Biden faces protest vote over Gaza in Michigan primary contest

DEARBORN  -   The US state of Michigan votes Tuesday in a presidential primary that is expected to be another ticker-tape parade for Republican Donald Trump -- but could deliver Democratic leader Joe Biden a bloody nose over the war in Gaza. Biden faces no serious opposition to being nominated to run for a second term in the White House.

But as the civilian death toll mounts in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, he has seen support erode among Muslims and Arab Americans, a bloc crucial to his narrow 2020 victory over Trump in Michigan.

Activists in the key midwestern battleground -- where Biden’s winning margin four years ago was a mere 150,000 votes -- want Michigan residents to vote “uncommitted” in protest, pressuring the president to back off from his Israel support and call for an immediate ceasefire.

“President Biden has funded the bombs falling on the family members of people right here in Michigan -- people who voted for him, who now feel completely betrayed,” said Layla Elabed of the “Listen to Michigan” campaign. The group aims to amass 10,000 “uncommitted” voters to deliver a “powerful, unequivocal message” that funding and supporting the war is “at odds with the values of the Democratic Party.” Biden is cruising to the Democratic nomination, with his main would-be rival, Minnesota congressman Dean Phillips, polling in single digits. But activists deny that the “uncommitted” campaign is merely symbolic, given their importance in an election decided on small margins. “Ten thousand votes is about the same as Donald Trump’s margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016,” Elabed said.

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