Democratic protest vote over the Israel-Hamas war spreads to other states
A protester interrupts Biden. Image via AP.

Minnesota saw 1 in 5 Democratic voters mark the “uncommitted” option.

The protest-vote movement over President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war has spread to several states and raised more questions about whether a small but significant number of Democrats angry at Biden might abandon him in November.

A week after 101,000 Michigan voters chose “uncommitted” on their ballots, so did roughly 263,000 voters in the five Super Tuesday states where similar ballot options were available. Minnesota, which had the most organized effort outside of Michigan, saw 1 in 5 Democratic voters mark the “uncommitted” option, a higher percentage than the 13% who voted uncommitted in Michigan.

Organizers are watching the state of Washington’s primary on Tuesday to see how many voters select “uncommitted.” And a “Leave It Blank” campaign has formed for Georgia’s Tuesday primary that’s intended to have the same effect, as is an “uninstructed” vote in Wisconsin’s April 2 primary.

Supporters of the protest argue anger over the war could endanger Biden’s chances in swing states like Michigan against former President Donald Trump in their likely rematch. Biden’s allies believe disaffected Democrats will return to the president’s fold when faced with a choice between him and Trump, who the President’s campaign has argued is a threat to democracy and is planning a sweeping set of policy changes that would attack liberal priorities.

While the reasons for voters favoring unpledged delegates over Biden may differ, the choice has been increasingly pushed as a protest vote against Biden’s handling of the conflict in Gaza, where more than 30,000 people have been killed, two-thirds of them women and children, in Israel’s offensive following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people.

“We wanted to show that these voters not only morally matter but politically matter as well. Because if they sit out the election, which it seems like many of them might, that would have severe consequences for Biden,” said Waleed Shahid, a Democratic strategist who first organized the effort in Michigan.

Lauren Hitt, a Biden campaign spokesperson, said following the Super Tuesday primaries that the President “believes making your voice heard and participating in our democracy is fundamental to who we are as Americans.”

“He shares the goal for an end to the violence and a just, lasting peace in the Middle East. He’s working tirelessly to that end,” Hitt added.

As Biden’s supporters are quick to point out, the “uncommitted” vote isn’t a historical anomaly. In 2012, over 400,000 people cast their ballots as “uncommitted” or “no preference,” expressing discontent with then-President Barack Obama’s reelection. Biden has won every state’s primary contest so far and is on track to clinch the nomination this month.

Still, the single-issue campaign has alarmed some of Biden’s closest allies.

“Obama’s results were just randomized. This is showing that there are particular groups of our coalition that are upset,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, a Biden surrogate and cease-fire supporter.

In late January, Shahid circulated a seven-page memo to nearly 100 pro-Palestinian leaders and organizations nationwide with a plan to leverage Michigan’s substantial Arab American population to create maximum electoral disruption.

Michigan’s dual role as an early primary state and a pivotal swing state in November provided an ideal situation for attracting national media attention and influential political figures. Coming less than a month before Michigan’s Feb. 27 primary, the Jan. 29 memo proposed a plan requiring a budget of approximately $237,000 to “politicize and electoralize discontent” for Biden’s support of Israel.

Over 100,000 people voted “uncommitted” on Feb. 27, far exceeding a 10,000 vote goal that had been intentionally set low. Khanna, the California congressman, said Biden’s recent references to a potential cease-fire were a “direct result” of the grassroots movement in Michigan.

Biden announced at his State of the Union speech that the U.S. would build a floating pier to deliver aid to Gaza as Israel has restricted the flow of food and other goods at land ports.

While the state’s primary was a success for organizers, Shahid said his memo “had nothing beyond Michigan.”

Hoping to capitalize on the momentum generated in Michigan, small “uncommitted” campaigns on shoestring budgets began to pop up across the country.

In Minnesota, organizers began making phone calls to voters just five days before the state’s Super Tuesday primary, operating on a $20,000 budget. The last-minute push secured 46,000 “uncommitted” votes, comprising 19% of the total vote share and earning 11 delegates bound for the Democratic national convention.

Minnesota voter Sarah Alfaham voted in the state’s Democratic primary — as she has for many years — but opted to mark “uncommitted” on her ballot.

“Joe Biden has not done enough to earn my vote and not done enough to stop the war,” said Alfaham.

Marcus Casillas, 29, was one of the 51,000 people that voted uncommitted in Colorado’s March 5 primary. The aerospace engineer was inspired by Michigan voters, and chose “uncommitted” rather than another Democratic candidate because “being part of a more organized protest vote seemed appropriate.”

“I firmly believe that in order for me to vote for someone, they need to earn the vote,” he said.

The largest effort outside of Michigan has taken place in Washington state, which is set to hold its primary Tuesday. The biggest labor union in Washington, the chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers, has endorsed voting “uncommitted” in the primary, as have some local Democratic leaders.

The impact of Washington’s uncommitted movement could be blunted by the fact that its primary is mostly conducted by early mail-in ballots. Close to a million ballots had been turned in as of Thursday, according to the Washington Secretary of State.

But organizers in different states say they feel they’ve already exceeded expectations.

