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Naomi Lim, White House Reporter


NextImg:Biden weighs move to the Left in 2024 amid outcry on Israel and border

After being pulled to the Left during his 2020 campaign, President Joe Biden is being dragged by liberal Democrats before next year's election for his more centrist response to the Israel-Hamas war and his emerging bipartisan compromise with Republicans for a Ukraine-border funding deal.

While there are 11 months until the contest, the Democratic Party's widening divide regarding those topics and more is contributing to the enthusiasm gap for Biden, putting pressure on him to move to the Left again.

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Biden promised to be the country's most "progressive" president in 2020 shortly after he secured the Democratic nomination, in part, as an overture to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), following it up with proposing and passing the American Rescue Plan Act and the Inflation Reduction Act as commander in chief. Simultaneously, Biden campaigned on a unity agenda, pledging to bring people together with bipartisanship based on his centrist record.

Biden "faked" being a centrist Democrat during the 2020 campaign but has since "shown his colors as [a] hardcore leftist," according to Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley.

"I don’t see him moving to the center in the next election," Shirley told the Washington Examiner. "There are too many examples to use against him as a leftist — Afghanistan, spending, weaponizing the IRS, turning a blind eye to leftist antisemitism, paying off student loans, etc."

"He sees the landscape and believes that [former President Donald] Trump and [Robert Kennedy], Jr. will compete for right of center votes or reformist votes, so he’s going to continue on a leftward tack thing," he said.

Republican strategist John Feehery disagreed, arguing Biden's "biggest problem" is "that he has moved to the center fast enough and far enough."

"He is still trying to please the Left, and it is killing him, especially in the climate stuff," the EFB Advocacy partner said. "The American people want affordable energy prices, not whatever climate nonsense that the Biden administration is pushing."

Besides climate, which has been deprioritized amid increased consumer prices and the threat of a recession, Biden has particularly enraged far-left Democrats with his approach to Israel as it wages war against Hamas, many criticizing him as "Genocide Joe" as Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank are attacked by Israelis. They are also angry at reports that he is considering reintroducing a restrictive immigration policy similar to Title 42 and the expedited deportation of illegal immigrants so Republicans will send more money to Ukraine before appropriated funds run out at the end of the year.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), for instance, Congress's only Palestinian American, who has been urging Biden to negotiate a ceasefire and was censured by lawmakers last month for her stance on Israel, scrutinized the president again this week and said that "immigrants and asylum seekers are human beings, not bargaining chips."

"It’s shameful that the Biden administration and my colleagues in Congress are comfortable bargaining their rights and safety for more funding for bombs, weapons, and war crimes," she wrote on social media.

Far-left Democrats are additionally disappointed, as Shirley alluded, by Biden's failure to forgive more federal student borrower loan debt, though his programs were undermined by the Supreme Court.

Regardless, Christopher Hahn, a former Democratic strategist who is now the host of the Aggressive Progressive podcast, downplayed the repercussions of the developments for Biden's 2024 campaign as Trump remains the Republican presidential primary's front-runner.

"It’s not a problem if the GOP nominates Trump," he said. "Nothing brings Democrats together like their dislike of him."

Trump has an average 48-percentage-point advantage on his closest primary opponent, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), 60% to 13%, according to RealClearPolitics. Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is at 12% five weeks before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15. But the hypothetical general election matchup between Biden and Trump is more competitive, with Trump having a 3-point lead, 47% to 44%. At the same time, although DeSantis has an edge of less than a point over Biden, 46.6 to 45.7%, Haley has a 6-point margin, 46% to 40%.

Biden and Trump's dynamics can be attributed to Biden's average approval-disapproval rating of net negative 17 points, 40%-57%. But Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray minimized the difference between Democrats "across the ideological spectrum" on Biden’s performance across topics.

"For example, the most liberal voters are only slightly less approving than other Democrats on how he has dealt with climate change, and this is offset by them being more favorable toward his economic policies," he said. "The lack of enthusiasm among Democrats is more about intangibles, such as his vitality, than it is about the issues."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Far-left concerns related to Israel, expressed even in protests outside former first lady Rosalynn Carter's memorial service last month in Georgia, have resulted in Biden warning Israel to "be more careful" during its military operations in Gaza to reduce the number of civilian casualties.

"We got a lot of work to do, but we’re not going to, in the meantime, none of it is going to walk away from providing Israel what they need to defend themselves and to finish the job against Hamas," Biden told donors Tuesday. "But they’re starting to lose that support by the indiscriminate bombing that takes place."