Warning signs for Trump, Biden as they inch closer towards clinching their nominations

Digital Originals

Donald Trump and Joe Biden comfortably won their respective party primaries in Michigan on Feb. 27. However, the results revealed concerns for both candidates in their pursuit to win the swing state of Michigan in the November presidential election.

Close to 900,000 people turned out to vote in this year’s Democratic primary, a high turnout overall. Biden was backed by close to 81% of those votes. However, the large number of people who voted “uncommitted” was a sign of the backlash over the president’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

Nearly 13.3% of Democrats in Michigan voted “uncommitted” in a sign of protest, following a push by activists disillusioned with Biden’s support of Israel. Organizers had set a noteworthy goal of 10,000 uncommitted votes, as Trump won the state in the 2016 against Hillary Clinton with less than 11,000 votes. After weeks of organizing, they far surpassed their goal and garnered 101,000 uncommitted votes in the Democratic primary.

In comparison, in Michigan’s 2012 Democratic primary, Barack Obama received almost 20,000 uncommitted votes, and in the 2020 presidential election, Biden won the state by less than 3 percent over rival Trump, or about 154,000 votes.

“I voted uncommitted because President Biden is not doing the right thing for the Palestinian’s right to live. I believe in peace in both nations. Both nations should live in peace. What’s going on there is unbelievable.” Aziz Shawish, a Dearborn resident told Reuters.

Progressive Democrats and Arab Americans organizers in Michigan are demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. They are also calling for U.S. aid to Israel – which totals nearly $3.8 billion annually and potentially an additional $14 billion this year – to not be spent on attacks against civilians.

“In this community, the glaring issue is the situation in the Middle East. And it’s very well known that we support a ceasefire, and we’d like our president to listen, the politicians in the United States to listen, and to see the reality of what’s happening,” Fatme Faraj, a voter and a poll worker told Reuters.

While both Biden, 81, and Trump, 77, face generally low approval ratings and concerns about their age, Trump is also facing four different criminal prosecutions, to which he pleaded not guilty. Trump was also ordered to pay nearly $450 million by a New York judge for fraudulent manipulation of his net worth.

While Trump emerged victorious in the Michigan Republican primary over his challenger, Nikki Haley, Haley was still able to clinch 35% of the Republican vote suggesting a possible weakness for the former president heading into the general election. Some of Haley’s backers have already said they will not be voting for Trump in November.

The rising death toll in Gaza, currently at 30,000 and Biden’s push for more aid to Israel are likely to continue to influence the uncommitted movement. While a Trump victory is not expected to decrease the U.S. support for Israel or its right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu, organizers of the uncommitted campaign say they will continue to challenge Democrats not to take their vote for granted.

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