Biden scores Michigan primary victory amidst Gaza war backlash

In Michigan’s presidential primary on Tuesday, President Joe Biden secured an expected win, but faced a substantial protest from Arab Americans over his stance on the Gaza conflict. The “Listen to Michigan” campaign, targeting uncommitted voters, resulted in 50,000 protest votes—double the usual count—raising concerns for Biden’s November prospects in this crucial swing state.

Despite nearly two-thirds of polling stations yet to report, Biden’s nomination seemed assured, and his sole Democratic challenger, Dean Phillips, trailed with under three percent support. However, the sizable “uncommitted” votes signal potential challenges for Biden’s coalition in the upcoming general election.

The “Listen to Michigan” campaign aimed to censure Biden for supporting Israel amidst the Gaza conflict, where the death toll has escalated significantly. Biden’s perceived stance has weakened his support among Muslims and Arab Americans, pivotal to his 2020 victory in Michigan.

While Biden released a statement thanking voters and emphasizing his record, he made no reference to the Gaza conflict or the protest votes. The campaign accused Biden of betraying voters who feel the impact of the conflict directly.

On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump secured victory, as expected, maintaining his lead in early voting states. Trump’s remaining challenger, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, faces an uphill battle after losing her home state of South Carolina over the weekend.

The significant number of protest votes in Michigan raises alarm bells for Biden, emphasizing the importance of retaining support in a state critical to his re-election. As the Gaza conflict continues, its impact on voters may shape the political landscape leading up to the general election.

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