“One of the coolest comments that I’ve read is people saying this is the most organized they’ve seen Democrats in a really long time,” said Asma Nizami, a spokesperson for Minnesota’s “uncommitted” campaign. “We’re doing it across state lines and we’re doing it together.”


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    March 11, 2024 at 7:06 pm

    Good evening America,
    I, Earl Pitts American, have decided in my “Sage Wisdom” that its high-time for me to address The Nation in one of my Much Anticipated and Wildly Beloved “EARL-SIDE CHATS”.
    “I WILL PREACH ON” said Earl Pitts American.
    “America this “Democratic Protest” is real …
    Whats going on is that a Full 54.76% of Registared Democrats have “Had Enough”. Yes, America, a full Minimum 54.76% of Democrats who voted last election for 8iden are Seceretly Casting Their Sage Vote For Trump this time.
    By casting their Trump votes on “The Down Low” they can still attend their lefty Church without chastizement, still engage in “Perverse Relations Of The Flesh (homer-testical stuff) with their pervy “Friends” BUT ….. and here is the Saving Grace which may get them a pass into Heaven …. these former 8iden voters will be able “To Relax Their Sphincters” secure in the knowledge that “Their Trump Vote” prevented WWIII along with The Killer “GLOBAL WARMING” from Multiable THERMAL NUCLEAR DETONATIONS WORLD-WIDE which is 97.899 more “KILLER HOT” than 75 Gazillion “SIMUALTANIOUS COW FARTS IGNITED BY A BIC LIGHTER”. In the same way we all lit up our own and our friends farts as kids …. “Totally Solid “SCIENCEY PROOF” BY EARL”.
    No Joke America, so if you are a registared Democrat you dont need to change partys after the primarys.
    In the “FINAL ELECTION” everyone is allowed to “CAST THEIR SAGE VOTES FOR TRUMP” totally on The Down Low. Thats right America your Grand Mom and your Perverse Devil Worshiping Homer Testical Friends will never know.
    So, America, there you have it. We all can actively praticapate in Turning The Great Ship known as THE USA away from the ICE BERG OF DOOM.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • rick whitaker

      March 13, 2024 at 7:15 pm

      bottom line, biden wins, you lose

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    March 12, 2024 at 8:33 pm

    Good evening America,
    Please take notice that no Dook 4 Brains Leftists have any ability to dispariage any of my, Earl Pitts American’s, “Extrs Sage Wisdom” in my “Most Excellant” “Knowledge Drop of Golden Truth Bombs” is my “Extra Loaded With Pure “D” Sageness above Pullitzer Prize Winning Artical of Sage Political Truth Commentary”.
    Not a peep from “The Dook 4 Brains Peanut Gallary”.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “ITS GREAT TO BE EARL” American
    Earl Pitts American

    • rick whitaker

      March 13, 2024 at 7:17 pm

      earl, your truth bombs are commonly known as the rantings of a maga cult fool

      • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

        March 13, 2024 at 7:54 pm

        Excellant contrarian Lefty Nonsensecial Rantings cleverly designed to “Drive Home” my Nuggetts of Sage Wisdom From Sea To Shining Sea.
        You are truley the best at making me, Earl Pitts American the best.
        Thanks Buddy,
        Earl Pitts American

        • rick whitaker

          March 15, 2024 at 2:36 pm

          earl, you are so lucky you don’t know me personally, i don’t suffer no fools as they say, damn lucky i’d say. i’m one of the old guys you right wing wackos should really be worrying about. i can think and know how to problem solve. you’re an idiot that can’t hardly problem solve enough to tie your wingtip laces. also, these nuggets you keep talking about, man, flush thad nugget of shit down the shitter. earl shitts, earl shitts, just sounds stupid don’t it.

          • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

            March 15, 2024 at 8:39 pm

            Thanks again Sage Patriot Rick,
            As we discussed in our last Sage Staff Meeting we are going to need all the help we can get to get the Sage Republicans back in office in The White House, The House, and Senate.
            As the Dook 4 Brains Leftist Politicions have spent down record levels of money and totally €ffed National and Global American Exceptionalism almost to the point of no return.
            Your “Wacky Contrarian Fake Leftist Follow-ups to my Sage Wisdom are key to making that happen and saving the Planet from the Nuclear Global Warming of Atomic Bombs if we dont return control to the Republicans for about 2 Presidental Terms.
            Once we build our Great Nation back to our rightfull place as THE SAGE SUPER POWER then and only then can we allow the Democrats a 4 year term to steal our citizens blind and once again take the World back to the Brink Of Nuclear Hollocast.
            And you, Sage Patriot, Rick, are serving a vital role under my Sage Tuttlage of Saving The World!!!
            Keep up the Great Work a Planet on the Brink of Extenction is counting on you and ME, Earl Pitts American, to “TOGETHER SAVE THE WORLD”
            Thanks Buddy Rick together you and I are making Historical History!!!!
            Earl Pitts American
            *Rick & Earl Two Super Heros !!! And Rick if you want I will let you pretend to be Batman and I will pretend to be Robin for a few hours next weekend (just dont tell anybody)* EPA

Comments are closed.


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