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Growing Anti-Biden ‘Uncommitted’ Movement Threatens President’s Reelection Chances, Reveals Democrats’ Rift with Young Voters

The growing “uncommitted” vote movement, which has caught fire in Democratic presidential nominating contests and led to reportedly 500,000 votes being cast nationally against President Joe Biden, is becoming a significant liability threatening his reelection prospects.

Frustration with the Biden administration’s handling of Israel’s response to Hamas’s October terrorist attacks is mainly driving the “uncommitted” movement, and polling data reveals that there are substantial generational differences among American voters regarding the Israel-Hamas war and attitudes towards Palestinians and Israelis. Biden’s “uncommitted” problem is not just with Arab-American and Muslim-American voters, but with younger voters in general who are a critical component of the Democrat Party’s coalition.

The “uncommitted” movement gained much more steam than expected at its inception with the Listen to Michigan campaign. The highly effective campaign, which the New York Times reported launched a mere three weeks before the February 27 primary and had a very modest $250,00o budget, led to more than 100,000 voters checking the “uncommitted” box in protest of Biden’s handling of the war. The vote total for “uncommitted” obliterated its initial goal by more than 90,000 votes in Michigan, and it has spread like wildfire to other states – especially in the Rust Belt, which had a major hand in deciding the last two elections.

Now, the Nation’s John Nichols reports that upwards of 500,000 Democratic primary voters have protested Biden with their ballots.  The movement now has delegates, “at least 25” of them, according to Nichols, “and continues to organize in late-primary and caucus states.”

“The campaign has won enough votes to secure Democratic National Convention delegates from Minnesota (14), Hawaii (7), Michigan (2), and, according to local news reports, Washington (2),” Nichols writes.

The label varies from state to state—”Uncommitted” in Michigan and Minnesota, “Uninstructed” in Wisconsin—but the sentiment remains the same.

The self-described “multiracial and multifaith, anti-war campaign,” Listen to Michigan, asked Democrats in the state to vote “uncommitted” in the February 27 primary to send a message to Biden that they reject his policy positions regarding the war and to make clear their demands for a ceasefire. The group is led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) younger sister, Layla Elabed, who is a community organizer, according to the Times.

Listen to Michigan headed into the primary aiming to secure more than 10,000 votes, as NPR noted. The uncommitted turnout was ten-fold compared to the goal, as 101,430 Michigan Democrats (13.2 percent of primary voters) cast ballots for “uncommitted,” showing the sentiment is widely held.

In the city of Dearborn, where local Arab-American and Muslim leaders reportedly snubbed Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez in January in an apparent silent form of protest, Biden lost by double digits percentage-wise to the uncommitted option.

Dearborn’s election results show that “uncommitted” landed 6,432 votes, or 57 percent of the city’s total. It earned nearly 2,000 more votes than Biden at 4,526, which is 40 percent. The Times previously noted that Elabed is from Dearborn.

“These primaries are an early litmus test for how much Biden’s stance on Gaza could hurt his reelection bid; the threat to Biden’s reelection isn’t that anti-war Democrats will vote for Trump, it’s that they won’t vote at all,” Listen to Michigan’s website states.

Biden won Michigan in 2020 by 154,188 votes. Losing more than 100,000 votes would put Biden in very dangerous territory, and that is before taking into consideration Michiganders who voted for him in 2020 but could be swayed to Trump on issues like the economy, the border, and the auto industry.

Furthermore, the 101,430 “uncommitted” votes came in the primary, not the general election, where voters would likely be even more motivated to stick it to Biden and not show up for him if a deep-seated animosity persists.

A week after Michigan, an even larger share of voters in Minnesota voted for the “uncommitted” option as the movement grew. In the March 5 Democrat primary, 45,914 Minnesota Democrat primary voters rejected Biden by selecting “uncommitted.” This accounted for nearly one in five Minnesotans who participated in the primary. Biden only secured 70.7 percent of the vote share because another 7.8 percent went to Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN).

On April 2, the “Uninstructed” ballot option in the Wisconsin Democrat primary garnered 48,812 votes or 8.3 percent of the total vote share. This came nearly a month after Biden earned enough delegates to be crowned the presumptive Democrat nominee.

The figure is more than double the 20,682 vote margin Biden won Wisconsin by in 2020. Hypothetically, if all of these uninstructed voters backed Biden in 2020 and just half of them stayed home that year, Trump would have won the Badger State.

