In January 2021, President Joe Biden came into office with lofty promises including comprehensive federal voting rights legislation, police reform and clear pathways to citizenship for immigrants. None of these were enacted during his first two years in office when Democrats controlled Congress.
Biden has failed to act on, and even abandoned, most of his major campaign promises, so it is not surprising that polls show declining support for the Democratic incumbent in the 2024 election.
However, what is new is that this dissatisfaction for Biden, particularly because of his open support and continuous funding and approving arms shipments for Israeli genocide in Gaza, is fueling a national pressure campaign to dissuade voters from considering reelecting him.
Organizers of the #AbandonBiden campaign, initiated by Muslim leaders in the U.S., began rallying support in October in nine swing states with sizable Muslim and Arab voting populations.
In early December, Arab American leaders from Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, gathered in Dearborn, Michigan, pledging to support the “Abandon Biden, ceasefire now” call. Dearborn has the largest concentration of Arab Americans of any city in the United States.
A tipping point may have been reached on Dec. 29, when Biden announced a new $147.5 million sale of artillery munitions to Israel.
On Dec. 30, Muslim leaders of the campaign announced plans to expand their #AbandonBiden efforts in all 50 states over Biden’s failure to call for a cease-fire in Gaza.
During the Dearborn meeting, Minneapolis-based conference organizer Jaylani Hussein, director of Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter, told the Associated Press: “The anger in our community is beyond belief. One of the things that made us even more angry is the fact that most of us actually voted for President Biden. I even had one incident where a religious leader asked me, ‘How do I get my 2020 ballot so I can destroy it?’” (Dec. 4, 2023)
Although a small minority of the voting population in the U.S., Muslim Americans played a key role in helping Biden win in several swing states such as Michigan, where they constitute a significant portion of organized voters.
Muslims are not alone in their growing frustration with the Biden administration. An NBC poll in November found that Biden’s approval rating has sunk to an all-time low among young voters. As with Muslim voters, Biden’s support for Israel and refusal to support calls for a cease-fire appear to be the deciding factor for youth.
Since taking office, Biden’s approval rating has also dropped dramatically among Black voters of all ages, but the biggest decline has been among Latiné voters. Despite a campaign pledge not to build another foot of Trump’s border wall, the administration recently waived over 20 federal laws and regulations to open the way for construction of more barriers in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.
Biden is now discussing dramatic changes to asylum law and border enforcement nearly indistinguishable from Trump’s policies.
The #AbandonBiden movement has made it clear that it has no plans to switch support to Trump. The coalition plans to eventually endorse a third-party candidate. When asked about Biden alternatives, Jaylani Hussein responded: “We don’t have two options. We have many options.” (Al Jazeera, Dec. 2, 2023)