Dems fret over 2024 chances as anti-Israel protests break out across U.S.

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Violence erupts at UCLA amid anti-Israel protests on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Video screenshot)
Violence erupts at UCLA amid anti-Israel protests on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

By Mary Lou Masters
Daily Caller News Foundation

Democratic lawmakers are growing concerned over potential electoral repercussions that the recent anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the country could have on their 2024 chances, Axios reported.

Pro-Palestinian protests including encampments have broken out at Columbia University, Yale University, Emerson College and several others in recent weeks, where protesters have demanded their respective schools boycott, divest and sanction the U.S. ally over its war against Hamas. Images and videos of the demonstrations circulated among Democratic lawmakers ahead of their caucus meeting on Tuesday, according to Axios, with one member telling the outlet “many people are super frustrated and concerned.”

“The longer they continue, and the worse that they get, the worse it’s going to be for the election overall,” another House Democrat told Axios, adding that the protests are “bringing out [the public’s] most conservative side.”

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Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois told the outlet the war is “looming” over 2024, adding that “if there is some sort of [ceasefire] in Gaza right now, that would be very helpful.”

New Democrat Coalition Chair Annie Kuster of New Hampshire noted that some members “have been, kind of, holding back” from weighing in on the demonstrations.

“It’s complicated enough for us with the range of opinions and height of emotions we have, without weighing in on what [colleges] should be doing,” Kuster told the outlet.

Protesters took over Columbia’s Hamilton Hall early Tuesday morning, with one worker reportedly claiming to have been held hostage. The university threatened to expel the building’s occupiers, and New York Police Department officers began arresting the protesters Tuesday evening.

“It just has become this confrontation. And in certain states like Michigan, there are big Arab American populations, big Jewish populations, it’s roiling all kinds of groups,” Kuster told Axios.

Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who holds one of the most vulnerable seats of the 2024 cycle, told the outlet at the Capitol that he’s “not going to talk about the politics of that. People always have the right to speak out and should.”

Brown’s campaign later provided another statement to the outlet regarding the protests, where the vulnerable senator argued that “there’s no place for antisemitism or hatred in our state or in our country.”

“Every Ohioan has the right to speak out and make their voice heard and need to do so in a way that doesn’t threaten others,” Brown added.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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