Here’s How One Anti-Israel Protest Group Plans To Throw Wrench In Biden’s Reelection Campaign

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  • The Abandon Biden campaign is ramping up efforts in various battleground states — including Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina — in hopes of preventing President Joe Biden from securing a second term.
  • The group is encouraging Arab and Muslim Americans, as well as other Democrats who oppose Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, to vote for anyone but Biden in the presidential primary and general election.
  • “They’re gonna find out that a lot of these people gonna stay home, might vote third party, some might crossover and vote Republican, but regardless, it’s gonna be a major issue, as it’s a toss up in Michigan,” Adolph Mongo, a Democratic strategist based in Michigan, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

A national organization that staunchly opposes President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war is hoping to prevent him from securing a second term in November by mobilizing voters across various battleground states.

The Abandon Biden campaign encouraged Arab and Muslim Americans, as well as those who disagree with the president’s support of Israel in what it views to be genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza, to vote against him in the Michigan primary on Tuesday. After over 144,000 individuals opposed Biden in the Democratic contest, Abandon Biden is focusing on ramping up efforts in other presidential battleground states ahead of the general election, a founding member of the national campaign told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Massive Protest Vote Sucks The Wind Out Of Biden’s Michigan Primary Victory)

“We’re going to be focusing particularly on Georgia, because Georgia is going to be the other state that if we combine it with Michigan, it becomes almost numerically impossible for Joe Biden to win a second term, and we want to make sure that we punish him for his complicity in the war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza, and we want to make sure that he is going to be a one term president,” Khalid Turaani, who also serves on the group’s national leadership committee, told the DCNF. “But we’re not going to take chances, so we’re going to be working on Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina.”

Abandon Biden is also focusing on states that are not typically thought of as presidential battlegrounds, including Minnesota and Virginia, to “make it that much more difficult” for the incumbent’s reelection, according to Turaani.

The campaign is encouraging these voters, who typically support Democrats by large margins, to vote against Biden, but isn’t endorsing any specific candidate.

In the primary, these voters could support Biden’s Democratic challengers, self-help author Marianne Williamson or Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, write-in a candidate, vote “uncommitted” in states that provide the option or cast a ballot in the Republican contest when possible. Various third-party candidates could attract these voters in the general election, or some could back former President Donald Trump, who is the likely GOP nominee.

However, Turaani emphasized that he doesn’t believe anyone in their movement would cast a ballot for the former president.

“Anyone but Biden doesn’t mean we’re going to cut off our noses in spite of our faces,” Turaani, who refers to the president as “genocide Joe,” told the DCNF.

Trump is already leading Biden across several of the battleground states Abandon Biden is investing in, including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin and Michigan, according to the RealClearPolitics average. Biden is ahead of Trump in Pennsylvania by only 0.8 points.

The former president won North Carolina in both 2016 and 2020, but lost Nevada both cycles. Trump narrowly secured Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania in 2016, but lost them all to Biden the following election.

Mike McKenna, a Republican political consultant and president of MWR Strategies, warned of the electoral consequences the Abandon Biden campaign could have on the president’s reelection chances.

“It has the potential to be a real problem, in large measure because it formalizes and gives social sanction to what was already a problem for team Biden: the erosion of enthusiasm among the young and the left,” McKenna told the DCNF.

Veteran GOP strategist Mark Weaver echoed McKenna’s sentiment, and told the DCNF that Biden’s campaign “is no doubt vexed by this trend.”

“Joe Biden has lost the support of left leaning young voters and those voters who support the Hamas attack on Israeli civilians,” said Weaver. “These are small slices of the overall electorate but can make a difference in key states like Michigan. They won’t vote for Trump either but will likely skip out on the presidential race.”

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to governors from across the country during an event in the East Room of the White House on February 23, 2024 in Washington, DC. The state and territory leaders are in Washington for the annual National Governors Association Winter Meeting. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 23: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to governors from across the country during an event in the East Room of the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A similar campaign advocated for a protest vote against Biden in Michigan, which is home to one of the largest Arab and Muslim American populations in the country, over his reluctance to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and his support for providing aid to Israel. The “Listen To Michigan” campaign encouraged the Arab and Muslim community and Democrats at large to leverage their vote by supporting the “uncommitted” ballot option in the primary.

Over 100,000 Michiganders who participated in the Democratic primary voted “uncommitted,” accounting for 13.2% of the share. Only 19,106 and 21,601 Democratic primary voters backed the ballot option in 2020 and 2016, respectively, which made up for less than 2% support each cycle.

Biden won the battleground state by only 154,000 votes in 2020, beating the former president by roughly three points.

Additionally, the former president received approximately 135,000 more votes than Biden on Tuesday. Trump beat former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley by roughly 42 points in the Republican primary, which saw nearly 40% higher participation than the Democratic contest.

Adolph Mongo, a Democratic strategist based in Michigan, told the DCNF that Tuesday’s primary results served as a “warning sign” to Biden’s reelection campaign.

“They’re gonna find out that a lot of these people gonna stay home, might vote third party, some might crossover and vote Republican, but regardless, it’s gonna be a major issue, as it’s a toss up in Michigan,” said Mongo. “The president or the vice president’s gonna have to come into states like Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Minnesota — they’re gonna have to fight for it, Arizona.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its state counterpart in Michigan conducted an exit poll that found 94% of Muslim Americans who participated in the Democratic primary on Tuesday voted “uncommitted.” The survey also asked respondents who they’d back in a general election, to which Biden came in fourth place at 8% behind Trump, “Justice for All Party” candidate Cornel West and “other.”

Jason Cabel Roe, a GOP consultant based in Michigan, believes “there is no simple answer” to Biden’s Israel problem, and warned of the potential electoral repercussions thereof.

“He can either stay where he is on Israel and risk alienating this progressive and Arab coalition, or he can change his position and risk alienating another segment of his coalition. And so I think he has no good pivot from where he is,” Roe told the DCNF. “I don’t think there is a path to the White House that does not include winning Michigan. And I think if you are winning Michigan, you are probably winning Pennsylvania, you are probably winning Wisconsin. So I think he’s got real, real problems.”

Lexis Zeidan, one of the lead organizers for “Listen To Michigan,” praised the “uncommitted” outcome in speaking with the DCNF, as it far exceeded the 10,000 vote threshold the campaign expected.

“We will work with activists in other states to help them replicate this strategy,” said Zeidan. “And seeing that we got at least two delegates to go to the [Democratic National Convention], we’ll be organizing against those efforts to make sure that we show up with our delegates in Chicago, as well.” 

The spokesperson emphasized that the campaign’s goal isn’t to “drive electoral results,” but instead is to send a message to the Biden administration ahead of November in hopes for a change in stance and policy.

“The pathway to the White House is through Michigan,” said Zeidan. “We’ve made clear what our stances are: that we’re an anti-war, pro-peace, pro-Palestinian state. And if you don’t align with those values, then really Michigan is not a state that you’re going to win.”

Biden’s campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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