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Biden’s Support in Michigan Under Threat by “Uncommitted” Movement

Michigan voters are gearing up for the Democratic presidential primary, with President Joe Biden facing scrutiny over his stance on Israel.

As some progressives organize a movement to vote “uncommitted” in protest, Biden’s support in the state hangs in the balance.

With tensions running high, the outcome of the Michigan primary could have significant implications for Biden’s standing among key demographics and his chances in the general election.

Progressive Pushback

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Criticism has mounted against President Biden for his unwavering support for Israel amid its conflict with Hamas.

Progressives argue that Biden’s failure to advocate for a ceasefire and protect Palestinian civilians has sparked a backlash within the Democratic base.

Voting “Uncommitted”

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A movement has emerged among pro-Palestinian Democrats urging voters to select “uncommitted” in the primary as a message to Biden.

High-profile figures like Representative Rashida Tlaib and former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner have thrown their support behind this initiative.

Polling Insights

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Recent polling sheds light on the potential impact of the “uncommitted” movement.

While only 9 percent of respondents plan to vote “uncommitted,” a significant portion of undecided voters are leaning towards this option, particularly among young voters.

Biden’s Response

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President Biden’s campaign has yet to comment on the “uncommitted” movement.

However, experts suggest that Biden should be wary of losing Arab American voters in the general election if he fails to address concerns over his Israel policy.

Polling Uncommitted Difficult

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The director of Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, Matt Grossmann, told Newsweek on Monday morning that polling on the uncommitted option could be challenging because respondents might not be aware of the questions being posed.

Likelihood of Uncommitted Being Used

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“It also might be tough to be committed enough to show up to vote uncommitted. But the uncommitted option has received votes before—for example, when [Barack] Obama was not on the ballot because Michigan jumped in line in 2008,” he said.

Analyzing the Landscape

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Political analysts weigh in on the dynamics of the Michigan primary, highlighting the significance of Arab American voters and the potential impact of a “soft” support base for Biden.

Concerns for November

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Matt pointed out that while Biden should be worried about Arab American voters in November, some have already started to switch to the Republican side because of issues pertaining to schools and the LGBTQ+ community.

Swing Voters Might Moved Towards Republicans

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The most liberal Democratic primary voters typically “find their way back to their side by November,” he added.

“So there is a block or Arab American swing voters who could move toward Republicans over Gaza, but it is not the same as the people loudest on social media,” he said.

9% Uncommitted Not Shocking

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The executive director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, Thomas Ivacko, told Newsweek on Monday that he is not shocked by the nine percent of voters who intend to vote “uncommitted,” given that Biden has so far won handily in other primary states.

Core of Uncommitted Move Could Be Arab American Supporters

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“The core of that protest vote is likely to be among Arab American citizens, who make up about 2 percent of Michigan’s population. Young voters also are more likely than older voters to register this protest vote, but of course, young voters make up a relatively small portion of the electorate,” he said.

Might End up Backing Trump

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He continued, “If Biden loses 10 percent of his supporters from 2020 that could very well be enough to tip Michigan back to Trump, depending on overall turnout,” he said.

“In addition, in 2020 there were statewide ballot initiative items on Michigan’s ballot, such as protecting abortion rights, that very likely helped drive a surge of democratic turnout, and it doesn’t appear that will be the case in 2024.”

Tlaib’s Call to Action

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Representative Rashida Tlaib has been vocal in her support for voting “uncommitted,” urging voters to use their voices to send a clear message to the Biden administration.

Raise Your Voices

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“This is the way you can raise our voices. Don’t make us even more invisible. Right now, we feel completely neglected and just unseen by our government. If you want us to be louder, then come here and vote uncommitted,” she said.

Governor’s Uncertainty

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer acknowledges the uncertainty surrounding the primary, emphasizing the importance of differences of opinion and the potential for surprises on election day.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to see on Tuesday, to tell you the truth,” Whitmer said. “I know that we’ve got this primary and we will see differences of opinion. I’m just not sure what to expect.”

Future Implications

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The outcome of the Michigan primary could have broader implications for Biden’s presidency, particularly in terms of his relationship with progressive Democrats and his electoral viability in key battleground states.

Impact on Foreign Policy

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Biden’s handling of the Israel-Palestine conflict has become a focal point in the primary, reflecting broader debates within the Democratic Party about US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Campaign Strategy

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As Biden navigates the challenges posed by the “uncommitted” movement, his campaign may need to reassess its messaging and outreach efforts to secure crucial voter support in Michigan and beyond.

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