representative from Delaware interrupted Vice President Harris’s public remarks at a December holiday party to ask why she wouldn’t support a cease-fire; and Samantha Power, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, was publicly confronted about the issue last month. Let’s not forget that tens of thousands of people joined mass demonstrations around the country demanding a permanent cease-fire last year. It’s hard to dismiss that as insignificant.

Something real is happening, even if it’s difficult to capture in polling. Maybe the Biden team will use the conversations they say they’re having with folks who disagree with the administration’s policies to inform a new strategy. It seems fear of Trump 2.0 won’t be enough to guarantee victory.

After my birthday last summer, I joined the subreddit r/AskWomenOver30. Earlier this week, user bettytomatoes shared some good news there: “I just got a notice from my loan servicer that my loans have been forgiven. I’ve been paying them for over 20 years — apparently that’s the cut-off now? All part of the ‘American Rescue Plan.’ I’m stunned. I had $20,000 to go. I thought I’d be paying it forever.”

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Sign up for Prompt 2024 to get opinions on the biggest questions about the 2024 election cycleArrowRight

The Biden campaign needs to figure out a way forward, so I asked my Post Opinions colleagues Shadi Hamid and E.J. Dionne: Is there any way Biden can convince these frustrated voters to stick with him?

💬 💬 💬

Alexi McCammond: Hi, friends! I’m struck by the spate of negative headlines in the last few weeks alone regarding President Biden’s troubles with Arab American voters (and others!) over his support for Israel. Obviously, we have, like, nine months until November, but I’m curious whether you think he can do anything to reverse course with these frustrated folks.

Advertisement

Shadi Hamid: I’m struck by it, too. And honestly a bit mystified at how bad the Biden team has handled everything related to Arab and Muslim American voters. There was a Politico piece last week about how the Biden campaign was basically writing Arabs off in Michigan and focusing on finding alternative paths to victory.

E.J. Dionne: Good to be chatting with you both, and I trust we can model mutual understanding and respect that is so often absent from conversations on this topic. In the short term, the politics of the situation are very tough for Biden. He faces twin challenges: from Arab and Muslim voters, particularly in Michigan, and from younger Democrats, whose views on issues related to Israel and Palestinians are very different from his.

Alexi: And they refused to meet with the campaign manager when she showed up in Michigan. 😬

Advertisement

E.J.: I agree with those who have argued that Biden needs to use his standing with Israelis to make the case to them for negotiations with Palestinians and a way forward. Biden’s task is to bring the fighting to an end (he is trying to do that in the negotiations around the release of hostages) and begin a peace process that culminates in negotiations for a two-state solution.

Shadi: Yes, he can do quite a bit to reverse course. In my own writing on this topic, I haven’t asked for a whole lot. I try to be realistic. Biden isn’t going to get “woke” and become pro-Palestine anytime soon. But he can at least be a bit more balanced and put more pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But, perhaps most important, rhetoric matters. And Biden has just been incredibly insensitive when talking about Palestinian suffering, almost as if he doesn’t see them as human beings equally deserving of dignity and protection in a war zone.

Alexi: Yeah, Shadi, the rhetoric has been uncharacteristically cold. Especially when he bills himself as the consoler in chief!

Advertisement

Shadi: Yes, console us, dear president!😀

E.J.: On that Politico piece, Shadi: I don’t think Biden is writing off Arab voters in Michigan, for reasons I offered above. But given the hostility to Biden in the Arab community now, it would be political malpractice not to plan for alternative coalitions.

Shadi: Fair point. But I have trouble imagining this level of disrespect toward other members of the Democratic coalition, whether they are Hispanic, Black, young women, etc. A big part of the Arab disaffection toward Biden is about this sense of disrespect, that he can’t even be bothered to take our concerns seriously.

Alexi: Biden is in a tricky position because polls also show that something like 40 percent of Americans think Israel should continue on with its war.

Shadi: Are there really that many pro-Israel Democrats who are going to shift their support for former president Donald Trump if Biden puts more pressure on Netanyahu to be less destructive in this war when it comes to civilians? It just seems to me that this single-issue voter is largely hypothetical.

Advertisement

Alexi: 🍿🍿🍿

E.J.: Early on, Biden was focused (for what I think are understandable reasons) on the horror of Oct. 7. But I agree that it is essential for him (and everybody) to show real concern over civilian deaths in Gaza and genuine empathy for those who are suffering.

Shadi: But as E.J. correctly notes, this isn’t just about Arabs or Muslims. Arabs are a sort of proxy for a deeper disaffection among young voters. The recent NBC poll was really striking in this regard. Only 15 percent of young voters approve of Biden’s handling of the Gaza war.

E.J.: Shadi, I think Biden not only has room to move toward what you called a more balanced policy. It’s........

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