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Opinion: Arab Americans Could Cost Biden the Election

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

Arab Americans, Muslims and Christians alike, have historically voted for the Democratic party. In the early days of Arab immigration to the United States, Arab Catholics found themselves acting as a piece of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Coalition. This trend has continued and the Arab American Institute found in 2020 that Biden held a “double digit lead” over former President Trump amongst Arab Americans, even in traditionally conservative communities. 

However, this trend could change with the 2024 election in just under a year. Due to Biden’s lack of action against Israel’s siege on Gaza,  many Arab Americans claim that he has lost their support. In countless protests working for a ceasefire, crowds share a common sentiment: President Biden holds responsibility. This feeling is often followed by the declaration that Biden will not earn their votes in the 2024 election. 

In Michigan, protesters chanted “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide! We charge you with genocide!”

Michigan is an especially important state for Biden to win in his reelection. Michigan is one of the five battleground states for the 2024 election, according to USA Today. The state is also especially Arab. There are at least 277,534 Arab Americans in Michigan, according to the AAI.  Biden won Michigan in 2020 by only 154,188 votes, according to CNN

The Biden administration has had a limited reaction to this, and beyond a small push for outreach campaigns to Muslim Americans, little has been done to appease Arab American voters. The Biden administration is likely assuming the outrage will decrease as the election draws closer. The Public Affairs Council claimed that foreign policy issues generally hold little effect on voting decisions.

However, the Arab American community is a unique voting coalition that may not follow this trend. As a community, Christian and Muslim Arab Americans are bonded despite their unique experiences in American society. Arab Americans are constantly affected by U.S. foreign policy in their respective ancestral homelands. The book “Race and Arab Americans Before and After 9/11: From Invisible Citizens to Visible Subjects” found that after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and then after the  9/11 attacks, the concept of what it means to be Arab American changed. Arab Americans felt that their assimilation and belonging to America was completely shattered because of the way the U.S. portrayed them and their ancestors. 

It is important to note that the Arab American community is loosely defined, as there is no MENA or Arab category on the census. U.S. Census data plays an important role in policy decisions and research on civil rights issues, according to MSNBC. Arab Americans are not afforded the same research other ethnic and racial groups are. As a result, they are not often examined as a unified group. 

Nonetheless, Arab Americans have consistently been othered, surveilled and labeled terrorists. This has undoubtedly shaped their opinions and political activism, and will certainly play a role in the 2024 election. The effects of this should not be underestimated by Biden’s administration and the entirety of the Democratic party.

Jordyn Habib

American '24

Jordyn is a rising Senior at American University double majoring in CLEG and Arab World Studies. She writes about anything in terms of politics, DC news and history, as well as pop culture. She is currently serving as HCAU's President.