Biden faces discontent over Gaza in Michigan primary – National & International News

In Michigan, thousands of Muslims and Arab-American voters will vote “uncommitted” in today’s Democratic primary. This will be the first test of how much electoral support Biden has lost in this key swing state due to his military support for Israel.

Biden faces discontent over Gaza in Michigan primary

Today’s primaries in Michigan aren’t expected to be too suspenseful. Donald Trump, who leads his lone primary challenger Nikki Haley by 57 points, is expected to run away with the Republican nomination. Biden is also expected to win the Democratic primary handily. However, Michigan’s significant Arab and Muslim communities are hoping to send Biden a message demanding he cease his unwavering support for Israel’s military campaign against Palestinians in Gaza, which many are now calling a genocide.

For the last several weeks, groups including Abandon Biden and Listen to Michigan have been calling on Muslims Arab-Americans and any Democratic voters who are angry about Biden’s support for Israel to vote “uncommitted” in today’s primary. The two groups are hoping for 10% of Democratic primary voters will vote uncommitted. This would be about 10,000 votes, the same number Hillary Clinton lost by to Donald Trump in Michigan in 2016.

Muslim and Arab-Americans have long been a fairly solid Democratic voting block nationwide. In 2020, exit polls showed that about 64% of American Muslim voters backed Biden. By November, Biden’s support among American Muslims had plummeted to about 5%.

While Muslim and Arab-Americans make up a relatively small percentage of the US population, they have a significant presence in several swing states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

Biden’s attempts at damage control backfire

Over the last few months, Biden administration and campaign officials have been traveling to Michigan and other states with sizeable Muslim and Arab-American populations to hold “listening sessions” with community and faith leaders. These officials have sought to assure those upset over Biden’s military support for Israel that their opinions matter and some have even conveyed that Biden has privately expressed regrets.

However, Biden’s private regrets and public handwringing are unlikely to sway voters. Nearly 5 months into Israel’s military campaign in Gaza with over 30,000 civilians dead (12,000 of them children), Biden has yet to call for a ceasefire. Since Oct. 7, Biden has twice circumvented Congress to send Israel more weapons and reports suggest he may be about to do so for a third time. Biden is also still demanding that Congress pass a $95 billion foreign military aid package for Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel. 

Yesterday, Biden told reporters he was hopeful that a temporary (40-day) ceasefire in Gaza would be agreed by next Monday. But today, both Hamas and Israel were quick to dismiss this optimistic timeline.

Prominent Democrats have also engaged in blatant fearmongering and voter shaming against any Democratic-leaning voter who might be considering staying home or voting third party in November. Some have even spoken out against those voting their conscience in today’s primary. Speaking of “uncommitted” primary voters, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a national co-chair of Biden’s campaign, made the absurd claim that “any vote that’s not cast for Joe Biden supports a second Trump term”.

Adam Abusalah, a former Biden 2020 campaigner who is now an organizer for Listen to Michigan, expressed a sentiment shared by many in his community: “If we have another Trump presidency, that’s not on me. That’s not on voters. That’s on Biden”.



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