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SAUNDERS: ‘Uncommitted’ spells bad news for Biden, Democrats

WASHINGTON — Democrats have stood by President Joe Biden through his many stumbles, gaffes and memory lapses, the Southwest border crisis and the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. Still, the 81-year-old’s hold on his party survived.

Now it could be that Biden’s support for Israel, in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre that left 1,200 dead, is the issue that undercuts his support among Democrats in vital swing states like Michigan.

That is, Biden could be in trouble for what has been a principled position aligned with mainstream America.

More than 100,000 Michigan voters went for “uncommitted” in Tuesday’s primary. Biden garnered more than 600,000 votes.

Michigan has a large concentration of Arab-Americans.

Layla Elabed of the Listen to Michigan “uncommitted” campaign, told Politico the effort was not meant “to embarrass the Biden campaign, but to put pressure on the Biden administration and the Democratic Party to leverage a permanent cease-fire.”

“Permanent cease-fire” sounds so much better than giving Hamas what it wants: a reward, if you will, for kidnapping, rape, murder and infanticide. It is an unthinkable response.

“Uncommitted” supporter Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., refers to Israel’s actions against Hamas in Gaza as “genocide.” She uses the word a lot.

For much of her career, Tlaib has been considered radioactive to other Democrats because of her “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” rhetoric, which is a way of saying Israel should not exist. She was persona non grata within the party, but no more.

Progressives can tell themselves “uncommitted” only applies to the primary and won’t help former President Donald Trump in November. But they don’t know how the effort will play out in November.

“For me, (Biden) is beyond redemption — he has lost my vote because voting for him is basically me saying that I am OK with his actions,” University of Michigan and pro-Palestinian activist Salma Hamamy, 22, told The New York Times. “If that means Trump is elected, I blame the Democratic Party for allowing that to happen.”

“Uncommitted” is making Biden less committed to Israel. The president’s been sniping about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If Israel doesn’t change course, Biden told Late Night host Seth Meyers as the two enjoyed ice cream cones, “they’re going to lose support from around the world,”

I’ll say this for the “uncommitted” Democrats. They’re exercising their rights as citizens. They’re standing up for their beliefs. And they’ve found an effective way to get Biden’s attention.

I think they’re wrong.

Now’s a good time for Pro-Israel Democrats and Republicans to let their voices be heard and direct pressure on Biden to stand with Israel now with the firmness he showed on Oct. 8.

Nikki Haley garnered nearly 300,000 votes compared to Trump’s 750,000-plus. Trump won more Michigan votes Tuesday than Biden, “uncommitted” and other challengers. Again, there’s that lack of enthusiasm on the Democratic side.

Haley will remain in the race at least through Super Tuesday, even though she has lost every state thus far to Trump.

Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas responded, “Joe Biden is losing about 20 percent of the Democratic vote today, and many say it’s a sign of his weakness in November. Donald Trump is losing about 35 percent of the vote. That’s a flashing warning sign for Trump in November.”

Bingo.

Contact Review-Journal Washington columnist Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com. Follow @debrajsaunders on X.

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