'Uncommitted' vote wins at least 1 delegate in Michigan against Biden

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The “uncommitted” vote in the Michigan Democratic primary won at least one delegate Tuesday night, according to Decision Desk HQ results, a blow to President Biden that reflects deep unhappiness from parts of the party with his handling of Israel’s war in Gaza.

The “uncommitted” protest vote was led by progressives against Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, specifically his resistance to backing a full cease-fire in the conflict. The effort was backed by Arab American community leaders and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), herself the country’s first Palestinian American member of Congress.

Biden handily won the primary with 81 percent of the vote, as expected, but the “uncommitted” line took 13.3 percent of the vote, according to Decision Desk HQ. Biden took the majority of votes in every municipality except for two, the Detroit suburbs of Dearborn and Hamtramck, which host the state’s largest Arab American communities.

Organizers for the protest movement quickly declared victory on Tuesday, noting that the effort has heaped attention and criticism on Biden for his Middle East policy.

“Our movement emerged victorious tonight and massively surpassed our expectations. Tens of thousands of Michigan Democrats, many of whom who voted for Biden in 2020, are uncommitted to his re-election due to the war in Gaza,” said Layla Elabed, campaign manager of Listen to Michigan.

“Uncommitted” lines in previous Democratic primaries received about 20,000 votes, while Tuesday’s election garnered about 101,000 votes for the line, according to Decision Desk HQ. Biden received about 617,00 votes.

“Yesterday was a resounding victory,” Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. “This is not just an Arab or Muslim issue now. This is an American issue now.”

“It’s my hope, Mr. President, that you listen to us, that you choose democracy over tyranny,” said Hammoud.

Biden has rejected calls to back a long-term cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, instead working toward a second short-term pause that has faced roadblocks from both sides amid tense negotiations. 

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