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Rashida Tlaib endorses campaign to vote against Joe Biden in the Michigan Democratic primary

Rep. Rashida Tlaib at a pro-Palestine protest in Washington, DC on October 18, 2023.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib at a pro-Palestine protest in Washington, DC on October 18, 2023.Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib endorsed a campaign for Michigan Democrats to vote against Biden in the primary.

  • Biden's campaign is facing growing criticism from Arab-American voters in Michigan.

  • Tlaib told supporters that they should "create a voting block" to show their support for cease-fire.

A campaign to get Michigan Democrats to vote against incumbent President Joe Biden in the state's February 27 primary has just gained a new supporter, Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

Congresswoman Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, has been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause and was censured by the House last year for her pro-Palestinian comments, including her use of the controversial phrase "from the river to the sea."

Now, she's joining a campaign led by her sister to turn that disappointment in the Biden administration into an "uncommitted" vote in the upcoming Michigan primary, Tlaib said in a video posted to the X account of the campaign Listen To Michigan on February 17.

Tlaib described the campaign as a way to "create a voting block" that could voice its opposition to the current policy of military support for Israel, which Tlaib says is committing "genocide."

Tlaib's spokesperson hasn't returned a request for comment at the time of publication.

The campaign, Listen to Michigan, is an effort to earn Biden's backing for a cease-fire in Israel's war in Gaza by having Democrats vote "uncommitted" in the Michigan primary. It is largely led by activists from Dearborn, a Detroit-area city with a large Arab-American population that Tlaib represents in the House.

The group's campaign manager, Layla Elabed, is Tlaib's sister, but Tlaib didn't endorse the campaign immediately. Her office didn't respond to Business Insider's February 9 questions about the campaign, but she released the endorsement just over a week later.

Biden's Michigan Math

The news comes after the Biden White House sent officials to speak with Michigan Arab-American and Muslim leaders earlier this month. There are concerns that dissatisfaction with Biden's foreign policy could hurt him in Michigan, which Biden won in 2020 by less than 3% and Hillary Clinton lost to Trump by less than 11,000 votes in 2016.

2020 Census data shows that more than 300,000 people of Middle Eastern and North African descent live in the state, which will likely be key to the president's reelection campaign. Muslim voters voted 64% to 35% for Biden in 2020, according to the AP.

Tlaib's endorsement of the strategy is the latest roadbump for the Biden campaign, though it is unlikely to threaten his hold on the primary for the state, where he is the only candidate other than Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips.

Biden's administration is supporting plans to send an additional $14 billion in aid to Israel on top of the billions of dollars the US spends every year. However, he recently described Israel's policy in Gaza as "over the top."

Tlaib's responded to the policy of her own party's leader by opposing efforts to give aid to Israel as a legislator and working with labor unions like the UAW who have endorsed a cease-fire. Now, speaking from an early voting site in Michigan, she's telling her constituents to vote against the president directly.

"If you want us to be louder then come here and vote uncommitted," Tlaib said.

Read the original article on Business Insider