Despite a Significant Turnout for the Gaza Protests, Joe Biden wins the Michigan Primary

President Joe Biden is expected to secure a comfortable victory in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary, despite facing a notable protest vote due to the strong US support for Israel in the conflict in Gaza.

Mr Biden secured 80% of the vote, according to projections, while the “uncommitted” surpassed expectations with 13%.

His team will closely monitor whether the outcome in the crucial swing state will have a ripple effect across the country.

Many voters are upset about the US position in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The United States has a strong partnership with Israel, offering significant military assistance.

In the beginning of this month, the US blocked a UN resolution that requested an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, instead putting forward its own proposal for a temporary ceasefire.

There is a growing demand for President Biden to adopt a more forceful position against Israel’s military actions, even from within his own party.

Just before the Michigan vote, Mr. Biden expressed his wish for a ceasefire in Gaza by Monday, a sentiment not shared by Israel or Hamas.

Mr Trump is expected to win Tuesday’s Republican primary in the state, following what he described as a successful day.

The current results from the primary contests show that the two individuals are likely to compete against each other in the upcoming general election, a repeat of the 2020 election.

Michigan is a crucial swing state that has correctly chosen the winning president in the past two elections. With the highest percentage of Arab-Americans in the nation, Mr. Biden seems to have lost some support within this group due to his stance on Israel.

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Members of the Listen to Michigan group celebrated the significant number of “uncommitted” votes – over 100,000 – as a win. Attendees at the organization’s watch party were emotional as they watched the tally updates.

Congressman Andy Levin, a supporter of the “uncommitted” vote, addressed the crowd by saying: “I take no pleasure in being here this evening.” This moment is crucial because people are dying by the thousands.”

The conflict in Gaza started following an attack by Hamas in southern Israel on 7 October, resulting in approximately 1,200 casualties and over 250 individuals being held captive.

Israel has initiated a significant military operation in the Palestinian territory with the goal of eliminating Hamas.

However, a total of 29.974 individuals have lost their lives and 70,325 have been injured in the retaliatory campaign, with the majority being civilians according to the Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip.

Due to the significant impact, Israel is facing international pressure and demands for a ceasefire.

It’s not the first time that a significant number of Michiganders have chosen to vote as “uncommitted”. In 2020’s primary, approximately 19,000 residents participated, while in 2016, the number was over 21,601. In 2008, the number was 238,000. This was influenced by Barack Obama’s campaign, as he decided not to be on the ballot because of party disagreements.

However, activists in Michigan have been diligently coordinating efforts for months to convey a strong message to Mr. Biden regarding the conflict in Gaza.

At Salina Intermediate School in Dearborn, the BBC interviewed Hala, 32, who mentioned she voted “uncommitted”.

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She expressed her reluctance to support a certain candidate, referencing the controversial actions of the Israeli military in Gaza, which Israel denies.

Hala, who chose not to disclose her last name, mentioned that she voted for Mr. Biden in the previous election but was uncertain if she would support him again in the upcoming presidential election. “Perhaps he might consider a ceasefire, but it’s unlikely,” she remarked.

On polling day, other Democrats expressed their continued support for Mr. Biden, such as Kim Murdough, an office manager at a church in Flint.

Ms. Murdough stated her support for Mr. Biden

“I voted for the Democratic party.” “I don’t have any problems with the actions taken by the administration,” she stated.

She mentioned that her concerns about Mr. Biden’s age, 81, were not a deal-breaker for her. “I’d prefer to have someone in office who occasionally forgets things rather than a criminal,” she stated, alluding to Mr. Trump, who is currently facing federal and state criminal charges.

Margaret Won also cast her vote for Mr. Biden. She is generally pleased with the president’s work, but mentioned that he has faced obstacles from Republicans in Congress.

She expressed a desire for younger frontrunner presidential candidates and mentioned that if Nikki Haley won the Republican nomination over Mr. Trump, she might receive her vote.

Ms Haley has not yet won any primary contest against Mr Trump, and this trend persisted on Tuesday.

Similar to many other states, Michigan conducts open primary elections. This allows Democrats, Republicans, and independents to vote, provided they request a specific party’s ballot.

The state’s final Republican delegates, crucial for a candidate to secure their party’s nomination, will be officially granted at a convention this weekend.

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Ousting the president is Samraa Luqman’s goal as a voter

Amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the “uncommitted” movement has garnered support from a significant number of state and local elected officials in Michigan, including congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud.

Ms Tlaib’s sister managed the Listen to Michigan campaign, with the goal of securing 10,000 “uncommitted” votes, the same margin by which Mr. Biden won the state in the previous presidential election.

Samraa Luqman, an activist with the Abandon Biden campaign, expressed her aim to remove someone from office for the significant loss of lives without advocating for a ceasefire.

One woman, who preferred not to be identified, shared with the BBC that she had changed her political affiliation to the Republican party due to the situation in the Middle East.

Senator Gary Peters, hailing from Michigan, shared with reporters during a meeting organised by the Biden campaign on Monday that the president acknowledged voters’ worries regarding Gaza.

Nevertheless, the White House has hesitated to withdraw its backing, providing substantial military aid to Israel and vetoing a UN Security Council resolution demanding an instant ceasefire on three occasions.

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