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How The Campus Protests Could Impact The 2024 Election

How The Campus Protests Could Impact The 2024 Election

Authored by Emel Akan via The Epoch Times ,

Some Democrats are concerned that the ongoing college protests may jeopardize President Joe Biden’s chances of winning a second term. And there is an ongoing division within the Democratic Party over how to handle these demonstrations.

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock, Getty Images)

Some want President Biden to take a harder line to quell the protests and combat anti-Semitism on college campuses, fearing that failure to do so could bolster former President Donald Trump’s electoral standing. Some progressives, on the other hand, are urging the president to defend students’ freedom to protest against Israel and demand a cease-fire. Some have even expressed concerns that the turmoil of the Vietnam War era may flare up again.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently likened the current protests to those in 1968. He warned that President Biden’s support for Israel could sink his presidency, much like how the Vietnam War brought down Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

This may be Biden’s Vietnam,” Mr. Sanders told CNN on May 2.

In March 1968, President Johnson decided not to seek reelection because of the growing public anger over his handling of the Vietnam War.

“Lyndon Johnson, in many respects, was a very, very good president,” Mr. Sanders said. “Domestically, he brought forth some major pieces of legislation. He chose not to run in ’68 because of opposition to his views on Vietnam.

“I worry very much that President Biden is putting himself in a position where he has alienated, not just young people, but a lot of the Democratic base, in terms of his views on Israel and this war.”

The current crisis bears some similarities to the Vietnam War era, as both involve protests and division within the Democratic Party. However, many argue that there are significant differences between the two situations.

“In the 1960s, much of the opposition around the country was based upon the draft. It was based upon so many American soldiers going over to Vietnam. This is not the case in the Middle East at this point,” historian David Pietrusza told The Epoch Times.

“A further difference is that in 1968 you had viable opposition to Lyndon Johnson’s nomination, first in the person of Eugene McCarthy and then of Bobby Kennedy. This situation does not exist today.”

Will History Repeat Itself?

As in 1968, the Democratic Party will convene in Chicago this August to select its presidential nominee. Some Democrats are anxious that the violent events more than five decades ago could be repeated in 2024.

Despite that the Democratic Party controlled the White House and Congress, 1968 was a turbulent year for the party. Having championed the Great Society programs, Democrats found themselves in disarray before the election, with President Johnson unwelcome in Chicago.

Reflecting on the aftermath, President Johnson expressed profound disappointment that his party had abandoned him.

“I’ve never felt lower in my life,” President Johnson said. “How do you think it feels to be completely rejected by the party you’ve spent your life with, knowing that your name cannot be mentioned without choruses of boos and obscenities?”

University police are confronted by protesters at the University of Chicago campus as they move to break up a pro-Palestinian encampment in Chicago on May 7, 2024. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

During that year’s Democratic Convention in late August, there were widespread protests against the Vietnam War and the political establishment. Amid riots and violence on Chicago’s streets, Vice President Hubert Humphrey received the presidential nomination, highlighting deep divisions within the party.

“It’s certainly possible, and perhaps even likely, that we will see significant demonstrations at this year’s Democratic National Convention,” Mr. Pietrusza said. “I suspect the police reaction this year will not be as controversial as that of the Chicago police in 1968, however.”

In the 1968 general election, Mr. Humphrey lost the White House race to Republican nominee Richard Nixon. Some attributed this defeat to voters’ frustration with Democrats for their perceived inaction in restoring law and order.

Given these historical parallels, many have said that President Biden is currently attempting to thread a needle on current protests, aiming to retain the right to free expression while reminding students that the United States is a nation governed by laws.

When it comes to the Israel–Hamas conflict, the president has also attempted to strike a balance between support for Israel and sympathy for Palestinians who are suffering in Gaza.

Following weeks of pressure from critics, however, President Biden made a strong statement on May 7 about the “ferocious surge” in anti-Semitism on college campuses and beyond. Hatred of Jews “continues to lie deep in the hearts of too many people,” he said during a Holocaust remembrance speech.

“Too many people are denying, downplaying, rationalizing the horrors of the Holocaust.”

He said that people have already forgotten the terror unleashed by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.

“It’s absolutely despicable, and it must stop,” he said.

Read more here…

Thu, 05/09/2024 – 16:20

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