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Riley McArdle: Anti-Israel protest at the University of Alabama shows Joe Biden is even more unpopular than we thought

On Wednesday, during their week of final exams, students at the University of Alabama found time to gather in the university’s Student Center Plaza to protest Israel’s retaliation against the vicious attacks by Hamas on the Jewish state last fall.

While the protest’s organizers, the UA Leftist Collective, asked protestors via an Instagram post not to post images of other protestors online in an effort to “protect their identities,” images and videos from the demonstration quickly spread across various social media platforms. Some footage was even retweeted by conservative commentators such as the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA.

The main story, however, was not focused on the conflict between Israel and Palestine as much as it was on widespread disapproval of President Joe Biden. In a video originally posted to X by Maven Navarro, Editor-in-Chief of The Crimson White, UA’s campus newspaper, counter-protestors waving American and Israeli flags were seen chanting “F— Joe Biden.” What was far more amusing, though, was the fact that, as the camera panned to their roped-off side of the plaza, the anti-Israel demonstrators were seen joining in on the chant.

Navarro’s original post has now been viewed nearly twenty million times, has almost forty thousand likes, over two thousand comments, and twelve thousand reposts. Among those who responded to the video, Shapiro, referring to President Biden, wrote “You did it, Joe. You finally brought Americans together.”

This shouldn’t be too surprising to those who closely follow politics, though. President Biden was the most unpopular president since Jimmy Carter in his third year, according to a Gallup poll released in January.

As Biden and other old-guard Democrats such as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have attempted to be cautious in their approach to Israel and Palestine so as to appease supporters of both sides, they have angered the far-left factions of their party. Pelosi has even been confronted outside of her San Francisco home and chased through corridors in the U.S. Capitol by anti-Israel activists.

RELATED: ‘USA’ chants drown out pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of Alabama

What remains to be seen is what toll this fence-sitting will take on Biden and his fellow Democrats in November. Younger, often more progressive, Democrats seem to be dismayed by the more moderate tendencies expressed by their Party’s leaders. Go no further than the footage of young liberals at UA chanting “F— Joe Biden” for evidence to back this up.

According to post-2020 election polling by Pew Research Center, Biden carried the 18-29 age range by twenty-four points. However, as shown in the same poll, the margin between Trump and Biden narrowed by six points when compared to the margin between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016 in which Clinton commanded the 18-29 age group by thirty points.

While Democrats solidly own this age range during midterm cycles, the youth vote in presidential election seasons may slowly be becoming competitive. This isn’t so surprising to me, at least. Because I turned sixteen and began driving on my own when Trump was still president, I noticed the change in prices at the pump when the Biden Administration crippled American oil production. I got my first job about a month after Biden was sworn in, and I noticed a steady rise in prices on the menu at the Chick-fil-A where I worked.

If other students my age, all now eligible to vote in their first presidential election, remember, as I will, the difference between the last year or two of the Trump Administration and the Biden years, I won’t be surprised to see the youth margin between Trump and Biden narrow even further in 2024.

If those young, progressive Democrats who are annoyed by his somewhat old-school approach to policy don’t show up to vote for Biden, I would expect the margin to tighten even more.

Ultimately, if I were in Joe Biden’s shoes right now, and I saw a video of Democrats yelling “F— Joe Biden,” I might do a quick Google search for “retirement communities near me.”

Riley McArdle is a Birmingham native majoring in Political Science at The University of Alabama. He also serves as the current Chairman of The University of Alabama College Republicans and Chief of Staff of the College Republican Federation of Alabama.

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