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Biden Wins Michigan Primary Despite Gaza Protest Vote

The US president expressed gratitude to Michiganders for their votes, but made no reference to Gaza.

President Joe Biden has secured an easy victory in the Democratic presidential primary, during the Michigan primaries on Tuesday

However, a notable protest vote by Democrats expressing discontent with Biden’s stance on Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza exceeded expectations.

On the Democratic side, early returns showed an unexpected surge in “uncommitted” votes, reaching nearly 40,000 after counting 31% of Democratic ballots, as reported by Edison Research.

This figure significantly surpassed the initial target of 10,000 uncommitted votes set by protest organizers, reflecting growing dissatisfaction among Michigan’s Democratic voters, particularly within the large Arab American constituency.

The Listen to Michigan campaign, advocating for the “uncommitted” vote, declared victory, stating, “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.” Campaign organizers announced their intention to bring their antiwar agenda to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.

President Biden, in a statement late on Tuesday, expressed gratitude to Michiganders for making their voices heard but made no reference to Gaza or the “uncommitted” votes.

Meanwhile, the protest votes in Michigan highlighted the challenge Biden may face in retaining support, especially from progressive Democrats and the Arab American community, as the situation in the Middle East continues to evolve.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump secured a decisive victory in the state’s primary, further solidifying his position as the frontrunner for the party’s White House nomination. Nikki Haley, his last remaining rival, trailed far behind. Early returns with 32% of the estimated Republican vote counted showed Trump with 67% support to Haley’s 28%.

Michigan, a battleground state, is anticipated to play a crucial role in the November 5 U.S. presidential election, setting the stage for a potential rematch between Biden and Trump. The president’s narrow 2.8 percentage point victory over Trump in Michigan during the 2020 election underscores the significance of the state in the upcoming electoral contest.

As the election season unfolds, the unexpected protest vote in the Democratic primary raises questions about how the Gaza conflict could impact Biden’s standing in Michigan and potentially influence the broader electoral landscape come November.

Chioma Kalu

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