Biden’s Gaza Challenge Will Persist, but Michigan May Have Been Unique

President Biden and his allies had reasons for both hope and concern after a Michigan primary election that revealed the party’s painful divisions over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and confronted him with his largest measure of Democratic opposition to date.

He avoided his anxious supporters’ darkest predictions by winning the Tuesday primary, 81 percent to 13 percent, over an “uncommitted” movement that sprang up to protest his backing of Israel. Yet more than 100,000 voters registered their disapproval of him, signaling serious discontent among Arab Americans, young voters and progressives as he tries to stitch back together his winning 2020 coalition.

Democratic unease with Mr. Biden’s handling of the Mideast war will not go away as the presidential primary calendar moves on to more than a dozen Super Tuesday states next week, but his allies are optimistic that Michigan will serve as the high-water mark for resistance to the president within his party.

Though many states have the option for Democrats to cast protest votes against Mr. Biden, they are not nearly as likely as Michigan was to become a national litmus test for his popularity or his handling of the war in Gaza.

No other place will have the combination of a large and politically active Arab American community, a battleground-state spotlight with heightened stakes for November, and a weekslong runway in which Michigan hosted the country’s only Democratic primary action.

But if Mr. Biden’s immediate electoral worries have receded after Michigan, the political pressure over his position on Israel threatens to linger through the summer and fall barring a major shift in policy or progress to end the bloodshed in Gaza.

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