- President Joe Biden’s support of Israel has sparked outrage among Arab and Muslim Americans following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack.
- The presidential battleground state of Michigan has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, and Biden only won the state by 154,000 votes in 2020.
- “Our aim is to punish Joe Biden, make him a one-term president and pair his loss with shame of the genocide in Gaza,” Democrat Khaled Turani, co-chair of the Abandon Biden campaign in Michigan, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
President Joe Biden’s support of Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack could cost him the battleground state of Michigan, which has a large population of Muslim and Arab Americans who are disappointed with his handling of the war in Gaza.
Top Biden administration officials met on Thursday with local politicians, activists and faith leaders in the Arab American hub of Dearborn, Michigan, to assuage their doubts about Biden’s handling of the conflict, which drew crowds of pro-Palestinian protesters. Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war has sparked outrage among the Muslim community in Michigan, and could curb his chances at winning the state he secured by only 154,000 votes in 2020, local advocates and political strategists told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The majority of the community will not support Biden, so he’s already lost the state,” Nasser Beydoun, board member and former chairman of the Arab American Civil Rights League, told the DCNF. “Last time he won, he won with the unanimous support of our community. And he made promises when he was here that he never fulfilled, and now, you know, with a genocide under his belt, you know, I don’t know how he’s gonna dig himself out of this hole.”
An overwhelming majority of Muslim voters supported Biden last cycle at 69%, an exit poll commissioned by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that opposes funding for Israel, found. In Michigan, Biden beat former President Donald Trump by nearly 40 points in Wayne County, which encompasses Dearborn and other large cities in the Metro Detroit area.
Michigan has the second largest population of those who claim Middle Eastern or Northern African ancestry at roughly 310,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state is also home to the second largest population of Arab Americans, making up 54% of Dearborn, and has an estimated 242,000 Muslim Americans.
Beydoun, who is running in the Democratic primary for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2024, is encouraging his community members to vote for the “uncommitted” option in the swing state’s Feb. 27 primary “just to show Biden that we have the numbers to take them down,” he told the DCNF.
“Then we will see how this administration responds, because if they think that we are going to forget by November, and they don’t produce a concrete action to end the genocide, rebuild the country and establish a Palestinian state, then our job is to make sure that Biden is not the next President of the United States,” said Beydoun.
Activists formed the Abandon Biden campaign following the start of the war in Gaza after the president failed to call for a ceasefire. The effort operates across several presidential battleground states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to encourage Muslim voters not to reelect Biden.
Democrat Samra’a Luqman, co-chair of the Abandon Biden campaign in Michigan, told the DCNF that there is virtually nothing the president could do to right the ship ahead of November.
“If he could resurrect all the 30,000 people that have died so far, I would be then willing to discuss reelecting Biden into another term,” Luqman told the DCNF. “And it’s not a sentiment that is just exclusive to me, or that it is an individual personal sentiment, this is really, really an entire population, an entire community in Michigan, that feels the same way.”
The Abandon Biden campaign isn’t advocating for their community to vote for anyone specifically — whether that be a third-party, Trump, a write-in candidate or the “uncommitted” option — but is instead encouraging them to vote for anyone but Biden, said Luqman.
“We are committing to all strategies, and really, really urging voters — if what motivates you is to write in ‘Free Palestine,’ then go do it; if what motivates you is to send a message by flipping to Republican, then go do it; and if you want to send a message using ‘uncommitted,’ then go ahead and do it. As long as they turn out, and don’t vote for Biden,” Luqman told the DCNF. “If it costs him Michigan because of it, then I will be extremely proud of the work that we’ve done.”
There are approximately 200,000 registered Muslim voters in the battleground state, and roughly 145,000 turned out in the 2020 election, according to the Michigan chapter of Emgage, an organization that aims to mobilize Muslim American voters.
Jason Cabel Roe, a GOP consultant based in Michigan, emphasized the significance of the population’s vote, as the president won the state by such a small margin in 2020.
“I think he’s in deep trouble with the Arab and Muslim population,” Roe told the DCNF. “And you do have some third-party candidates that are very full-throated in their support of a two-state solution at a minimum, and certainly pro-Palestinian in the maximum. So I think they can siphon off those votes from Biden, or you can see a lot of those voters sit on their hands.”
Cornel West, who is now running as a “Justice for All Party” candidate for president, has been vocal in his support for Palestine since the war began, and continues to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who was credited by many for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss in several battleground states, has also been critical of the war and launched a “pledge to stop genocide.”
While Adolph Mongo, a Democratic strategist based in Michigan, still believes Biden has “an edge” in the swing state, he argued that “the Democratic Party is in trouble.”
“Several polls show that the president has several problems. One is in the Arab community. I’m not surprised when he went to Israel and played kissy kissy with Netanyahu. That’s gonna piss off a whole lot of folks,” Mongo told the DCNF. “Sooner or later, they gotta pull Israel back from doing what they’re doing. While they have a right to defend themselves, they don’t have a right to continue to bomb and kill innocent civilians.”
“Democrats gonna have to beef up their campaign message, or he’s gonna go down like Hillary did in 2016,” Mongo added.
Rashida Tlaib, the Democratic congresswoman representing Michigan’s 12th Congressional District, has also threatened to withhold supporting Biden in 2024 due to his support of Israel. The congresswoman received widespread backlash for using the phrase “From the River to the Sea,” a phrase that many say calls for the wholesale removal of the Israeli state.
Vice chair of the Wayne 12th Congressional District Republican Committee Stephanie Butler, who lives in Dearborn and is married to a Muslim, told the DCNF that “it would take a miracle” for Biden to make up ground with the community.
“Biden is done for here. There is zero chance of him winning the Arabs back over,” said Butler. “They call him ‘genocide Joe,’ that’s his name here.”
An early January Target Insyght/Michigan Information & Research Service poll found Biden winning 73% of Democratic primary voters in Michigan, followed by self-help author Marianne Williamson at 9% and Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota at 3%. Williamson has since suspended her presidential campaign.
For a general election rematch between Trump and Biden in the battleground state, the former president is leading by five points in the RealClearPolitics average.
“Our aim is to punish Joe Biden, make him a one-term president and pair his loss with shame of the genocide in Gaza,” Democrat Khaled Turani, co-chair of the Abandon Biden campaign in Michigan, told the DCNF.
Biden’s campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.Republished with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation.