More than 100,000 people voted ‘uncommitted’ in Michigan – Mondoweiss

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President Joe Biden predictably won Michigan Democratic primary, but more than 100,000 people voted “uncommitted” over the administration’s policy in Gaza.

The campaign to vote uncommitted was organized by Listen to Michigan, a group primarily comprised of local Arab and Muslim activists.

“Our movement emerged victorious tonight and massively surpassed our expectations. Tens of thousands of Michigan Democrats, many of whom who voted for Biden in 2020, are uncommitted to his re-election due to the war in Gaza,” tweeted the group Tuesday night. “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. President Biden, listen to Michigan. Count us out, Joe.”

The effort was backed by a number of prominent political voices including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), former Michigan Congressman Andy Levin, and the filmmaker Michael Moore.

“I’ve been saying this month that he’s going to cost himself the election. …If Trump has any chance, it’s the decision that [Biden’s] made to embrace slaughter, carpet bombing, babies in incubators dead because they cut off the electricity, on and on and on,” Moore told CNN days before the vote.

Lobbying groups like Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) attempted to downplay the results on Twitter. The organization inexplicably dismissed the movement for getting a mere 10,000 votes when only a small portion had been tallied. After it became clear that over 100,000 people had voted uncommitted, DMFI adopted a new narrative: the effort couldn’t be taken seriously because many people also voted uncommitted in 2012. “The press jumped to create a big story when only a tiny one was apparent,” wrote the organization, which was founded by Yair Lapid’s pollster Mark Mellman.

In actuality DMFI ran a number of ads aimed at dissuading voters from supporting the endeavor.

Michigan has a large Arab-American population and the Biden administration has seemingly developed anxiety over the swing state in recent weeks. There’s good reason for that consternation. Biden won the state by just 2.8 points in 2020 and Trump only narrowly prevailed over Hilary Clinton in 2016.

After Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud refused to meet with Biden’s campaign manager and multiple polls showed Trump winning the state, the administration sent a number of foreign policy officials to the state to meet with local Arab and Muslim leaders.

“Arab and Palestinian American community leaders at the meeting described excruciating stories of surviving war and enduring the betrayal of President Biden’s support of genocide,” said Listen to Michigan spokesperson Abbas Alawieh after the sit-down. “We were met with yet another failure from the Biden administration to call for an immediate ceasefire that saves lives. We asked how Biden can demand our votes when he provides unconditional weapons funding to an Israeli government that pursues a policy of collective punishment against Palestinians.”

Biden also expressed optimism over the possibility of a ceasefire hours before Michigan voters headed to the polls. Israel and Hamas both distanced themselves from the statement.

Over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its assault on Gaza in October, more than half of them women and children. The United States government supplies the country with over $3.8 billion in military aid annually and the Biden administration is pushing congress to approve an additional $14 billion. The United States has vetoed three UN resolutions calling for a ceasefire in the region.

A number of remaining states have an uncommitted choice on their ballots and the movement is expected to spread.

“It’s all of us trying to do whatever we can wherever we are,” explained Alawieh during a press call on Wednesday. “If organizers are going to build for an antiwar movement in their state, by all means, do your thing in your state, but let’s not get into this narrative that the media would want, which is, ‘This Uncommitted thing picked up steam in Michigan, but then lost steam in Minnesota and Washington.’ We need to keep the focus on Michigan because the effort here was unique and it’s a key state that Biden needs to pay attention to.”



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