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Naomi Klein: If Biden Wants to Stop Trump, He Should Step Down

“He has so enraged young voters by supporting Israel’s genocide in Gaza that I doubt he can win,” Klein said.

President Joe Biden returns to the White House from his home in Delaware on January 22, 2024.

One of the most effective routes that President Joe Biden could take to prevent Donald Trump from taking office again is for Biden to step down, according to Naomi Klein, author and Professor of Climate Justice at the University of British Columbia.

As Gaza has been decimated by Israel’s U.S.-funded genocidal campaign in the past months, droves of progressive voters have vowed not to vote for Biden in 2024, rather choosing to abstain from voting for president at all or picking a third party; some voters in New Hampshire have started a campaign to write in “ceasefire” in the primary election rather than vote for Biden, who will win the nomination anyway.

But, nearly a year out from the 2024 presidential election, progressive voters are already facing rebuke from Democrats who say that progressives must vote for Biden as a form of harm reduction — while many progressives point instead to the harm to the 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza and death of over 25,000 Palestinians that Biden has unabashedly fueled in the past months.

In an interview with El País, Klein said Trump and his far right cronies pose a great threat — and, if Biden wants to maximize the chances of defeating him, the president should clear space in the election for another candidate who can bring about change domestically and abroad.

“Trump achieved a landslide victory in Iowa, at the start of the primaries,” the El País interviewer asked. “Is there anything that could stand in his way to the White House?”

“Honestly, Joe Biden stepping down,” Klein responded. “He has so enraged young voters by supporting Israel’s genocide in Gaza that I doubt he can win. Not to mention the Arab voters in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

Indeed, the outlook for Biden is grim. His approval rating has plummeted to the lowest level of his presidency within the last months, as polls have continually shown that a majority of voters, especially those who identify as Democrats, support a ceasefire — and other polling has shown that support for Israel amid the genocidal campaign has dropped.

Young voters — a key demographic for Biden — are especially frustrated with Biden, with a November poll finding that 70 percent of voters aged 18 to 34 say that they disapprove of Biden’s handling of the Gaza genocide, while the same poll found that a downturn in support from his own base of Democrats is fueling his low approval rating overall.

Meanwhile, as Klein mentioned, support for Biden among Arab Americans has plummeted amid his support of Israel: A poll by the Arab American Institute found that support for Biden among Arab Americans has dropped by 42 percent, from a majority of 59 percent in 2020 to a mere 17 percent in October 2023.

Biden has been touting things like his economic record on the campaign trail, but his presidency has been marked by unfulfilled promises — Biden’s plans on student debt, the climate crisis and immigration policy have all fallen flat. Some political commentators have noted that Biden could try to recapture some progressives if he took a sharp turn left, but still, many on the left consider his actions on Gaza to be unforgivable.

Democrats, however, are determined to stay the course, with many Democratic party leaders across states outright barring challengers to Biden from even appearing on primary ballots, despite the fact that he will secure the nomination comfortably due to his incumbent advantage.

But, as Klein warned, the massive void of viable progressive and left-wing candidates is allowing Trump and his allies to latch onto real anxieties that Americans are facing — and usher them into the far right.

She reiterated a point in her interview that she discusses in her recent book, Doppelganger, that people like Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon “talk about the globalists, banks and tech companies as enemies, but it isn’t anti-corporate critique. Their target is the migrants, the vulnerable. They absorb the power of an argument that has been abandoned by the center and the left and absorb it to benefit the fascist agenda.”

Speaking of Bannon’s international network and agenda, Klein went on: “He is the brains of an international operation, he has surpassed the parochial American left. They don’t know how to look beyond the border. There’s something very terrifying when you realize that Bannon is more internationalist than MSNBC.”

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