May 23, 2024

Senior Democrats are reportedly in “panic mode” about the violent demonstrations that have broken out across America’s college campuses as the consequences of the conflict in the Middle East imperil Joe Biden’s chances of re-election. 


Protests against Israel’s war against Hamas have spread like wildfire over the past few days, with major demonstrations taking place at some of the country’s top universities, including Columbia and University College of Los Angeles (UCLA).

According to a report from Axios, Democrats in Congress are increasingly concerned about the optics of said demonstrations and fear it could even cost them the White House:

House and Senate Democrats’ anxiety is spiking as pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses around the country kick into overdrive. The protests are fueling a volatile political dynamic sparked by the Oct. 7 attack and the Israel-Hamas war just as the 2024 election comes into view.

The longer they continue, and the worse that they get, the worse it’s going to be for the election overall,” one House Democrat told Axios. The demonstrations, the lawmaker warned, are “bringing out [the public’s] most conservative side.”

Photos and videos of these campus protests made the rounds among horrified Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday morning. Before the House Democrats’ closed-door caucus meeting on Tuesday, “many people were talking about” the growing chaos on college campuses, one House Democrat said. “Many people are super frustrated and concerned,” the lawmaker added.


Axios also talked with various lawmakers on the record, including Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), who admitted that many Democrats have been “holding back” their true feelings about the protests. 

“It’s complicated enough for us with the range of opinions and height of emotions we have, without weighing in on what [colleges] should be doing,” Kuster said. “It just has become this confrontation. And in certain states like Michigan, there are big Arab American populations, big Jewish populations, it’s roiling all kinds of groups.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) similarly warned that activists plan on protesting outside the Democratic Convention in Chicago and that the issue is “looming” over Biden’s campaign. Other anonymous Democrats also weighed in, with one warning that a “vote for Trump or sitting out this election or voting third party is a vote for Netanyahu.” 


What is increasingly clear is that the Democratic Party is in a Catch-22 that it cannot escape from. The party is fundamentally split on the Israel issue, and whichever way it moves inevitably risks costing them the backing of key constituencies, particularly Muslim Americans and those on the radical left.

While the GOP has its own debates over foreign aid, the party is largely united around America’s support for Israel. The real question now is whether Republicans can turn this into electoral success. 

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