Two months ago, buffeted by economic pessimism and concerns about his age, President Biden explained once again why he’s seeking reelection. “I’m running because democracy is at stake,” Biden told the crowd at a Democratic fundraiser. “And let there be no question, Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy. And I will always defend, protect, and fight for our democracy.”
A few weeks later, Hamas launched its brutal attack on Israel, and Israel responded by bombarding and then invading the Gaza Strip—with the explicit support of the Biden administration. The president’s popularity, in the negative for more than two years now, has fallen further amid the war, and polls show that Biden’s steadfast opposition to a sustained Gaza ceasefire is largely to blame. Given his belief that a Republican victory in 2024 may spell the end of our democracy, a critical question must be asked: What U.S. interest is of such crucial importance in Israel’s assault on Gaza that it warrants not just risking Biden’s reelection, but American democracy itself?
The notion that the 2024 elections are existential for the country may sound alarmist, but it’s widely and genuinely believed among Democrats. Nancy Pelosi told CNN two months ago that “nothing less is at stake than our democracy in this election… We have to prove through the night, with the certainty of this election, that our flag is still there, with liberty and justice for all as we pledge every day.” And earlier this month, Hillary Clinton went so far as to note that “Hitler was duly elected,” adding that if Donald Trump defeats Biden next year, it “would be the end of our country as we know it.”
It is precisely because of this prediction, accurate or not, that Biden’s resistance to a full-blown ceasefire—as opposed to the temporary truce Biden seeks to take credit for—becomes all the more perplexing. A series of polls have shown that Biden’s defense of Israel’s war conduct is a key factor behind his declining poll numbers, particularly among younger voters whose support proved crucial for his 2020 victory over Trump. That year, 65 percent of Gen Z voters supported Biden, which was 11 percent more than any other age group. And turnout among Gen Z and young millennials was crucial. Between 53 and 55 percent of registered 18- to 29-year-olds voted in 2020, according to the New Policy Institute’s Simon Rosenberg, who told CNBC that this “may be the highest ever recorded in the modern era of politics.”
Read the full piece in The New Republic.