An Insidious Domino Effect from Michigan for Biden


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Bus #2857, the bus on which a young Black woman named Rosa Parks sat is on display in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. It was December 1, 1955, a day that would go down in the history of the United States for the extraordinary act of civil disobedience of a seamstress, arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man, thus giving rise to the bus boycott in her city, Montgomery, Alabama. She played a prominent role in Martin Luther King’s movement and is remembered as the mother of the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks died in 2005 in Detroit, the metropolis of Michigan, the state where the Democratic Party and Republican Party primaries were held last Tuesday.

The interior of the bus Rosa Parks rode on, currently in the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn (Detroit, Michigan)

The American history of the twentieth century is punctuated by episodes of courage, protest and fighting against oppression and for rights – episodes like the one in which Rosa Parks was the protagonist. And it may be a coincidence, but it is suggestive that the bus where Rosa sat is kept in a museum located in a town in the United States that is currently in the spotlight due to a sensational new civil and political protest: Dearborn, the birthplace of Henry Ford, and now the urban center with the largest community of Arab and Muslim Americans, dotted with mosques and Lebanese and Palestinian restaurants, with signs in Arabic as well as English in public places. And it is here that the initiative that shook the otherwise calm primaries in Michigan originated and was implemented most successfully.

What should have been a pure formality, because Biden has no rivals in these primaries, has turned into a high-risk political challenge for the president-candidate. The ever-increasing protest of Islamic Americans over the ongoing massacre in Gaza, which is being carried out thanks to political support and military and economic aid from Washington, had not found a hearing either in the White House or in Congress, such that a noticeable “escalation” was inevitable. This materialized with the entry of their protest at the polls in the form of uncommitted votes, submitting ballots without indicating any of the proposed candidates. In Dearborn and Hamtramck, another Michigan town with a strong Arab and Islamic presence, 56 and 61 percent of the votes respectively were uncommitted. Not enough to call into question Biden’s victory, but enough to deliver a warning to Biden and the Democrats, especially if the outcome of the voting in the Arab and Muslim communities is combined with that in the nearby university towns of Ann Arbor and East Lansing.

Students at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, occupy a campus building in solidarity with the Palestinians

The New York Times gives great importance to the results on the two campuses (19 and 15 percent uncommitted), in view of the upcoming primaries in states where uncommitted voting is allowed. In important university centers such as Madison (Wisconsin), Athens (Georgia), Chapel Hill and Durham (North Carolina), Tucson (Ariz.) and State College (Pennsylvania), the movement to boycott voting for Biden is preparing bitter surprises. Even more than the votes, the protest of young people translates into the announcement of a disengagement in the difficult final challenge that awaits the Democratic nominee. Without significant the voter participation of young people and without their involvement in the electoral campaign, Biden’s re-election, which is already uphill, would be definitively in jeopardy.

As reported by The Nation, according to the Metro Times, a Detroit newspaper that supports the election protest movement, “Biden cannot afford to lose their votes in a state, Michigan, that is once again emerging as a swing state in 2024. In 2020 he won by more than 150,000 votes here, where 300,000 people of Middle Eastern descent live. This doesn’t even take into account the many other voters who disapprove of the war in Gaza, especially young people.”

Biden underestimated not only the importance of an electorate hitherto taken for granted as “his” but also the domino effect that its protest would cause in contiguous electoral areas, such as young voters and African Americans, who are very and increasingly sensitive towards the Palestinian cause.

Donald Trump currently leads Biden by 3.3 points in the average of four polls conducted in Michigan and by two points nationally. This is data that highlights the importance of even marginal segments of voters in the decisive counties in swing states.

Enjoying mint ice cream on the eve of the Michigan vote, Biden said he expected a ceasefire in Gaza “by the end of the weekend.” The next day his voters told him that from a president of the United States they expect a more serious and credible posture, fewer words, more action, more fists on the table with Bibi, less bar chatter.

il manifesto

Translation by Paul Rosenberg

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An Insidious Domino Effect from Michigan for Biden ultima modifica: 2024-02-29T00:55:18+01:00 da GUIDO MOLTEDO
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