Arab Americans Vow to Swing Michigan for Trump in 2024

Some Arab Americans feel that President Biden may be taking their vote for granted and have campaigned for an uncommitted vote in the Michigan primary.
Arab Americans Vow to Swing Michigan for Trump in 2024
A Democratic voter uncommitted to President Joe Biden rallies outside of a polling location as a car drives past at Oakman Elementary School in Dearborn, Michigan, on Feb. 27, 2024. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Emel Akan

DEARBORN, MI—What started as a grassroots initiative among Arab and Muslim voters in Michigan a few weeks ago has now expanded into a nationwide campaign to voice disapproval of President Joe Biden’s stance on Gaza. Some believe that if the campaign gains further traction among voters, it could negatively impact President Biden’s prospects in Michigan and other swing states.

Arab and Muslim community leaders in the Rust Belt state launched a campaign a few weeks ago, encouraging voters to select “uncommitted” in the state’s primary elections on Feb. 27. They claim that their efforts have paid off after seeing the initial results.
Around 13.3 percent of Michigan voters cast a ballot for “uncommitted” in the primary, totaling approximately 100,995 votes, according to the Associated Press. This surpassed the target set by the campaign leaders, which was 10,000 votes.

While President Joe Biden scored a decisive victory in Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 27, Arab Americans made their voices heard. Many in the community do not support President Biden’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict and demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Michigan is home to a large community of Arab and Muslim Americans, 146,000 of whom voted for Joe Biden in 2020. If the president doesn’t change course on Gaza, they are determined to swing the state in favor of former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner.

“People have started thinking maybe it’s time for us to become Republicans,” Fatima Salman, 46, from Oakland County, Michigan, told The Epoch Times.

Ms. Salman is one of the grassroots organizers of the campaign “Listen to Michigan,” which led the “uncommitted” movement.

She says the war in Gaza is a much bigger issue than the so-called “Muslim ban” imposed by President Trump, who prevented travelers from certain Muslim countries from entering the United States.

“I’m sorry, but 40,000 Palestinians have been killed.” Ms. Salman said. “We cannot forget that.”

Some Arab Americans feel that President Biden may be taking their vote for granted. They say that it’s necessary to give the president a lesson, as failure to do so may result in a loss of influence over time.

“If we want to give him a lesson, this lesson has to be hard,” Ali Mansour, a journalist with Arab American News, told The Epoch Times.

It’s worth the risk, even if it results in Democrats losing the White House in November, he said.

Donald Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016 by a margin of 12,000 votes. In 2020, Joe Biden managed to flip the state by a margin of approximately 154,000 votes.

Khalid Turaani, a Palestinian-American from Michigan, is a co-founder of the “Abandon Biden” campaign and also joined the “uncommitted” coalition. He blamed President Biden for the massive death toll in Gaza.

“The president has been an active participant and contributor to the genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza,” Mr. Turaani told The Epoch Times.

“We'll make sure that people will vote for whoever they want, but not Joe Biden in November,” he said, highlighting the campaign’s significant momentum in potentially impacting the upcoming election’s result.

“I think we can swing Michigan in 2024 but not only Michigan. We’re working on swinging Georgia, Pennsylvania, and hopefully Virginia and even Wisconsin.”

The uncommitted movement received support from many Democratic politicians in Michigan, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib, former Rep. Andy Levin, and state House Majority Leader Rep. Abraham Aiyash.

Mr. Aiyash criticized the Biden administration for disregarding the crisis in Gaza for over 140 days. He touted the achievement of the “uncommitted” campaign in the primary.

People hug at the Listen to Michigan watch party during election night in Dearborn, Michigan, on Feb. 27, 2024. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP)
People hug at the Listen to Michigan watch party during election night in Dearborn, Michigan, on Feb. 27, 2024. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP)

“The message is very clear. We want a country that leads with anti-war that does not enable the killing of innocent men, women, and children,” he told The Epoch Times.

Abdualrahman Hamad, a doctor from Detroit, Michigan, another campaign organizer, told The Epoch Times that he doesn’t like President Trump yet may vote for him in the November election.

“He did not commit genocide,” he said, adding that some members of the Arab community have been in touch with President Trump’s campaign.

“Some people are considering voting for Trump, and we’re keeping all options open,” he said.

Israel has repeatedly denied accusations of genocide.

Emel Akan is a senior White House correspondent for The Epoch Times, where she covers the Biden administration. Prior to this role, she covered the economic policies of the Trump administration. Previously, she worked in the financial sector as an investment banker at JPMorgan. She graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University.
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