washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In the wake of the Michigan Democratic primary, Nathaniel Rakich addresses a worrisome question in his article, “Could Arab American and Muslim voters cost Biden the 2024 election?” at 538, via abcnews.com: “On Tuesday, President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in Michiganwith 81 percent of the vote — and yet it was his opponents who claimed victory….At least 100,000 Democrats in the Great Lakes State voted for “uncommitted,” a protest vote driven in large part by dissatisfaction with Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. Multiple groups had urged voters to reject Biden due to his support for Israel in the conflict, and the “uncommitted” vote was particularly high in heavily Arab American and Muslim cities such as Dearborn (where “uncommitted” actually defeated Biden 56 percent to 40 percent)….The deep discontent among these normally Democratic voting blocs could be a problem for Biden in November, particularly in swing-state Michigan, which has the nation’s highest share of Arab Americans and one of the highest shares of Muslims. The Biden campaign is counting on Arab American and Muslim voters holding their nose and voting for him anyway when they consider the likely alternative: former President Donald Trump, who also supports Israel and has a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric.” However, Rakich adds, “While it’s possible that Arab American and Muslim voters could decide a very close race, Biden could also win reelection without their support….many Arab Americans and Muslims were persuadable voters even before the Israel-Hamas war broke out on Oct. 7, 2023.” However, “For the first time since at least 1996, more Arab Americans also identified as Republicans than as Democrats, 32 percent to 23 percent. Just six months earlier, in April, 40 percent had identified as Democrats and 24 percent had identified as Republicans.” Yet, “most swing states don’t have significant Arab American or Muslim populations; even in Michigan, which has the largest such populations, they each make up less than 3 percent.” In addition, there are likely to be significant numbers of “uncommitted” voters, who will vote for Biden in November, when faced with the alternative of Trump defining Mideast policy and whipping up antipathy towards Muslims and Arab-Americans in the U.S. In any event, a Mideast ceasefire at least partly brokered by President Biden would likely help his campaign – and the sooner the better.

The Biden campaign should be concerned about another foreign policy issue, as reported in “Two years into the war, American support for Ukraine is down” by Monica Potts, also at 538, via abcnews.com. “From the beginning, Americans supported helping Ukraine, but only to a certain extent. Early on, many experts feared a swift Russian victory over the country and a conflict that could spill into the rest of Europe, including the U.S.’s NATO allies. As a result, most Americans, 71 percent, saw Russia as a threat to the country, according to polling from YouGov/The Economist right before the war started. Americans also supported economic sanctions almost immediately imposed by President Joe Biden’s administration and the European Union. Biden also recently announced new sanctions….A plurality of Americans also supported financial aid to Ukraine to help fight off the attack. But even then, 51 percent wanted the U.S.’s role to be “minor,” according to an AP-NORC poll from before the conflict….Forty-five percent of Americans now think the U.S. is spending too much money helping Ukraine, according to an AP-NORC poll from November. Ukraine aid is especially unpopular among Republicans, 59 percent of whom said the U.S. had spent too much. Disapproval may be especially high among supporters of former President Donald Trump: Only about a third of Trump supporters favored ongoing Ukraine funding in an Ipsos/Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll from Sept. 7-18, while 59 percent of anti-Trump Republicans favored it….At the same time, a plurality of Americans, 43 percent, think the West should support Ukraine until Russia withdraws, and 46 percent think the West is not doing enough to support Ukraine, according to a YouGov/EuroTrack poll from Jan. 5 – Feb. 4. Regardless of support for helping the Ukrainian resistance, what can’t hurt and might help President Biden’s re-election is a sustained media campaign, featuring not only TV ads, but also Democratic leaders repeatedly shaming Republicans for giving Putin a free ride on his invasion of Ukraine.

And speaking of free rides, Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani reports on Hunter Biden’s criticism of Republicans for their silence and abdication of responsibility for investigating Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s $2 billion deal with the Saudis. As Varkiani writes, “It’s a smart point to bring up, and one that begs repeating as we get closer to November. Shortly after he left the White House, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Trump, accepted at least $2 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That money went directly to Kushner’s new private equity firm, Affinity Partners. According to the original documents, The New York Times reported, in return for their hefty investment, the Saudis would receive at least a 28 percent stake in Kushner’s firm and be recognized as a “cornerstone” investor….If that wasn’t concerning enough, a later report from The Intercept revealed that the pitch from Affinity Partners focused almost entirely on Kushner’s official roles in the Trump administration and the potential political connections he could offer the Saudi investors in return for their investment. Perhaps none of this is a huge surprise, given that during the Trump years, MBS reportedly bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.” Hunter Biden is not the best messenger for calling attention to the Kushner-Saudi deal. But Democratic leaders should repeat the points he is making about GOP hypocrisy at every opportunity.

John Halpin makes the case that “Americans Aren’t Paying Close Attention to the 2024 Election” at The Liberal Patriot, and writes: “For the 2024 horse race polls to have any real credibility this far out, you need to have some confidence that most Americans are paying attention to the race otherwise you’re measuring the opinions of the most engaged voters and getting mere inclinations from everyone else….But according to the most recent data from The Economist/YouGov, the opposite is true—most Americans report that they are not paying close attention to the 2024 election at this stage….only 40 percent of American adults overall report that they have been paying a lot of attention to the 2024 election, with 31 percent paying some attention and 28 percent paying only a little or no attention at all. Even among registered voters, only half report paying a lot of attention to the election.” Halpin provides this chart to indicate how different demograpahic groups are following election news:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.