Mitch McConnell to step down as Senate GOP leader after 17 years – National & International News – WED 28Feb2024



Mitch McConnell to step down as Senate GOP leader after 17 years.

Over 100,000 “Uncommitted” Gaza protest votes in Michigan primary.


Mitch McConnell to step down as Senate GOP leader after 17 years

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 82, has long been one of the most powerful Republicans in Washington as Senate Republican Leader. Today, McConnell announced that he will step down from the position in November, when a new leader will be chosen. He did not endorse a potential successor. McConnell indicated that he would serve out the rest of his Senate term, which ends on Jan. 3, 2027.

During his speech today, McConnell acknowledged these shifting politics within his party. The last few years have seen serious challenges to McConnell’s leadership of his conference, which is increasingly aligning itself more closely with Donald Trump. Earlier this month, all but four Senate Republicans rejected a bipartisan-negotiated border security and foreign military aid deal which McConnell had championed. After initially demanding border security measures be coupled with the foreign aid bill, Republicans in both Houses rejected it at the behest of Trump, who wanted to use continued chaos at the border in his presidential campaign.

Additionally, McConnell suffered a concussion in a fall last year and returned to the chamber after a weeks-long absence. After the concussion, McConnell experienced two very public “freezing” incidents, once while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill and another while speaking to supporters in his home state of Kentucky. During the incidents, McConnell trailed off and went silent mid-sentence and took on a fixed stare which lasted several seconds. These incidents prompted speculation that McConnell was suffering some form of absence seizures.

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Over 100,000 “Uncommitted” Gaza protest votes in Michigan primary

President Biden won the Michigan primary yesterday with over 80% of the vote, which wasn’t particularly surprising. However, the size of the “uncommitted” vote, over 101,000 (just over 13%) at present count, was a surprise to everyone. It far outmatched the hopes and expectations even of organizers in the state who campaigned for voters angry over Biden’s military support for Israel to use their primary vote as a protest.

Two of the groups organizing the protest, Abandon Biden and Listen to Michigan, were hoping for 10,000 votes, the same number by which Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. In 2020, Biden won the state against Trump by 150,000 votes.

“Uncommitted” actually defeated Biden in Dearborn, MI, an Arab-American majority city of over 100,000 near Detroit. “Uncommitted” garnered over 56% of the vote while Biden won only 40%. In an interview ahead of the primary, Dearborn’s first Arab-American mayor Abdullah Hammoud said of Michigan’s Arab-American and Muslim-American community, “We’re not sizable enough to make a candidate win. But we’re sizable enough to make a candidate lose“. Hammoud has backed movements in his city and state to withhold support for Biden and even refused to meet with Biden’s staff earlier this year.

Abandon Biden and Listen to Michigan have sent a clear message. Unless Biden calls for a permanent ceasefire in Israel and begins conditioning aid to Israel, he will not get their votes in November. If past tallies are any indication, this could be enough to hand the state, and possibly the Presidency, to Donald Trump.

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