In the February 27 Democratic primary in Michigan, more than 100,000 people voted in protest against incumbent president and candidate Joe Biden. The movement for Democrats to vote “disengaged” was launched in response to Biden’s unconditional support for Israel, including the direct supply of weapons while the Zionist state commits genocide in Gaza.

Biden won the primary with more than 618,000 votes, however, the results are worrying for the Democratic Party. Michigan is a strategic state in the US presidential election, a “swing state” that can go either Republican or Democratic rather than being solidly in either camp. In the 2020 presidential election, Biden won Michigan with 154,000 votes.

In Dearborn, Michigan, which is majority Arab-American and has been the scene of large protests against Biden’s policy toward Israel, more residents voted “uncommitted” than for Biden – with the latter receiving 56.22% of the vote and the first receiving 40.37%.

Rashida Tlaib, U.S. representative from Detroit and the only Palestinian woman ever elected to Congress, voted “uncommitted” and encouraged others to do the same. Tlaib has been shamed by her colleagues in Congress over her support for Palestine.

:: Biden calls for ceasefire in Gaza after ‘exhaustive’ talks with Israeli prime minister ::

“Today, I was proud to pick up a Democratic ballot and vote uncommitted. We must protect our democracy. We must ensure that our government is about us, about the people,” Tlaib said in a video shared by the Listen to Michigan campaign, which has been mobilizing Michigan residents to vote “non-committal.”

“When 74% of Democrats in Michigan support a ceasefire, but President Biden won’t listen to us,” she continued. “This is the way we can use our democracy to say ‘listen.’ Listen to Michigan.”

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud also voted “non-committal,” stating that the primary was not an Arab or Muslim issue, but rather a “morality issue.”

When the “uncommitted” vote total surpassed 100,000, Hammoud gave a speech to voters, saying: “We had the audacity to choose the people over the political party. And we had the damn audacity to choose people over the president.”

:: Lula meets US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken; Israel’s war must be discussed ::

Just before the Michigan primary, Biden said his “hope is that by next Monday we will have a ceasefire,” in response to a reporter’s question. “My national security adviser tells me we’re close, but we’re not done yet,” she said. However, on February 29, after the primary, Biden retracted his statement, saying, “I’ve been on the phone with people in the area… It probably won’t be until Monday, but I’m hopeful.” Biden’s quick retraction led some to believe his announcement of a possible ceasefire by Monday was intended to impact the Michigan primary.

The Biden campaign had a somewhat threatening response to the “non-committal” movement in Michigan, with Biden campaign co-chair Mitch Landrieu stating in response to Listen to Michigan: “We will continue to talk to them and then ask to consider the choices and consequences of electing someone who wants to impose a ban on Muslims.”

In response, Listen To Michigan campaign manager Layla Elabed stated, “It is deeply offensive that President Biden continues to suggest that he has a communication problem between Arab-Americans and young people rather than a funding problem of bombs. Biden’s re-election chances will be judged by how much of Gaza remains standing until November. We hope Biden chooses the American people rather than sending Netanyahu a blank check for war and occupation.”

After success in Michigan, the “uncommitted” movement quickly gained momentum across the country. Washington state’s largest union, the United States Food and Commercial Workers of Washington (UFCW 3000), has endorsed the vote as “uncommitted” in the state’s Democratic primary next month.

:: Unions in the United States unite for ceasefire in the Gaza Strip ::

“Currently, many voters and the UFCW 3000 executive board believe that the best path to having the best candidate and defeating Trump is to vote “uncommitted” in the upcoming Washington primary on March 12. The hope is that this will strengthen the Democratic Party’s final candidate to defeat Trump in the General Election in November,” UFCW 3000 wrote in a statement, which directly references Biden’s Israel policy.

“We stand in solidarity with our partners in Michigan, who sent a clear message in their primary that Biden must do more to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Biden must press for a lasting ceasefire and an end to US funding for this reckless war,” the statement continues. “We have many members deeply impacted by the war. The best way to send that message for policy change is through a ‘no pledge’ vote in the upcoming Washington primary on March 12.”

25 states and territories will have the “uncommitted” option on their Democratic primary ballots, as well as Democrats voting abroad. This includes other swing states like Wisconsin and North Carolina.


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