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Beto O’Rourke Backs Michigan “Uncommitted” Campaign to “Pressure” Biden on Gaza

Beto O’Rourke joins people like Rep. Rashida Tlaib and former Rep. Andy Levin in backing the campaign.

President Joe Biden is walking past Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on February 26, 2024.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) has added his voice to the chorus of prominent politicians backing the campaign in Michigan to vote “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary on Tuesday in order to send a message to President Joe Biden to stop the genocide in Gaza.

In an interview last week with Michigan Advance, O’Rourke, who formerly ran against Biden but then endorsed him in 2020 after dropping out, said that he believes that the campaign is necessary for voters — the majority of whom back a ceasefire — to apply the proper pressure on Biden and demonstrate that their vote can’t be taken for granted by the Democratic Party.

“I agree with the aims and the goals. We should have a ceasefire, there should be a return of each [and] every single one of those hostages [taken by Hamas], there should be an end to this war and there should be a negotiated solution to Palestinian statehood…. and I share the concern that the United States is not doing close to enough to bring those things to pass,” O’Rourke said, highlighting a recent op-ed by Dearborn, Michigan Mayor Abdullah H. Hammoud advocating for the “uncommitted” campaign.

O’Rourke went on to compare the pro-Palestinian activists’ push with the historic march led by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders in 1965 on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, spurred by months of police brutality against Black civil rights activists. The march helped push President Lyndon B. Johnson to advocate for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“It culminates in John Lewis leading that march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in March of 1965, almost being beaten to death in the process, and really galvanizing the conscience of the country. Within eight days, Johnson convenes a joint session of Congress, and by that summer has passed and signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” O’Rourke said. “Sometimes political pressure helps a president get there, and that may be what’s needed now.”

The “uncommitted” campaign, organized under Listen to Michigan by advocates against Israel’s genocide, has picked up support of many Democratic politicians in Michigan, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib, former Rep. Andy Levin and state House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Abraham Aiyash. The campaign comes as Biden’s job approval has dropped to historic lows, with the vast majority of voters saying they disapprove of the way he’s handling the genocide.

“Listen to the majority of Americans that are saying enough. No more wars, no more using our dollars to fund a genocide. No more,” said Tlaib in a video posted on social media Tuesday.

Advocates for Palestinian rights have warned Biden that, if he continues on the path of backing Israel even as it commits unimaginable horrors against Palestinians, he will risk losing the presidency and ceding it to Donald Trump.

“If Biden doesn’t recalibrate his foreign policy, 2024 could look less like 2020 and more like 2016, when Arab Americans and Muslim Americans rejected Hillary Clinton due in part to her record in the Middle East as secretary of State. Now, in 2024, many are feeling a sense of betrayal by Biden, who promised to end endless wars and lead with empathy,” wrote Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Our Revolution, which has been campaigning for Listen to Michigan.

“Failure to change course on Gaza will stain the Democratic Party for generations, and four more years of Trump will forever alter the course of the nation,” Geevarghese continued. “This moment calls for unity and action among progressive voters — the key to Democrats’ success in the 2024 election and beyond.”

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