College Protests Could Spell Disaster for Biden—Here’s How

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President Biden’s second-term dreams are getting a rough wake-up call courtesy of a little thing called chaos. Biden’s bid for a second term faces a new hurdle with the convergence of two conflicts he can’t directly control: Israel’s clash with Hamas and the deepening discord within the U.S. over its role in the conflict.

Despite their geographical separation, these crises are intertwining, exacerbating broader societal rifts and further complicating Biden’s already precarious political standing. While debates on free speech, protest rights, and the U.S.-Israel alliance were ongoing, the current campus protests have intensified these tensions, fueled in part by America’s increasing diversity. As these issues collide, they’re exposing the fault lines in U.S. society, giving Biden’s already wobbly political stance an even shakier vibe.

Biden is finding himself with few viable options as the protests persist, potentially peaking at the Democrats’ national convention in August. His primary focus and only possible hope rely on brokering a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, aiming to alleviate both the domestic unrest and international pressure. However, even the Democratic Party faithful are giving ol‘ Biden the side-eye for what they’re calling a severe case of indecision. It’s like watching someone try to navigate rush hour traffic on a tricycle—slow, uncertain, and bound to end in disaster.

You can almost hear Democrats collectively sighing as they wonder if their leader will ever stop tiptoeing around issues. Of course, the classic Biden administration strategy is: “If we ignore it, maybe it’ll just go away.” You see, they’ve convinced themselves that those pesky student protesters are just a minor inconvenience, hardly worth the president’s precious time. After all, why address a problem head-on when you can just hope it magically disappears on its own?

However, this approach has backfired spectacularly. After weeks of silence, Biden finally realized the need to address the campus protests. His address did nothing in the way of helping the situation. He merely condemned violence while affirming the right to peaceful demonstration. The delayed response left many questioning his ability to manage crises effectively.

Despite mounting pressure to do more, Biden has decided it’s the perfect time to whip out the old distraction playbook. He has largely tried to shift public attention to other issues, such as abortion rights and semiconductor manufacturing.

With polls indicating a neck-and-neck race between Biden and Trump, the latter has seized upon the protests as evidence of Biden’s vulnerability. Many Republicans have called for college leaders to crack down on protests. At a Wisconsin rally, Trump criticized Biden for not addressing the issue, stating that Biden was “nowhere to be found.”

This criticism, combined with Biden’s handling of the Gaza conflict, has deepened divisions within the Democratic Party and poses a significant challenge to key constituencies.

Although the campus protests may not be a top priority for all voters, they have nonetheless unsettled Americans and underscored divisions over U.S. support for Israel. Biden’s campaign is banking on rallying support against Trump in November, but some constituents within the Democratic base remain disillusioned with his response to the crisis.

These protests present a significant challenge as they overshadow other critical issues in the election, potentially alienating undecided voters. Additionally, any decline in support among young voters, an important part of his 2020 coalition, would be damaging. Recent surveys by the Wall Street Journal show that the support for President Biden among voters under 30 has dropped to 50%, down from the 61% he received in the 2020 election exit polls.

The Biden administration may hope to downplay the significance of college protests, dismissing them as a mere blip on the political radar, but they do so at their own peril. These protests, fueled by passionate young voices, have the potential to snowball into a formidable challenge for Biden’s presidency. Ignoring the underlying grievances and failing to address them head-on could indeed spell disaster for Biden, further eroding his numbers at the polls.