Democrats in Michigan Primary face voter backlash over Gaza genocide

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US President Joe Biden in the White House campus in Washington, US on October 11, 2023 (left) and Khalid Turaani distributed flyers on Monday encouraging people not to vote for Joe Biden (right) .—Reuters
US President Joe Biden in the White House campus in Washington, US on October 11, 2023 (left) and Khalid Turaani distributed flyers on Monday encouraging people not to vote for Joe Biden (right) .—Reuters

In the lead-up to Michigan's primary on Tuesday, voters in the state are organising to send a powerful message to President Joe Biden: "No ceasefire. No vote," BBC reported.

This mobilisation, influenced by events in Gaza, poses a significant concern for the Biden team, especially as the potential rematch with Donald Trump in November looms.

Michigan, a critical battleground state, holds the largest Arab-American population in the US, making it a testing ground for the impact of Biden's Israel-Gaza conflict policy on Democratic support. 

The discontent within the Arab-American community has been simmering for months, and the Democratic primary provides the first opportunity for voters to express their dissatisfaction by withholding their support from the president.

Two grassroots organisations, Abandon Biden and Listen to Michigan, are encouraging Democrats to choose "uncommitted" in the primary, gaining endorsements from various elected officials, including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Michigan House Rep Abraham Aiyash. The movement aims to secure at least 10,000 votes for "uncommitted," envisioning Michigan as a pro-Palestinian state.

While Biden's victory in the primary seems assured, the focus is on how many will vote "uncommitted" to gauge the electoral impact of his stance on Israel. Recent polls indicate disapproval of Biden's handling of the crisis, particularly in areas like Dearborn, where a significant Arab-American population resides.

Biden's delicate balancing act between supporting Israel and addressing concerns within his party has put him in a challenging position. Attempts to engage with Arab-American leaders and emphasise domestic achievements have not fully quelled frustrations. 

The ongoing conflict's toll on Gaza and perceived culpability are eroding Democratic support, even leading some far-left Democrats to consider alternative voting options.

Michigan, a swing state crucial for Biden's electoral success, becomes a focal point for gauging sentiments on both foreign policy and domestic issues. With concerns about the economy, Biden faces scepticism from voters like Nate, a blue-collar worker, who perceives a decline since Biden took office.

As Michigan becomes a battleground for expressing discontent, the primary results will serve as a barometer for the challenges Biden may face in the broader electoral landscape, highlighting potential vulnerabilities beyond the Israel-Gaza conflict.