Michigan sends Palestine message to Biden, issues centrism warning to Trump

In the recent primary elections held in Michigan, a state where Arab and Muslim voters could have a critical impact on the November 2024 presidential race, a clear message was sent to Biden regarding Palestine. Michigan, known as a swing state, saw Trump win over Clinton by a narrow margin of 11,000 votes in 2016. In this week's Democratic Party primary elections, the fact that over 100,000 voters opted for the 'uncommitted' option against Biden constitutes a critical warning to the President. The highly effective 'Dump Biden' campaign launched before the primaries was evidently impactful. Despite Biden's attempts to address the Palestinian backlash with some statements to the press before the primaries, it was revealed that these remarks did not suffice to appease the Palestinian sentiment within the party. So far, Biden has been gauging the reactions of young people, African Americans, and Muslims within the party through polls, but the results of the Michigan primaries indicate a shift in voting behavior among these demographics.


The ongoing unconditional support of the Biden administration for Israel has been a subject of debate regarding its potential domestic political cost for quite some time. Actions such as shielding Netanyahu, making repeated statements at the UN in favor of Israel, and continuing arms shipments without regard to human rights violations, despite constant protests against Biden during campaign speeches, have led to consequences. Despite the mainstream media's continued focus on Israeli hostages, the Biden administration has been unable to explain why it hasn't called for a ceasefire. While Democratic activists have not hesitated to label President Biden as 'Biden the Genocide Enabler', Arab and Muslim voters have also stated that they will not vote for Biden unless he urgently calls for an unconditional ceasefire. Biden's promise to work for a ceasefire and expect an agreement by the weekend to placate activist voters in Michigan was insufficient.

Criticism against Biden has not been limited to the political arena but has also reached federal courts. A group of lawyers filed a lawsuit against President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Defense Secretary Austin for 'complicity in genocide'. While the court dismissed the case on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, it agreed to hear the plaintiffs' statements. The court's decision highlighted the likely genocide in Gaza as a result of the blockade and called on the Biden administration to review the consequences of their aid to Israel. Although such a lawsuit was unlikely to succeed in American domestic law, the statements in the court's dismissal indicate the extent to which the perception of Israel committing genocide with American support resonates with the public.


Despite Trump being largely assured of the party's nomination, there is discomfort caused by Niki Haley's refusal to withdraw from the race. Haley, who received nearly 40% of the vote in her former gubernatorial state of South Carolina, settled for only 3 delegates against Trump's 47, showing that her chances of nomination are slim. Haley's announcement that she will not withdraw until after the results of the upcoming 'Super Tuesday' primaries next week is seen as an attempt to show that the party has not entirely surrendered to the former President, despite being unable to defeat him. Haley's receipt of nearly 300,000 votes in Michigan indicates that moderate Republicans and independents do not support Trump. It is unlikely that Trump will ignore Haley's opposition, given that he will need the support of these groups in the November elections.

It wouldn't be surprising if Haley withdraws after seeing the Super Tuesday results, but the real issue will be how much support she receives. The presence of a segment resisting Trump and their potential reluctance to go to the polls could be a significant handicap for the November elections. Haley could claim the position of 'I told you so' if she does not try to bring Trump to her side and he loses the election. Regardless, although Trump's nomination seems highly likely, the perception that not all Republicans are fully behind him could become widespread as we approach the November elections. Trump's adoption of 'moderate' policies to win the support of center voters may not suffice, given his previous term in office.

Following the Michigan elections, we can say that both Biden and Trump struggled to garner support from significant segments of their own voters. The fact that both candidates have served one term as president means that voters are familiar with both of them. In other words, these politicians have limited capabilities to propose game-changing surprise policies. Therefore, both candidates will enter a campaign period where they will devote significant time to persuading and mobilizing their natural voters. In the battle between former President, perceived as 'Biden the Genocide Enabler,' and the current President, the message from Michigan suggests that Palestine may have a game-changing effect for Democrats and moderate politics for Republicans in the November elections.

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