Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Biden wins the Michigan Democratic primary amid Israel-Hamas war pushback, NBC News projects

By 37ci3 Feb28,2024

President Joe Biden easily won Michigan’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, NBC News projects, in a contest that featured a grassroots effort to turn out votes against his handling of the war in Gaza.

Biden’s victory over his opponent, Dean Phillips, D-Minn., was never in doubt. The only question was how much a “non-threat” vote by a movement disaffected by its failure to rein in the Israeli army would cut into his margin.

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On Tuesday, the “non-threatened” vote was 16%, compared to 10% of the expected vote. By comparison, when Barack Obama was running for re-election in 2012, the swing vote in Michigan’s Democratic primary was 11%.

Among those who voted “non-threatened” was U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan and of Palestinian descent.

“President Biden can’t hear us,” Tlaib said in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

With Phillips unable to gain any momentum in his long-term bid, Biden’s focus is firmly on the general election and an impending rematch with his 2020 opponent, former President Donald Trump. Speaking days before the Michigan primary, a Biden campaign aide called the race uncompetitive.

“We’re really focused on the general election,” said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak freely.

As for the No Vote movement, the aide added, “This primary is uncontested, so people are going to use this time to have their say.”

High-profile surrogates visited Michigan on Biden’s behalf ahead of the primary, speaking to union, minority and suburban voters whose support is crucial in a state Biden should win in November. To mobilize voters, they celebrated Biden’s record and warned of the consequences of Trump’s continuation.

Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Grand Rapids last week to discuss abortion rights, which Democratic strategists believe will embolden suburban women in the fall.

“The people of Michigan cannot sit back and relax until they understand that elections are important and that there is a comprehensive, concerted effort to pass a national ban, which means the people of Michigan will not be safe,” Harris said.

More than any other primary to date, the Michigan contest was a referendum of sorts on Biden’s support for Israel in its war with Hamas. The rising death toll in Gaza and Biden’s refusal to call for a permanent ceasefire have eroded his support within the party.

Carol Reynoso, a Democrat from Dearborn who voted for Biden in 2020 and voted “non-loyal” on Tuesday, told NBC News in an interview: “I think this is a great opportunity to send a message to the administration that people in Michigan are concerned about what’s going on and there is a large group of people who want a ceasefire.

Organizers of the No Vote campaign hoped that if they could cut into Biden’s margin in Michigan, they could pressure him to reverse course and use his leverage with the Israeli government to withdraw his forces.

If safe votes exceed 15% in any congressional district or state, Michigan will send at least some unpledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention in August.

Some Democrats said Biden did not have much time to reunite a party torn apart by the war. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., who met with students and students, said that even if Biden gets a cease-fire in Gaza, there will still be a “milking” period before Democrats are comfortable with his leadership again. Arab leaders in Michigan last week.

“There is an urgent need for a course correction, and by that I don’t mean months,” Khanna said in an interview. “I mean weeks. And there has to be a mindset and a strategy on how to win this community back.

“You have to understand that when there is a course correction, it still takes time to heal and let the anger subside,” he said. and the war is over,” and two days later, everyone suddenly got behind the president.”

The anger against Biden is hard to miss. Last week, the Ingham County Democratic Party met at a Mexican restaurant in Lansing and passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire. The vote was unanimous, with Jewish members among those voting in favor.

Marshall Clabeaux, 30, sponsored the resolution. He’s a staunch Democrat who estimates he’s knocked on more doors for Democratic candidates than anyone else in Michigan over the past decade. Now he is “broken” by suffering and death in Gaza.

“If he [Biden] does not change course, it is very difficult for me to vote for him in November,” he said.

Equally hard to miss is the Democratic hostility to Trump.

As with Biden’s victory over Trump in 2020, one source of his support is voters’ dissatisfaction with the former president. Susan Titus, 79, a retired college professor in Detroit, voted for Biden and said her anger at Trump was the main reason.

“I think he’s pretty much a ———,” he said of Trump. “It terrifies me to think that, at 80 years old, he could … destroy the social programs that I have long been committed to and worked on.”

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By 37ci3

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