Biden dealt a blow in Michigan as he loses Arab Muslims vote

US President dealt a blow in Michigan primaries as Arab Muslims poll ‘uncommitted’ in record numbers

US President Joe Biden, was dealt a major blow on Tuesday in his bid to win the next US election, scheduled to take place later this year in November.  A campaign in support of a ceasefire in Gaza and against continuing US support to the Israeli military, had aimed to persuade at least 10,000 of eligible voters in the swing state of Michigan, to register a protest on the ballot paper of the presidential primary, by marking the ‘uncommitted’ box. The remarkable success of the campaign and the strength of feeling amongst the majority Arab American and largely Muslim voters, led to an almost unprecedented 50% turnout, with over 100,000 placing their vote in the ‘uncommitted’ box.

Muslims vote ‘uncommitted’ in record numbers in Michigan primaries

94% of historically Democrat supporting Muslims voted ‘uncommitted’

According to poll figures collected by the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), over 94% of American Muslims who voted for the Democratic Party in the last election, voted ‘uncommitted’ on this occasion. The poll further revealed that if a snap election were called now, over 40% of Muslim voters would support an ‘unnamed’ other candidate and 25% would support third party candidate, Dr Cornel West. Remarkably, as many as 13% said they would vote for republican front-runner, Donald Trump. As few as 8% said they would vote for Joe Biden.  

Michigan is widely regarded as a critical battleground state, which with its 15 Electoral College votes, could be decisive in the November elections.  Joe Biden won the last election in 2020 in Michigan, by just 150,000 votes.  

Nihad Awan, the National Executive Director of CAIR, responded to the result by saying:

‘Today’s results show that American Muslims are an increasingly organized and important political force that can impact the outcome of close elections, especially in swing states.

CAIR’s Government Affairs Director, Robert S McCaw said:

‘Based on our exit poll and our interactions with Muslim voters, it appears that President Biden’s unconditional support for the Israeli government’s genocide in Gaza is likely playing a decisive factor in impacting his support within the Muslim and Arab-American communities’

Susan Demas, the Editor-in-chief of Michigan Advance, an established local news portal, published an observation saying that:

‘There is hope, especially if there is a ceasefire, that some of the uncommitted votes will come back into the fold in November…It would be somewhat ironic if Trump would pull out a victory with some of those Arab-American voters given his policies with the Muslim ban, and vowing to go even further in a second term by deporting citizens. But politics makes for strange bedfellows sometimes’

She added that support for Biden from Michigan’s Arab-American community, has been eroding in recent years due to a series of social issues, in particular the issue of abortion and LGBTQ rights.  

‘Biden has to change course on Gaza…people are so upset’

Former Democrat Congressman, Andy Levin, was even less optimistic. He posted a tweet, which read:

‘To win Michigan, I think Joe Biden has to change course on Gaza. I don’t think there is a political solution to this problem in the sense of figuring out messaging or really amazing TV ads or sending fantastic surrogates . . . people are so upset about this . . . young people are so mad at the president about war’

The recent primary vote represents a marked downturn for Biden, who at this stage during the 2020 elections, led Trump by 5.2 percentage points. Current polls put Trump in the lead by 4.2 percentage points.

The US President will be hoping that the ‘uncommitted’ campaign in Michigan, does not result in contagion across other states. His campaign team will no doubt already be concerned that voters across the United States will be concerned about the incumbent’s age and what is perceived to be his poor handling of the economy and immigration issues. Recent news footage of Biden answering questions about a ceasefire in Gaza and the 30,000 innocent deaths, to a TV news team while he ordered and consumed a mint chip ice cream in a New York shop, will not have endeared him to many who have been watching images of starving children in the Gaza strip.

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