100,000 voters withdrew their vote from Biden in the US primary election in Michigan in protest

US President Joe Biden was given a lesson in his Democratic Party’s primary election in Michigan. According to the preliminary results published on Wednesday, Biden clearly won the vote with around 81 percent of the vote – but more than 100,000 participants withheld their vote from him. In protest against the president’s Middle East policy, they checked “uncommitted” (“neutral”), which is equivalent to a blank ballot.

The “Listen to Michigan” campaign called for the president to be denied a vote in Tuesday’s primary election. The result is a “loud and clear message” to Biden for a “permanent ceasefire” in the Gaza war, Layla Elabed, one of the campaign leaders, said at a press conference. The Midwestern state has a high proportion of Muslim voters with roots in the Middle East and North Africa.

Abdullah Hammud, mayor of the predominantly Arab and Muslim Detroit suburb of Dearborn, said he hoped Biden would choose “democracy over tyranny” and choose the American people over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Listen to Michigan’s goal was to get 10,000 votes for neutral. The fact that this goal has been exceeded so significantly is a warning signal for Biden. Michigan is one of the so-called swing states without a clear political preference – the results in these states are ultimately decisive for the outcome of the presidential election.

The US President thanked Michigan voters in a statement. He highlighted his commitment to the middle class in the state, but acknowledged that there is still “a lot to do.” The president didn’t mention “Listen to Michigan” at all. Biden’s internal party competitor, Congressman Dean Philipps from Minnesota, only received around 2.8 percent of the vote in the state.

The Gaza war was triggered by the Islamist Hamas’ major attack on Israel on October 7th. Hundreds of Hamas fighters committed atrocities primarily against civilians and, according to Israeli figures, killed around 1,160 people. Since then, the Israeli army has carried out massive attacks in the Gaza Strip in which, according to unverifiable Hamas figures, almost 30,000 people have been killed, most of them civilians.

The Biden administration is supplying weapons to Israel, but is also pushing for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

The “Listen to Michigan” campaign was one of the highlights of the months-long protests in the United States against Israel’s conduct of the war and the Biden administration’s handling of the conflict.

Michigan is the state with the nation’s largest share of Muslim voters. According to the US Census Bureau, 310,000 people live there who say they have their roots in the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2020, Michigan contributed significantly to Biden’s victory against Trump. However, Biden’s lead there over the then president was only around 150,00 votes.

On the Republican side, US broadcasters predicted Donald Trump’s victory on Tuesday evening (local time) just a few seconds after the polls closed in Michigan. Because of his party’s complex primary election system in the state, the ex-president will have to wait until the weekend for confirmation. In the presidential election on November 5th, everything boils down to another duel between Biden and Trump.

Trump had already clearly won against his internal competitor, former governor and ambassador Nikki Haley, in the previous votes in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Nevertheless, Haley wants to hold out at least until “Super Tuesday” on Tuesday, when Republicans vote in 15 states.