“Uncommitted” garnered 14.5 percent for the Rhode Island Democrat primary vote, while it scored 11.6 percent in neighboring Connecticut, per Nichols. The New York Times shows that 29 percent of Hawaii Democrat caucusgoers went for “uncommitted.”

Two days after the primaries in Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and elsewhere, Biden on Thursday spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu via phone call, demanding a ceasefire in the war – and the White House issued a press release touting the call. However, while Biden tries to win back voters, including with his latest batch of “student debt relief” revealed on Monday, the damage is seemingly irreparable to some, especially to some Muslims and Arab-Americans.

Before the Michigan primary, New York Times Columnist Charles Blow caught up with Arab-American and Muslim leaders in Michigan – a visit that gave eye-opening context to how deep feelings of betrayal run in voters who helped put the 81-year-old in the White House.

Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan’s executive director Dawud Walid “said that for most Muslims, anything short of Biden ‘resurrecting 29,000 dead Palestinians like Jesus’ would mean that they will never vote for him again,” Blow wrote.

Palestinian-American Nihad Awad, who co-founded the organization and made clear he dislikes Trump, emphasized that reminding Democrats of Muslim voters’ influence supersedes keeping Trump out of the White House.

Later that day, Awad contended Muslims who supported Biden  bear guilt for his administration’s handling of the war, and voting uncommitted marked a “repentance,” Blow wrote:

I met back up with Awad on Monday evening at the Masjid Mu’ath Bin Jabal, a mosque in Detroit, where he addressed a large gathering in Arabic (I listened via a translator provided by the mosque), and argued that because Muslims voted for Biden in 2020, they’re complicit in the part the president has played in Gaza, and that it was, therefore, their obligation to vote uncommitted as a form of repentance.

The angle outlined by Awad is telling, especially if this is a widespread sentiment in Arab-American and Muslim communities. It would mean that, for many in these communities, the movement is far deeper than getting Biden to demand a ceasefire. It’s about these voters feeling betrayed by the man they put their confidence in, combined with guilt, by proxy, for his administration’s policies.

The issue for Biden on this lingers beyond non-Arab-American and Muslim voters, too, especially with younger Americans and the populist and radical wings of the party as well.

After Biden’s Michigan and Minnesota embarrassments, he joined MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart for an exclusive interview and implied that frustrations only lie with Palestinian-Americans who have relatives in Gaza, as the populist-left publication the Intercept’s Washington, DC, Bureau Chief Ryan Grim pointed out.

Capehart noted that Biden received “tough words” from Muslim and Arab-American leaders in the Blow interview – where some interview subjects indicated they would not vote for Biden again – and asked for his response to the “widely shared sentiment” that he is complicit in “genocide.”

“It’s not widely shared; you guys make judgments you don’t, you’re not capable of making,” Biden argued, continuing:

That’s not what all those people said. What they said was they’re very upset and I don’t balme them for being upset. Their family’s there. There are people who are dying. They want something done about it. And they’re saying, ‘Joe, do something. Do something.’ But the idea that they all think it’s genocide, it’s just not–that’s a different situation. Look, I can fully understand, and can’t you, you have a family member there, a family member families or come from a family that that is still isolated there and maybe victimized. It’s understandable they feel that way and that’s why I’m doing everything I can to try to stop it.

In a tweet Grim called Biden’s response “delusional.”

“He seems to think the only people who feel this way have loved ones in Gaza. He can’t fathom any other opposition,” he noted.

Sympathies for Gaza and Palestinians are more common than sympathies for Israel among young voters, especially young Democrats, according to a Pew Research poll published on April 2.

A plurality of one in three voters under thirty empathize with Palestinians more. This includes 47 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Republicans. Just 14 percent of all young voters sympathize with Israelis more, including 28 percent of Republicans.

Slightly more than one in five in this demographic equally sympathized with both, including 24 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of Democrats. Another 32 percent of voters under 30 were either unsure or did not sympathize with either group, but a specific breakdown on this was not available.

Sympathy for Israel steadily rises while it decreases for Palestinians across both political parties as age demographics increase. Of all Americans 65 and older, 47 percent sympathize with Israel, including a majority of Republicans (70 percent) versus 27 percent who sympathize with Palestinians – marking a substantial generational perception divide.

More Democrat voters 65 and older empathize with Israelis (25 percent) than with Palestinians (17 percent). Another 41 percent of Democrats 65 and up equally sympathize with both.

