Protest vote in primary threatens Biden campaign

Data courtesy Associated Press | Marianne Williamson has unsuspended her campaign after besting opponent Dean Phillips.

Eliyahu Gasson | Opinions Editor

The virtue of democracy is that it gives people the opportunity to choose who represents them in government. We are not ruled by some despot in a palace or a gaggle of oligarchs who hide in mansions.

The downside — people are fallible, a fact made evident in Michigan this week.

This Tuesday saw the Michigan primary, where residents of the wolverine state voted on who they wanted to represent their party in the upcoming presidential election.

Donald Trump won the Republican primary, beating rival Nikki Haley by a margin of 41.6% according to the Associated Press. Joe Biden, too, won his party’s primary with 81.1% of Democratic voters electing him.

The primary yielded generally unremarkable results for anyone paying attention to the presidential race. Trump and Biden have been dominating their respective opponents since the Iowa Caucus in January which kicked off election season.

However, the results of the Michigan primary signal danger for Biden and the Democrats. A protest vote led by pro-Palestinian activists in the state pushed registered Democrats who were unhappy with Biden’s apparent support for Israeli violent offensive action in their war with Hamas to vote uncommitted. The goal was to signal to the Democrats that voters were displeased with the incumbent administration’s handling of the war in Gaza.

The campaign for uncommitted pulled 13.3% of the votes — a potentially serious threat to the Democrats that if they don’t change course on the Israel-Hamas war, they risk losing a significant chunk of their base and potentially losing the state of Michigan to the Republicans in the Electoral College.

If the uncommitted vote in the Democratic primary really is a warning sign — if Biden loses Michigan to Trump — if the movement spreads to other states and Biden loses in November, then marginalized Americans will have the pro-Palestinian progressives to blame.

The left eats its own, a saying that pertains strongly to the uncommitted movement.

The Democrats rely on the youth to win. It was the high turnout of young people that got Biden elected in 2020. The problem is that the youth are often petulant and immature. The voters who push for their Democratic counterparts to withhold their votes from Biden somehow lack both foresight and hindsight — too caught up on a single issue and bad electoral strategy to see what they are really accomplishing.

If they are serious, they are essentially opening the floodgates for Trump to saunter his way back into the White House.

Trump, the man who, in his first year of his presidency, enacted a ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries. This is the man who seems to have no qualms about sexually assaulting women and haphazardly pins Mexican immigrants as rapists.

The uncommitted movement risks letting the man who, after losing his election, stoked his followers into breaking into the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., during a joint session of Congress based on a conspiracy theory that the Democrats had stolen the election from him.

If your solution to the injustices in Gaza at the hands of the Israeli Defense Force and Hamas are to give way to a candidate who is by all accounts worse for your community, then you need to rethink your electoral strategy.

Dissatisfaction with the current candidate is fine. Few people are excited to see another race between the 77-year-old Trump and the 81-year-old Biden, two of the oldest mainstream candidates to run for the White House. But the lead up to an election is not the time to start threatening the election of the candidate whose administration quite obviously has better intentions for the average American.

If you feel strongly enough that your best option for president is on the wrong path, then you need to get involved in politics between elections.

Join a canvassing organization to promote candidates who more closely align with your values. Knock on doors, call registered voters, make the case for the alternative before the primaries begin.

At least Biden is showing some support for humanitarian aid in Gaza. At least his administration has shown some sympathy to Gazans. At least Biden is willing to put some pressure on Israel to ease up on its assault. Trump would never.

Trump would have no qualms about aligning himself fully with Israel’s right wing government.

The National Security Minister of Israel and leader of the far-right Jewish Power party, Itamar Ben-Gvir made his government’s opinion of Trump clear in an early February interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“Instead of giving us his full backing, Biden is busy with giving humanitarian aid and fuel [to Gaza], which goes to Hamas, said. “If Trump was in power, the U.S. conduct would be completely different.”

While perhaps well intentioned, the uncommitted campaign is short-sighted. If pro-Palestinian activists were truly committed to the safety and security of innocent Gazans, they’d swallow their pride and vote for the lesser of the two evils.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.