Democrats fear Israel-Hamas war could cost them in November

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Biden is under increasing pressure from Democratic lawmakers over the worsening conditions in Gaza, growing fatalities and Israel’s likely invasion of the southern city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians are sheltering.


Adding to those issues, Americans are increasingly disapproving of Israel’s actions. This has created a political headache for Democrats who are pushing the party to unite behind Biden and leading to concerns the issue could rear its head on the biggest stage in November.


“It’s massive. If this war keeps going on, then it will continue to be a major problem,” one House Democrat told The Hill. “The sooner Biden can break from [Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] in a major way, then the better off he will be politically. It’s not just the progressives who are angry about the U.S. support of the Gaza operation — it’s now broader than that.” 


“I fear what the DNC in Chicago could look like,” the House Democrat added, referring to the Democrats’ quadrennial convention in late August. 


The outrage toward Biden over his handling of the war has been visible through protests following him around the country, and through organized boycotts of him at the ballot box.


Last week, he was interrupted during two campaign stops: one in Raleigh, N.C., and one in New York City, when he was alongside former Presidents Obama and Clinton for a major donor event.


And groups such as Abandon Biden and Our Revolution have organized efforts in states with high concentrations of Arab Americans, Muslim Americans and young people — including Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota — to encourage people to write “uncommitted” or “Gaza” on their ballot to send a message to Biden ahead of November.


The administration has sought to keep the pressure on Israel to avoid civilian causalities, and Biden has called on Netanyahu to not launch his Rafah offensive without a clear plan. 


But that has not stopped Democrats from ratcheting up pressure on the administration over the current state of the conflict. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and others are urging the president and his team to push Netanyahu and his government to allow humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza, as more than 32,000 Palestinians have died in the war and many more have been displaced.


“Very anxious,” one Senate Democratic aide said about the party’s current mood. “The question is: When can you bring this conflict to an end? Democrats want to end this as soon as possible, because it’s the right thing to do and it’s a political necessity.”


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