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Muslim voters are drifting away from Biden

Pro-Palestine marchers protest outside the White House. Credit: Getty

October 24, 2023 - 9:55pm

Democratic voters have become increasingly supportive of the Palestinian cause over the past decade, with young voters and American Muslims leading the charge.

This could pose a problem for President Joe Biden, who has affirmed Israel’s right to respond militarily to Hamas’s attacks and pledged to support their defence, including through a proposed $14.3 billion in a recent funding package. 

Net sympathy for Israel among Democratic voters declined from a high of 35% in 2013 to a current low of -11%, and their favourability towards the Palestinians rose from 24% in 2001 to 36% in 2023, according to Gallup.  

Muslims have been a solidly Democratic voting bloc for 20 years, but support has been waning. After Barack Obama won 89% of the Muslim vote in 2008, this fell to 75.9% for Hillary Clinton in 2016. In 2020, Joe Biden secured about 64% of the Muslim vote.

“There will be a non-insignificant number of Arabs, Muslims, and young voters who sit out 2024 or vote for Cornel West instead of Joe Biden in states like Michigan and Georgia given his near one-sided support of Netanyahu’s far right government’s atrocities,” Democratic strategist Waleed Shahid wrote, adding that “in terms of young voters turning sour, Gaza could do to President Biden what Vietnam did to LBJ.” 

A similar sentiment was raised by other Muslim and Arab Americans, who told Politico that they felt betrayed by Biden’s handling of the conflict. 

This isn’t the first time Muslim Americans’ support for Democrats has been challenged under the Biden administration. Over the past year, this demographic has joined forces with conservatives to protest in favour of restricting sexually explicit LGBT-themed content in several school districts, while the Biden administration has championed LGBT activism, including childhood gender transitions.

In June 2022, hundreds of parents, most of whom were Muslim or Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, protested a Montgomery County, Maryland, policy that blocked parents from opting their children out of certain lesson plans, including those addressing LGBT issues. Months later, a school board meeting in Dearborn, Michigan, had to be suspended amid a massive parent protest by Muslim parents, who held signs reading “Homosexuality Big Sin” and “Keep Your Dirty Books In The Closet.”

Hamtramck, Michigan, the first city in the US to have a Muslim-majority city council, banned the flying of LGBT pride flags on city property this summer. Muslims in Hamtramck and Dearborn have also fought against the legalisation of marijuana, a substance that is widely considered forbidden within Islam.  

Michigan will be a key battleground state in the 2024 election. This is also where Muslim and Arab Americans have a strong presence; some of the state’s cities offer Arabic language voting ballots, and in Dearborn, Michigan, 45% of the foreign-born population is Arab American. Biden only won this state by 150,000 votes in 2020. Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a vocal critic of Biden’s approach to the conflict, has called for a ceasefire. 

It is possible that the Biden administration is taking note. When asked about the spike in antisemitism in the US in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre abruptly changed the subject to Islamophobia, saying that “Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks, and certainly President Biden understands that many of our Muslim, Arab-American and Palestinian-American loved ones and neighbours are worried about the hate being directed at their communities.”


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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Arthur G
Arthur G
8 months ago

Any sane US administration shouldn’t give a tinker’s damn about the votes of those who support Hamas. It’s like parties in the 1950s and 1960s caring about the votes of American Communists. They are our civilization’s enemies. Their supporters are our enemies.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
8 months ago

The Press Secretary is wrong: the majority of religious hate crimes in the USA are committed against Jewish people, not Muslims. I would never vote for a man with such antisemitic liars in his cabinet. And I’m a lifelong Dem who’s not even Jewish.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Ya. That’s pretty cringeworthy stuff. This information is easily accessible.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
8 months ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

The current U.S. Press Secretary is wrong about almost everything. Deliberately. She is mendacious and ill-informed, promoting nothing more than the “woke” agenda of the Biden administration, of which she is a prime example. Forget about merit. Choose people for appointed positions who reflect the twisted progressivist ideas regarding race, gender and any other accidents of birth we are trying to showcase.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