The poll sampled 12,693 U.S. adults from February 13-25.

Meanwhile, those on the radical left, including former top Bernie Sanders adviser Nina Turner, have helped drive the “Uncommitted” movement, further spotlighting that this is an issue of key importance for leftists beyond the Muslim and Arab communities in the U.S. Ahead of the Wisconsin primary, Turner encouraged voters to choose the uncommitted option “EVERYWHERE” after it was reported the administration was set to sell fighter jets to Israel in an $18 billion deal.

“The president is clearly not getting the message,” she wrote. After 48,000 voted uninstructed in Wisconsin, Turner demanded change in the administration’s Israel-Hamas policy. “No more aid,” she wrote.

Turner, who in July 2020 compared voting for Biden to eating a “bowl of shit,” thanked voters during the Minnesota and Washington State primaries for voting “Uncommitted” as well.

“This is what democracy looks like,” she wrote.

And even after Biden’s call with Netanyahu, which Turner called “encouraging,” she demanded “action.”

Turner also retweeted Dearborn, Michigan, Mayor Abdullah H. Hammoud, challenging the president to verbalize his sentiment in a public forum.

“It’s not a true policy position until the President steps to the podium and says the words himself, without qualifiers, expiration dates, and so on,” he wrote. “We’ve been down this road before.”

With one of Sanders’s top former surrogates in Turner amplifying the anti-Biden movement, it points to the possibility that some leftist populists and radicals, or so-called “Bernie Bros,” could be left orphaned by the Democrat Party into the fall in a positive sign for Trump. After all, 12 percent of Sanders supporters who cast ballots for Sanders in the Democratic primary in 2016 did not toe the Democrat party line and became Donald Trump voters in the general election, as NPR noted.

Trump, who stands firmly with Israel, has begun issuing critiques on the war. On Thursday, Trump affirmed to conservative Radio Host Hugh Hewitt he backs Israel  “100 percent” but argued, “You’ve got to get it over with, and you have to get back to normalcy,” adding:

And I’m not sure that I’m loving the way they’re doing it, because you’ve got to have victory. You have to have a victory, and it’s taking a long time. And the other thing is I hate, they put out tapes all the time. Every night, they’re releasing tapes of a building falling down. They shouldn’t be releasing tapes like that. They’re doing, that’s why they’re losing the PR war. They, Israel is absolutely losing the PR war.

On top of the Demcorat ballot protests, Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have made national headlines with numerous protests in the streets, including a violent one at the Democrat National Committee headquarters and multiple protests at the White House that involved gate shaking, as Breitbart News has noted. Furthermore, pro-Palestinian protesters reportedly forced Biden’s motorcade to take an alternate route to the State of the Union by blocking a street in Washington, DC, and disrupted his glitzy fundraiser with former Democrat Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton in New York City in March.

One Manhattan Democrat woman named Georgia Johnson, who protested Biden’s glitzy elitist New York City fundraiser, told the New York Times, “what he’s doing” seems “very evil.”

“A lot of people here, they’re tired of having to choose between what they feel is the lesser of two evils,” Johnson told the Times. “What he’s doing doesn’t feel like the lesser of two evils to me. It feels like something very evil.”

Now, fears about demonstrations at the Democrat National Convention that have existed for months are growing. In fact, one member of the 2020 Demcorat platform drafting committee, Heather Gautley, indicated to the Hill in an article published Monday that she expects “significant protests” on the war.

“I do think at the convention, for sure, I would be really surprised if there weren’t significant protests on this issue, and unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a lot that Biden can do between now and then to change that,” she said.

Of course, this year’s convention is in Chicago, which was the site of the infamous 1968 Democrat Convention. An estimated 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets to protest the Vietnam War during the August convention, leading to nearly 700 arrests and hundreds of injuries, as Time noted. The moment underscored chaos in the Democrat Party, and months later, the GOP’s Nixon-Agnew ticket won the election.

While Biden is feeling the heat and making demands to Netanyahu that undermine his initial posture after the October 7 attack, “We stand with Israel,” he will still have to grapple with more “uncommitted” efforts in late nominating contests.

In the coming weeks and months, Democrats will hold nominating contests in the ever-important swing state of Pennsylvania–where an uncommitted write-in campaign is underway–and some Democratic strongholds, including MarylandOregonNew Mexico, New Jersey, and Washinton, DC. Documented uncommitted campaigns are taking place in at least Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, and New Jersey, spelling trouble for Biden.

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