October Surprise? Three independent Sacramento events demonstrates a crucial Biden reelection hurdle

Notwithstanding cooling inflation, strong employment numbers, record highs for the stock market, and a presumed opponent who faces 91 state and federal criminal charges, President Joe Biden faces a brutal reelection campaign against Donald Trump.

Among the hurdles facing Biden are a possible impeachment proceeding, the legal woes of his son, Hunter Biden, and his age. 

In what we will call an early October Suprise for Biden, the October 7 invasion of Israel by Hamas has become a thorn in the reelection campaign and will have a significant influence on the 2020 presidential election. Biden and many Democratic candidates are operating in a political minefield. 

In the video below, several people picketing at the U.S. Federal Court in Sacramento, where U.S. Senator Alex Padilla maintains an office. The demonstrators are demanding a cease-fire by the Israelis.

The demonstrators are a coalition of liberal-leaning and progressive groups. 

Meanwhile, at last night's Sacramento City Council meeting, there were two incidents of people defending Palestine and, to a lesser extent, condemning Israel. Interestingly, the two actions were from people on the opposite ends of the political spectrum.  

From the right, Ryan Messano, as he has done at past Sacramento City Council meetings and other government meetings throughout Northern California, invoked an anti-Israel and an anti-Semitic commentary.

Interestingly, Messano started his remarks on the conflict by saying, "Israel is an illegitimate nation, and this city council needs to renounce your support for Israel."

He went on to claim the death of civilian Palestinians was a genocide. When Mayor Steinberg tried invoking government code 54954.3, Messano noted Steinberg's official statement regarding the war. 

Although it was a minor point, as he commented at the end of the meeting, those in attendance applauded.  

Earlier in the meeting, five audience members interrupted a hearing. Carrying signs, the group chanted "cease-fire now" as they moved through the city council chambers.

So, what do these relatively minor events tell us about politics? First, they are unlikely to have any effect on most local races, except for the U.S. Senate race, where it could influence the top two finishers - for you Giants fans, can you say, Sen. Steve Garvey - it's not likely to have much influence in California.

Outside of California, it could be the difference for Democratic Congressional candidates in close districts. If progressives are dissatisfied with a Democratic candidate's stance on the issue, they could vote for third-party candidates - something we no longer have in California general elections - or not vote.  

Far-right voters like Messano are not Biden supporters and are firmly entrenched with Trump, and as some have argued are motivated and part of a movement. But they do have some common ground with those on the far left who condemn Israel and support Palestine.

The far left will probably never support Trump. Like Congressional Democratic candidates in swing districts, the question for Biden is, given his leanings toward Israel, will progressive and pro-Palestine voters abandon him or perhaps vote for a third-party candidate?

The coalition Biden built in the Detroit area is a prime example. The area's large Middle Eastern population was instrumental in Biden's narrow margin of his 2020 victory in Michigan, but the political effects of the Israel-Palestine war are being felt.   

Historically, most presidential elections don't hinge exclusively on foreign policy. This election will be no different. 

However, given the president's unpopularity, the strength of Trump's movement, and barring some Middle East miracle that will satisfy progressives and voters of Middle East descent, Biden's October surprise came one year early. 

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