June 18, 2024

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Joe Biden faces dissent over Gaza as he wins Democratic Michigan primary

2 min read

Joe Biden comfortably won the Democratic primary in Michigan on Tuesday, despite significant defections from a group of voters in his party angry at his support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

Progressive activists and Arab-American leaders had urged Michigan Democrats to vote “uncommitted” rather than support Biden, in a warning sign for his expected re-election bid against Donald Trump in a crucial swing state.

The dissent within his own party in Michigan has emerged as one of the biggest political challenges for Biden’s campaign in recent weeks, raising fears among some Democrats that he will struggle to unite their centre-left coalition around his candidacy in November.

The backlash over Gaza has also thrust foreign policy into the heart of the race for the White House, along with other top issues like immigration, the economy, the future of US democracy, and the character of the candidates.

At 11pm Eastern time, with 25 per cent of the Democratic votes counted across Michigan, Biden had won 80 per cent, while 14 per cent had picked “uncommitted”. Long-shot candidates Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson each had about 3 per cent.

In a statement late on Tuesday after the vote, Biden did not mention the war in Gaza, but pointed to his economic policies and efforts to protect reproductive rights. “This fight for our freedoms, for working families, and for Democracy is going to take all of us coming together. I know that we will,” Biden said.

Separately in Michigan, Trump notched up another comfortable victory in the race for the Republican presidential nomination against Nikki Haley, his former US ambassador to the UN, bringing him another step closer to locking up his party’s support.

At 11pm, Trump had won 67 per cent of the Republican vote, while Haley had won 28 per cent — showing that he also faces defections from within his party.

“We win Michigan, we win the whole thing,” said Trump after the primary vote, referring to the presidential…

2024-02-27 23:00:25

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