Breaking: (Yawn) Joe Biden wins Michigan primary, but it’s probably still too early to gauge the impact of a protest vote for ‘uncommitted’




Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

Yes, I’m covering U.S. 2024 electoral politics under the heading of Israeli Imperialism over Palestine. Because it’s generally acknowledged that Joe Biden is the only one who has the leverage to push Binyamin Netanyahu off his genocide. So how do you pressure Biden? In an election year?

This is probably premature, but:

[Joe] Biden overcame an activist-led push to lodge protest votes over his response to Israel’s war with Hamas, although the effort had surpassed 16% of the vote by 9 p.m. [Tuesday, February 27].[2]

From what I’ve gathered over the last several days, the concern has never been that Biden would lose the Michigan primary. It has, rather, been that the disaffected will either stay home or vote against him in the general. Michigan has significant Arab and Black populations and Biden’s support, while still strong, has dwindled, and between failures to keep promises to improve a number of issues especially important to many Black people, a perception that much support for Israel is racist, and Biden’s tolerance for Israeli genocide against Palestinians, the state was seen as a test of his support among these key groups. But in addition, I’ve seen several write that “it’s hard to see a path” for Biden to win the general election without winning Michigan.

So of course, this is the key question for those who like horse race coverage: Is Biden’s support for Israel losing him more votes than it wins?

Activists sought to send [Joe] Biden a message about the political costs of his support for Israel in a must-win state. Dearborn, in particular, is home to one of the largest Arab American communities in the United States.

In 2020, nearly 146,000 Muslim Americans voted in the general election in Michigan, according to an analysis by Emgage, a group working to grow Muslim Americans’ political power.

“This is not an anti-Biden campaign,” Palestinian American activist Layla Elabed recently told CNN. “It’s a humanitarian vote. It’s a protest vote. It is a vote that tells Biden and his administration that we believe in saving lives.”[3]

We’re just going to have to wait a bit longer to get a proper picture of this protest and its impact.

Ibrahim Dahman, “Palestinian Authority prime minister and government resign,” CNN, February 26, 2024,

Nina Lakhani, “Israel is deliberately starving Palestinians, UN rights expert says,” Guardian, February 27, 2024,

Ishaan Tharoor, “Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza is unviable,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024,

Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” CNN, February 27, 2024,

  1. [1]Agence France-Presse and Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2018,
  2. [2]Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” CNN, February 27, 2024,
  3. [3]Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” CNN, February 27, 2024,

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