Biden can’t afford a simmering summer of protests

Biden can’t afford a simmering summer of protests

President Joe Biden can’t afford a long, heated summer of protests that culminated in time for the Democratic National Convention in August and then entered the final weeks of an already toxic showdown with Donald Trump.

After days of campus demonstrations — fueled by anger over the massacre of civilians by Israel’s war in Gaza — the president’s reluctance to wade into the politics of a dangerous situation finally became unsustainable, resulting in his first on-camera comments on Thursday.

Politically, Biden’s speech was an act of fence-sitting.

He needs to avoid further alienating young, progressive voters who are angry about his handling of the Gaza war and could destroy his re-election hopes if they don’t show up in November. But he must also ensure that more middle-class voters are not convinced by Trump’s claims that the country is on fire and spinning out of control.

Anytime a sitting president looks like he’s observing rather than controlling an inciting event, he’s taking a huge political risk. This is especially true when a political opponent, in this case Trump, vilifies him as weak and unfit for the job.

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