Why ‘Uncommitted’ voters in Michigan are throwing challenge to Joe Biden? - Hindustan Times

Why ‘Uncommitted’ voters in Michigan are throwing challenge to Joe Biden?

Feb 28, 2024 08:55 AM IST

Michigan's Democratic primary sees a surge in “uncommitted” votes protesting Joe Biden's stance on Gaza.

The organizers of Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary hope that a large number of “uncommitted” votes will send a strong message to Joe Biden and the Democrats that they are unhappy with their stance on the conflict in Gaza, which could affect their support in the November election.

Joe Biden faces backlash from ‘uncommitted’ voters over Gaza Conflict. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo(REUTERS)
Joe Biden faces backlash from ‘uncommitted’ voters over Gaza Conflict. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo(REUTERS)

Michigan is a crucial swing state, where Arab and Muslim Americans form a significant voting bloc.

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This option is part of a campaign to protest the president’s and the party’s approach to the Israel-Hamas war.

At a watch party hosted by Listen to Michigan, a group behind the campaign, the crowd erupts in cheers as Abbas Alawieh, a spokesperson for the group, announces that “uncommitted” has surpassed 11,000 votes, with more than 73 per cent of the total vote reported so far — about the same as Donald Trump’s margin of victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, which was their goal.

“This is a resounding victory for our country’s pro-Palestinian, antiwar movement,” Alawieh said.

ALSO READ| Michigan Primary 2024: Joe Biden wins the Democratic primary

The Democratic candidate, Rep. Dean Phillips, who has little chance of winning, said to CNN that Biden has more troubles than the “uncommitted” vote in Michigan before the November election.

“For over eighteen months I’ve been trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to wake my party up from its delusion about the president’s fitness to compete in this election,” Phillips said.

“The uncommitted vote in Michigan is not even his biggest worry.”

The campaign is not unprecedented

In 2012, when President Barack Obama was the only candidate on the ballot, “uncommitted” got about 10% of the vote. In 2008, when the Democratic National Committee penalized Michigan for moving up its primary, “uncommitted” came in second place to Clinton with more than 40% of the vote, as Obama and Edwards had withdrawn their names from the ballot. The organizers said they were inspired by this example.

The Biden campaign is well aware of the attention that the “uncommitted” vote campaign is getting in Michigan before tonight’s primary.

ALSO READ| Michigan Primary 2024 : Donald Trump wins the GOP primary alongside Joe Biden

The Biden campaign will also emphasize that they are reaching out to other voters in Michigan, besides those who are dissatisfied with their policy on the Israel-Hamas war. They will highlight their efforts to appeal to union voters, whom Biden met with in Michigan last month, as well as Black voters and women, who are vital for the Democratic base.

‘Uncommitted’ voters will lead the war to Chicago

The Democratic floor leader of the Michigan House of Representatives, Abraham Aiyash, announced their plan to take their anti-war campaign to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

“We’re going to Chicago,” he said.

“We’re going to be at the Democratic National Convention - pushing and growing this anti-war movement.”

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