President Joe Biden is navigating a challenging path as he deals with a divisive emergency foreign aid spending package.
This package, aimed at assisting Israel and Ukraine, also includes stringent border security measures to gain Republican support.
However, this strategy risks alienating a significant portion of Biden’s Democratic base, particularly young voters and progressives, who are critical of his approach to Israel’s conflict in Gaza and border security policies.
Youth Discontent and Progressive Pushback
The younger demographic within the Democratic Party, already cautious about Biden’s age, is expressing dissatisfaction with his stance on Israel’s actions in Gaza.
Adding to this, Biden’s proposed border security measures, designed to win over moderates and independents for reelection, are drawing criticism from Latino and progressive voters.
These measures potentially grant the president increased authority to expel migrants without asylum screenings, a move seen as a significant shift in his immigration policy.
Strategists Weigh In Short-Term Pain for Long-Term Gain
Tad Devine, a seasoned Democratic strategist, acknowledges the immediate backlash Biden may face from his base, stating, “It will, in the short term, undoubtedly result in some people being agitated. That’s part of what these compromises are about.”
Devine suggests that if Biden successfully secures a comprehensive deal encompassing Ukraine and Israel aid and addressing border issues, it could ultimately be advantageous for his presidency.
He also notes, “Yes, I think there will be blowback, but will that extend all the way until next November? I don’t think it will.”
Congressional Democrats Voice Concerns
Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), an emerging advocate for immigrants’ rights, has openly criticized the administration’s inclination towards adopting harsh Trump-era immigration policies as a compromise for foreign aid.
He said, “My message to [the president] is clear: We cannot cave to Republicans’ demands for ineffective and cruel Trump-era immigration policies as a ‘price to be paid’ for aid to our allies.”
Centrist Appeal Amidst Left-Wing Disillusionment
Ross K. Baker, a political science professor, notes Biden’s strategy appears to be courting centrist and swing voters, possibly due to his weakening support among traditional Democratic voters.
He comments on Biden’s calculations regarding the left’s support, stating, “One of the basic assumptions is he can never alienate the left enough to cause them to desert him in the face of a challenge from Trump.”
Polls Reflect Youth Apathy and Shifting Loyalties
Recent polls have highlighted a significant shift in young voters’ attitudes. A New York Times/Siena College poll reveals a stark decline in Biden’s support among voters under 30 compared to the 2020 election.
Further, an NBC poll shows substantial disapproval among young voters regarding Biden’s handling of the Gaza conflict.
Congressional Response to the Gaza Conflict
The situation in Gaza has prompted responses from key Democratic figures in Congress. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has called for a reduction in military aid to Israel, while Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has urged a reevaluation of the U.S. stance on Gaza, emphasizing the need to protect innocent lives.
Economic Concerns and Age Factors
Biden’s ratings are not only impacted by foreign policy but also by his handling of the economy and concerns about his age.
Polls indicate a lack of confidence among young voters in the economy, and a significant portion of Democratic voters expressed a desire for a different nominee, primarily due to concerns about Biden’s age.
Border Security and Legislative Hurdles
The president’s engagement in negotiations over border security is seen as a response to his waning support among base Democratic voters.
However, GOP senators argue that these negotiations have been delayed to the extent that passing the emergency aid package through both the Senate and House might be improbable until next year.
Strategic Implications for Upcoming Elections
The potential passage of legislation providing military aid to Israel and tightening border security could be strategically beneficial for Democrats in key states.
According to Devine, this approach could bolster the positions of Democratic senators in battleground states, emphasizing the importance of winning in these areas over relying solely on traditional Democratic strongholds.