Wonder how life would turn out for her in virtually any Arab country – being a woman, black and gay.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
8 months ago

Good. Biden has been a disaster for the US and its place on the world stage. You don’t have to be a Trump supporter or even a Republican to notice that.
Biden’s actions and inactions have been directly responsible for most of the problems that the US – and the West in general – currently face.
In an increasingly dangerous world, we need strong leaders who project strength, resolve and good judgement. Biden’s obvious weakness emboldens the enemies of the West. Military power, now we are beyond the era of empire building, is mainly about deterrence. If the President truly is “The Leader of the Free World” then nothing about Biden’s presidency would deter anyone. Weakness merely invites attack – and Ukraine, Israel and potentially the rest of the free world are paying the price.
That should be an entirely uncontraversial point to make, yet politics are so polarised that a number of Dems would sooner see Biden wheeled round like a semi-sentient corpse, Weekend at Bernie’s style – rather than admit their man is a total liability and his Veep is several degrees worse.
The Democrat party has manged to alienate both Muslim and Jewish support – all based on their stance on Israel. That really takes some doing.
Not for the first time I’m left wondering if they’re trying to appear so useless? I struggle to believe that such a level of ineptitude can be achieved merely by accident.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
7 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

It’s not just Biden. Can you imagine a confrontation between Justin Trudeau and a bully? I wonder how much lunch money he lost in junior high?

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
8 months ago

Good. Although, the GOP is far more supportive of Israel than the Dems. The GOP doesn’t have a “squad” shilling for Islamic terrorists.

Will K
Will K
8 months ago

Mr Biden is fossilised into a 1950s view of the world, in which the USA could dictate to the World, and declare that leaders with different opinions will become “pariahs”. Mr Biden can’t change, so the US needs a new leader.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
8 months ago

“Muslim support?” Do you know what a tiny – if occasionally vocal – minority Muslims are in the U.S.? Without their sycophants in the universities, they would have no traction in American politics.

Ben Shipley
Ben Shipley
8 months ago

We really need to start deporting non-citizens who are so far adrift from our culture. And it’s not remotely racist or bigoted to recognize that a sizable proportion of such people will be Muslims. We should at least start arresting anyone who preaches violence at these rallies, if only to get them into the databases. Right now, we have no idea whom we’ve imported in the Biden years.

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
8 months ago

The drift of the US political class, and the shift in global economic and demographic power over the next 10 – 15 years, is likely to show up as facile and complacent the contention that “Israel is no longer Britain’s war…the Israelis will be able to crush Hamas, slowly and bloodily, but inevitably: if they find themselves overstretched, they have the muscle of the global superpower to call on. There is nothing, beyond vague expressions of encouragement for both sides to respect human rights, that Britain can or should offer”.

Last edited 8 months ago by Stephen Walsh
Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
8 months ago

Politico reports that the White House and the Admiral have felt it necessary to hold sessions to assist and appease Arab-Americans upset over Biden’s approach to the conflict. I also was quite shocked by his strong, one-sided approach.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
8 months ago

Do you ordinarily identify with Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, with Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau, with Emmanuel Macron and Ursula von der Leyen? Well, there you are, then. Israel has squandered any sympathy that the original attack may have gained it, as those of us who had been reared on the memory of the Mandate knew that it would. Support for it turns out to have a popular following only in the United States, and even there the other side now also has one, which is far younger, far more active, and far better-educated. Such support is also a self-conscious mark of real or imagined elite status there and in a handful of other countries, including Britain. But in most of the world, it simply does not exist. Where it does, then loyalty is tested by the willingness to degrade oneself by uttering the official Israeli account of the bombing of the Al-Ahli Arabi Hospital, and by not mentioning the attack on the Church of Saint Porphyrius, which by the way killed several of Justin Amash’s relatives. Thus tested, our dear Prime Minister and our dear Leader of the Opposition both pass with flying colours.