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Joe Biden faces criticism over the Gaza issue after winning the Michigan Democratic primary


Joe Biden easily won Tuesday's Democratic primary in Michigan despite notable defections from party members incensed over his endorsement of Israel's war in Gaza.

Democrats in Michigan were advised by progressive activists and Arab-American leaders to vote "uncommitted" instead of supporting Biden, indicating that they saw this as a warning sign for his anticipated re-election campaign against Donald Trump in a pivotal swing state.

In recent weeks, one of the most significant political obstacles facing Biden's campaign has been the division within his party in Michigan. Some Democrats are concerned that he may struggle to bring their centre-left coalition together behind his candidature in November.

Along with other major issues like immigration, the economy, the future of US democracy, and the candidates' personal qualities, the backlash over Gaza has also brought foreign policy to the forefront of the presidential contest.

As of Wednesday at one in the morning Eastern Time, Biden had garnered 81% of the Democratic votes cast in Michigan, with 13% of voters selecting the "uncommitted" option. Marianne Williamson and Dean Phillips, two unlikely candidates, had roughly 3%.

In a statement released late on Tuesday following the vote, Biden emphasised his economic policies and efforts to defend reproductive rights rather than bringing up the conflict in Gaza. It will take all of us working together to fight for our freedoms, working families, and democracy. I am confident we will," Biden remarked.

Separately in Michigan, Trump easily defeated former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, moving him one step closer to securing the backing of his party.

At one in the morning, Trump had garnered 68% of the Republican vote, compared to 27% for Haley, indicating that he also faces party defectors.

Following the primary, Trump declared, "We win Michigan, we win the whole thing," alluding to the upcoming presidential election in November.

Haley promised to continue her campaign until Super Tuesday, March 5.

Democrats are protesting Biden's continued backing of Israel in the Gaza conflict, which has resulted in nearly 30,000 deaths, according to Palestinian officials, since Israel declared war on Hamas in retaliation for the terrorist organization's attack on October 7.

The campaign manager for Listen to Michigan, one of the organizations driving the "uncommitted" protest vote, Layla Elabed, claimed that "President Biden has funded the bombs falling on the family members of people right here in Michigan." "Thousands of Democrats in Michigan feel deceived after voting for Biden in 2020."

In recent election cycles, Michigan has been a battleground state where slim margins have made decisions. In 2020, Biden narrowly defeated Donald Trump with 150,000 votes, whereas Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton with less than 11,000 votes four years prior.

According to the most recent census, slightly more than half of the residents of Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, the state's largest city, are Arab-American. In Michigan, about 140,000 Arab-Americans cast ballots in the 2020 presidential contest.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American whose district encompasses a large portion of Dearborn, was one of the advocates urging Democrats to cast a protest ballot. Tlaib's sister, Elabed, is the Listen to Michigan campaign manager.

In a video uploaded to social media on Tuesday, Tlaib declared, "I was proud today to walk in and pull a Democratic ballot and vote uncommitted." "This is how we can use our democracy to say, listen," when 74% of Democrats in Michigan support a ceasefire, but President Biden is not listening to us.

Biden has consistently supported Israel with a strong hand. However, he has become more critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent weeks. On Monday, he told reporters that a temporary ceasefire in Gaza could start as early as next week.

According to recent polls, Trump would defeat Biden in a hypothetical matchup in Michigan. According to an Emerson survey released last week, he led the state by a margin of four points.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have disrupted several of Biden's public appearances in recent weeks, and national news was generated over the weekend by the US airman's suicide by setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington.


As co-chair of Biden's reelection campaign, Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor of Michigan who was re-elected in 2022, has been one of the state's most vocal supporters of the senator.

Whitmer declared that there was a "stark choice" ahead but that she was "proud" of the "rich diversity of backgrounds, ideologies, and cultures" in her state as the results began to come in on Tuesday night.

"We need to unite and push hard towards November in support of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and we'll keep spreading the word about the issues at hand every day," she declared.

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