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Michigan Voters Send Biden Powerful Rebuke, With 13 Percent Voting “Uncommitted”

“We are no longer in a position to beg Democrats to listen to us,” said one Detroit City Council member.

Abbas Alawieh, spokesperson for Listen to Michigan, a group who asked voters to vote uncommitted instead of for President Joe Biden in Michigan's Presidential primary election, looks at election results during a watch party in Dearborn, Michigan, on February 27, 2024.

Over 100,000 voters in Michigan’s Democratic primary voted “uncommitted” on Tuesday, garnering roughly one vote for every six that went to Joe Biden in a powerful rebuke to the president and his support of Israel’s genocide of Gaza.

With over 95 percent of votes counted as of Wednesday morning, “uncommitted” received 13.3 percent of the ballot, with over 101,000 votes. Biden received 81.1 percent support, with 618,000 votes, while other candidates received about 5.7 percent combined.

In Wayne County, home to Dearborn, which boasts one of the largest concentrations of Arab and Muslim people in the country, “uncommitted” received 17 percent of the vote, while Biden got 78 percent. In the 12th congressional district, which encompasses Dearborn and parts of Detroit and is represented by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D), “uncommitted” similarly garnered 17 percent support.

If these results hold, this means that “uncommitted” will have earned the right to delegates at the Democratic National Convention, with Michigan’s primary rules stipulating that a candidate must get at least 15 percent of the vote in a congressional district to qualify.

“Our movement emerged victorious tonight and massively surpassed our expectations. Tens of thousands of Michigan Democrats, many of whom voted for Biden in 2020, are uncommitted to his re-election due to the war in Gaza,” wrote Listen to Michigan, the campaign run by anti-Zionist advocates behind the “uncommitted” campaign.

“President Biden has funded the bombs falling on the family members of people who live right here in Michigan. People who voted for him, who now feel completely betrayed,” the group said. “President Biden, listen to Michigan. Count us out, Joe.”

Those who feel betrayed by Biden for his support of the genocide include Palestinian Americans who have watched Biden circumvent Congress to send weapons to Israel to continue the assault that has killed dozens of their family members; Muslim and Arab Americans who feel that Biden has turned his back on their communities; and allies to the cause who simply can’t stomach voting for a man who is complicit in genocide.

Muslim voters in particular voted overwhelmingly against Biden. An exit poll by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and CAIR-Michigan of 527 Muslim voters found that a whopping 94 percent of them voted “uncommitted.”

The huge proportion of protest votes against Biden sends a powerful message to the Biden campaign. Biden won Michigan in 2020 by roughly 150,000 votes. Since then, his approval has plummeted, with voters upset over his handling of Gaza as well as the economy and his far right approach to immigration at the southern border.

Advocates for the “uncommitted” campaign have warned Biden that the Michigan presidential results will look more like 2016, when Donald Trump prevailed over Hillary Clinton, than 2020 if he continues on this path with his support of Israel. Indeed, in 2016, Hillary lost by a margin of only about 10,000 votes — 10 times smaller than the amount of votes that “uncommitted” received on Tuesday.

“We are no longer in a position to beg Democrats to listen to us,” Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Detroit City Council Member and Listen to Michigan supporter, told The New York Times. “Quite frankly, none of us want Trump to win, which is exactly why we’re doing this. This is the only way we can raise a flag to Democrats that you are going to lose unless you call for an ultimate ceasefire.”

Indeed, reports have found that the Biden campaign is getting the message. Politico reported this week that sources say the campaign is “freaking out about the uncommitted vote” and that there is panic over the pro-Palestine revolt. This is part of what inspired Biden to make an announcement about a temporary ceasefire on Tuesday, even though Israeli and Palestinian officials were surprised by the remark.

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