Opinion: Democrats Cannot Continue to Fear Monger about 2024

By Terra Hobler, Opinions Editor

The rematch that nobody wanted is becoming more and more inevitable as primaries take place throughout the country, but Joe Biden’s greatest threat this election cycle is not a candidate in the primaries. It might not even be his opponent in the general election come November–Joe Biden’s biggest enemy is himself. 

With the genocide in Gaza being perpetrated unimpeded for months in front of the eyes of the world, citizens in the United States are increasingly noticing the failure of their government. As the nation that provides the most military aid to Israel, the United States has a unique position of leverage, yet Commander in Chief Joe Biden has done virtually nothing to stop the genocide. Even strictly performative acts are being avoided, as the benefits the US receives from being so closely allied with Israel far outweigh any humanitarian concern from the administration’s perspective. Especially if Joe Biden stands to lose nothing from this continuing support.

The Biden administration has recently begun administering aid through the brand new Gaza pier in a move that domestically is being played as a show of compassion. While aid to Gazans is certainly admirable in itself the context in which it is happening certainly works to undermine any appearance of humanitarianism by Joe Biden. Aid is being delivered at the same time as bombs are, with both being supplied by the United States. The frequent bombings and shootings of Gazans is being perpetrated using military weapons given largely by the United States, who now are giving food and other supplies. The brazen hypocrisy of profiting off and enabling a genocide against a civilian population while simultaneously giving aid to publicly appear as if the United States is not directly responsible for the suffering they are adressing is truly baffling. This is all ignoring the concern many have about the desire to access oil just offshore of the Gazan coast, which could also serve as an incentive to establish a military presence in the eastern Mediterranean.

Joe Biden’s not only complacency, but active participation in the most well-documented genocide is putting voters off, with a NYT/Sienna Poll finding 72% disapproval of the Biden administration’s handling of the Israel-Palestine conflict among voters aged 18-29. This is especially true in young voters, a voting bloc that voted 58% for Biden in 2020, which is often credited for his victory. Losing the young vote is nearly certain doom for Joe Biden, and strategies on social media emerging from DNC members to combat this are increasingly viewed as out of touch. And while it might seem that nobody can blame someone for not wanting to vote for a president that is actively supporting a genocide, this is not the most common stance on the issue that is the 2024 presidential election.

The narrative being spun by Joe Biden’s allies is that a vote not for Biden is a vote for Donald Trump and that even if you disagree with the President’s handling of the genocide in Gaza (and complacency in increased West Bank colonial-settler attacks) you still need to vote for the lesser of two evils, because while Joe Biden may not be any less genocidal than Donald Trump, he still maintains better policy positions in a whole host of other areas. The lesser of two evils argument got Joe Biden elected in the first place, so it seems common sense to use it once again. The crucial difference between the 2020 and 2024 election, however, is that voters have now seen Joe Biden in action. We have seen what policies he is willing to push for and which he is willing to give up on. We recently saw him refer to the murder of Laken Riley, which has been used to fuel the flames of ineffective and inhumane border policy, as “an illegal” murdering a US citizen during his state of the union address. Using an outdated term in such a blatantly problematic way showed voters that the racist Joe Biden we thought had retired is still around, just wearing different clothes.

In spite of the many reasons to disapprove of Joe Biden and not want to see him be the president again, the argument that third party voters are handing the election to Trump is malicious and will likely end up only pushing young voters further away. The idea that an election of Donald Trump in 2024 would be the fault of young or Arab or Muslim or any other kind of voter who did not show up for Joe Biden is built on the logic that it is the voters’ responsibility to get the lesser of two evils elected. If a candidate is so profoundly unlikeable that massive amounts of voters are voting for “uncommitted” instead of an actual candidate in the primary elections, maybe the blame should be put on the candidate and not sane and moral voters. If Joe Biden wants to win the election in 2024, bullying his base is not going to get him there. He needs to actually change his stance on the genocide in Gaza, and he needs to do so quickly. Of course, even if he woke up tomorrow and did something remarkable to immediately end the genocide, there will still be many for whom the damage is already done. No matter what trajectory Joe Biden takes, he will have the blood of 31,000+ Gazans on his hands, and no amount of retrospective apologies and reparations will bring those people and those entire lost bloodlines back. If anyone is to be blamed for a Donald Trump presidency in 2024, let it not be those who refused to be complacent in genocide, let it not be those who can’t forgive a man that let their families die. Let the blame fall on the ones responsible for enabling Trump to win, the ones that created the conditions to sow so much disillusion into young, Arab and muslim voters.

There are many reasons why one would vote for Biden in spite of all this as Donald Trump is viewed as a much worse option in many regards, and diminishing the harm that Trump has and would cause is not productive. The truth is that Joe Biden’s steadfast stance on military aid to Israel and being the most determined protector of the colonial-state on the international stage is the problem, not those unwilling to support him. This attitude of supporting Biden simply because he is better than Trump is allowing him to continue on his course, as he knows he would not suffer any consequences for his actions.

The label of a “one issue voter” is a far less disgraceful one than that of “genocide supporter,” and attempts to use fear of the alternative to force voters into line will have implications far beyond this presidential election cycle. The lesser of two evils approach to politics in this country is unsustainable if the evils keep getting more and more evil. Voters patience is not limitless, and come November, we will see if the American people have finally snapped.

This article originally appeared on pages 18 to 19 of the April 2024 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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1 Comment

  1. Terra,

    You do well to criticize Joe Biden’s campaigning and the national mood of having to choose between two candidates with meagre (at best) support, and highlighting opinions against Biden’s foreign policy. But you seem to assume that Israel is committing a genocide without offering support. This is an extreme allegation that would put Israel and its leaders in the same camp as Hitler and Pol Pot, and ignores that Israel is (1) reacting to an invasion which killed over a thousand of its own people, and which targeted civilians, and (2) is targeting militants, not civilians, in its retaliation.

    I would encourage you to consider whether the facts really support such an accusation, and what the consequences would be if the word “genocide” is used loosely. Would it make real accusations of genocide have less weight or be viewed politically? Does it empower antisemites to argue that Jews are not allowed to protect themselves?

    Julian Weiss
    Class of 2015
    Former Opinions Editor

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