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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Why is Biden out of touch with younger Americans?

Jack Spiegel
U.S. President Joe Biden enters the Rose Garden during a speaking event on April 21, 2023.

With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, President Joe Biden is grappling with a large-scale loss of faith in his efforts. Young people aren’t happy, especially when it comes to his administration’s stance on the Israel-Hamas War.

Biden’s approval rating stands at 26% among young voters — ages 18 to 29 — and at 37% overall among registered voters, according to a December 2023 poll from The New York Times and Siena College.

Over the past couple of years, Republican propaganda has painted Biden as a senile old man with dementia. Creative? Yes. Credible? No. Biden’s supposedly deteriorating mental condition is not what makes him out-of-touch with younger voters — his age is.

As an 81-year-old man, some Americans think Biden holds some outdated beliefs, and that’s why he has an edge with older voters. By vying for the interests of older Americans, Biden can effectively secure the moderate Democratic vote while possibly persuading on-the-fence Republicans.

However, Biden is grappling with hits from both sides: from the right, he’s too liberal, and from the left, he’s not progressive enough on issues like immigration and the environment.

In the case of the Israel-Hamas War, Biden’s support for Israel is strategic. Adults ages 50 and older are more sympathetic with Israel, according to Gallup. Biden is looking for support among baby boomers, and missing the mark on supporting Palestine’s long-deserved autonomy.

Biden said he doesn’t want to see civilians die as a result of the violence in Gaza, AP reports. However, Biden’s administration has held strong on efforts to further bolster Israel in the conflict.

The congressional review process ensures that Congress must be notified 15 calendar days before an arms sale. However, on Dec. 9, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued an “emergency authority,” which effectively bypassed the typical 15-day review period. In this “emergency” invocation, the U.S. sent nearly 14,000 120-millimeter tank ammunition cartridges to Israel, CAP 20 reported.

Rapidly supplying Israel with heavy-duty weapons compromises the Biden administration’s policies on human rights and protection. While the Department of State identified credible reports of arbitrary or unlawful killings and detentions of Palestinians, Biden continues to back Israel.

The Biden-Harris administration has previously advocated for American Indigenous communities, emphasizing efforts to put an end to hate crimes and incidents. If Biden is so preoccupied with restoring autonomy to Native people while holding people accountable for hate crimes in the U.S., why is his aim to further arm Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians overseas?

On the Israel-Hamas War, Biden’s approval rating stands at 20%, per the New York Times and Siena poll. Further, 65% of young Americans are opposed to sending more military aid to Israel, via the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Perhaps it is Biden’s eye on older voters or his hypocritical democratic ideology, but young people are seeing through it. Concerns over the Biden administration taps into a larger ideology: that the political system, which demographically represents the older generation, is outdated and not concerned with the hopes of younger voters.

This ideology can be dangerous, especially considering that Biden is most likely facing former President Donald Trump — an insurrectionist.

If young voters do not feel seen or heard, they might make decisions that spite Biden, resulting in a repeat of the 2016 election. I’m not saying that voters will definitively support Trump because Biden has not committed himself to his promised progressive causes. However, I am saying that young voters might skip out on the election entirely because they are being dismissed.

On the topic of Palestinian autonomy, students all across the country are banding together to support Palestine through protests and boycotts against certain corporations that back Israel, like McDonald’s and Starbucks. Moreover, students are calling for a cease-fire — at a minimum.

Perhaps the criticism and disapproval from youth can light a fire under Biden’s administration, causing him to be more attentive and thoughtful before he bypasses Congress to fuel acts of brutality.

As a young voter myself, I want to see the Biden administration call for a cease-fire. At the very least, this would halt some of the violence Palestinians are experiencing in Gaza.

Secondly, I want to see America show up in a meaningful way to support the Palestinian people as they pursue sovereignty from Israel and autonomy as a whole. Financial aid to struggling communities, businesses and infrastructure decimated by the attacks would be life-changing for survivors, and help Palestine build a strong foundation of self-determination.

I also think it is important that Biden amend his stance on human rights and protection. I want to be a constituent of a government that advocates for those who have been and continue to be harmed at the hands of state-backed violence. I don’t want to see a president who simply condemns hate crimes at a local level, then further arms hate crimes at an international level. As a voter, I want to know that my representation is showing up with meaningful contributions to establish a sense of worldwide peace.

Further, the younger generation is not powerless. When voters push the boundaries beyond simple compliance and use their voices meaningfully, we tend to see change. By using my voice, I am defying Biden’s hypocrisy and rallying along with pro-Palestinian youth protesters, inciting change in a way that is authentic to me.

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